USDA Extends ARC and PLC Deadlines

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today provided farm owners and producers one additional week, until April 7, 2015, to choose between Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), the safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill. The final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres also will be April 7, 2015.

“This is an important decision for producers because these programs help farmers and ranchers protect their operations from unexpected changes in the marketplace,” said Vilsack. “Nearly 98 percent of owners have already updated their yield and base acres, and 90 percent of producers have enrolled in ARC or PLC. These numbers are strong, and continue to rise. This additional week will give producers a little more time to have those final conversations, review their data, visit their local Farm Service Agency offices, and make their decisions,” said Vilsack.

If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by the deadline, the farm’s current yield and base acres will be used. If a program choice of ARC or PLC is not made, there will be no 2014 crop year payments for the farm and the farm will default to PLC coverage for the 2015 through 2018 crop years. Producers who have an appointment at their local FSA offices scheduled by April 7 will be able to make an election between ARC and PLC, even if their actual appointment is after April 7.

These safety-net programs provide important financial protection against unexpected changes in the marketplace. As part of the strong education and outreach campaign launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in September, to date more than 5 million educational postcards, in English and Spanish, have been sent to producers nationwide, and more than 5,000 events with more than 430,000 attendees, including training sessions and speaking engagements, have been conducted to educate producers on the programs. The online tools, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc, which allow producers to explore how ARC or PLC coverage will affect their operation, have been presented to more than 3,400 groups.

Covered commodities under ARC and PLC include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

Producers need to contact the Farm Service Agency by April 7. To learn more, farmers can contact their local Farm Service Agency county office. To find local offices, visit http://offices.usda.gov.

The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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Secretary Vilsack Appoints Peanut Standards Board Members

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed three producers and four industry representatives to serve on the Peanut Standards Board. Six members will serve on the board through June 30, 2017. A seventh member will fill a current vacancy through June, 2015.

The Peanut Standards Board is made up of 18 members representing the Southeast Region, which covers Alabama, Georgia and Florida; the Southwest Region, covering Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico; and the Virginia-North Carolina Region. One-third of the board is appointed each year.

Selected were producer Martin L. McLendon of Leary, Ga. and industry representative Elizabeth Kaye Smith of Cumming, Ga. to represent the Southeast Region and producer Marshall Wayne Baker of Portales, N.M. and industry representative Byron Charles Warnken of Pleasanton, Texas to represent the Southwest Region. Producer James Wilson Mason of Harrellsville, N.C. and industry representative Kathryn Olivia Swinson of Mount Olive, N.C. will represent the Virginia-North Carolina Region. James Carlton Gray, Jr. of Courtland, Va. was selected to fill an industry representative vacancy for the Virginia-North Carolina Region, and that appointment ends June 30, 2015.

The Peanut Standards Board is authorized under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. USDA consults with the board to establish or change quality and handling standards for domestically produced and imported peanuts. USDA is scheduling and will soon announce the date of the full board’s next meeting.

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March 2015 Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The March 2015 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available for digital reading.

march2015coverThis issue features the:
2015 Weed Guidebook
Feral Pig Control
Seed inoculation is low-cost insurance
Southern Peanut Growers Conference set for July 23-25 at Callaway Gardens
Bristow joins staff as APPA executive director
AL/FL Peanut Trade Show attracts record crowd
Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference provides a day of education
Check off reports from the state grower organizations
Legislative Update
Southern Peanut Growers Update

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Auburn hires Li as new Extension weed scientist

2015_alflshow_19steveliSteve Li is the new extension weed science specialist and assistant professor in Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences at Auburn University. His past research experiences included water management in double and intercropping system, bermudagrass control in St. Augustine and Zoysiagrass, problematic weed management in row crops, herbicide soil behavior, movement, persistence, carryover injury, and weed physiology. Li is specialized in soil herbicide weed control as affected by various environmental factors and soil types.

Li has extension responsibility of weed control in peanut, right of way, pasture, forage, forestry, and other non-crop areas. Meanwhile, he has to provide extension assistance in turf, weed ID, spray efficacy, herbicide drift control, off target movement and carry over injury. His research will be focused on resistant and problematic weed control in major row crops (peanut, cotton, corn, etc.) and non-crop areas. He will also conduct field, greenhouse and laboratory experiments to provide insights in drift management, herbicide persistence, degradation, and herbicide-crop-weed interactions as affected by complex environmental conditions. Li can be contacted at 334-844-3804 or via email at steveli@auburn.edu.

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Fortner appointed to represent Mississippi on National Peanut Board

lonniefortnerLonnie Fortner, Port Gibson, Mississippi, was recently appointed to serve as the alternate member for Mississippi on the National Peanut Board. Fortner’s term begins immediately and ends on Dec. 31, 2016.

Fortner operates Rock Lake Planting Company and grows runner peanuts in addition to cotton, corn, wheat, soybeans and sesame. Fortner is a third generation farmer who earned his Ag Economics degree from Mississippi State University.  Fortner is a 2012 graduate of the Peanut Leadership Academy. He is a board member of the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association and the Farmers Coop. Fortner is also vice president of the Claiborne County Farm Bureau, chairman of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Peanut Advisory Board and chairman of the Mississippi Peanut Promotion Board.

Fortner is glad to join the National Peanut Board. “It’s good to be involved on the frontline to ensure that the grower’s investment is going to the right place,” he says.

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Evans receives Honorary Membership in the Georgia Young Farmers Association

MarcusEvans_Honorary

Greg Mims (right), Georgia Young Farmers Association (GYFA) president, presents Marcus Evans, Georgia Peanut Commission director of field services and industry information, with Honorary Membership into GYFA.

The Georgia Young Farmers Association presented Marcus Evans, Georgia Peanut Commission director of field services and industry information, with Honorary Membership during the association’s annual meeting in January.

Evans has worked at GPC for 28 years. He has shown a true dedication to the peanut and agriculture industry through the years and has dedicated his life towards bettering the livelihood of farmers.

In his role at GPC, Evans coordinates GPC representation at Extension grower meetings throughout the state, serves on the Georgia Peanut Tour Committee and coordinates many of the promotional activities at GPC. Some of the specific activities he coordinates include Sunbelt Ag Expo, Georgia Peanut Bank Week, and all peanut festivals in Georgia. Evans is the also the lead staff member who works directly with the Georgia Young Farmers Association. He coordinates GPC’s sponsorship to the association and is in charge of the exhibit at the annual meeting, including frying the peanuts.

Before beginning his career at GPC, Evans worked for Allied Chemical in Metropolis, Illinois, and Crop Production Services (formerly Agrico) in western Kentucky as a chemical and fertilizer salesman. He currently resides in Tifton, Georgia, with his wife Rhonda.

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Bristow joins staff as APPA executive director

IMG_0205calebbristow_webCaleb Bristow of Henry County is the new executive director for the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, a division of the Alabama Farmers Federation. His first official day is today (Feb. 16), but he was introduced to peanut farmers at the APPA Annual Meeting in Dothan, Feb. 12.

Federation Governmental and Agricultural Programs Director Brian Hardin said Bristow’s strong work ethic was developed growing up on a family farm in Columbia, Alabama.

“We are fortunate and thrilled to have Caleb join the APPA and the Federation family,” Hardin said. “He will provide excellent leadership with his natural talents. Caleb is a smart, hard worker who has a great ability to connect with people and make them feel comfortable.”

Bristow’s family raises nearly 3,000 acres of peanuts and cotton and has a herd of beef cows. He is a two-time Auburn University graduate, earning his master’s degree in agronomy (weed science) in 2012 and his bachelor’s in agronomy and soils in 2010.

Bristow said the Federation’s reputation as a conservative, family-friendly organization that represents farmers on the state and national levels, were among the things that attracted him to the career move. But mostly, he said, it was an opportunity for him to help farmers.

“I am very excited about this opportunity,” Bristow said. “I am ready to work not only with farmers, but also for farmers.”

In addition to working with farmers to help improve their livelihoods, Bristow said he would also be a “peanut promoter.”

“Peanut farmers produce a delicious, healthy food that is safe and affordable,” Bristow said. “Helping encourage consumers to eat more of what our farmers grow is an exciting opportunity I’m looking forward to.”

APPA President Carl Sanders said Bristow represents the future of peanut farming.

“Caleb’s energy and enthusiasm will serve farmers well as we navigate a new farm bill and spring planting begins,” Sanders said. “His first-hand knowledge of the peanut industry will allow him to understand what our farmers need and help them get it.”

Hardin and Sanders both praised the work done by Jim Cravey, who has served as APPA interim executive director for more than a year. Cravey, who retired from the Federation in 2006 as Commodity Department director, will continue to work for APPA through Bristow’s transition.

Bristow, 26, and his wife, Freda, live in Headland. He previously was a manager and salesman for Kelly Ag in Headland and is a member of Gamma Sigma Delta, Auburn’s Honor Society of Agriculture. He can be reached at the APPA office in Dothan at CBristow@AlPeanuts.com or (334) 792-6482.

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USDA in Georgia Acception Applications for Conservation Stewardship Program

Athens, GA. Jan. 29 2015 –The U.S. Department of Agriculture will make available $100 million this year through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and although applications are accepted all year, farmers, ranchers and forest landowners should submit applications by Feb. 27, 2015 to ensure they are considered for this year’s funding (applications received after that date will be considered for future funding). This year’s investment may result in the enrollment of up to 7.7 million acres in the program by private landowners nationwide.

“CSP is a way of incentivizing farmers, ranchers, and private forest managers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship,” said Georgia’s State Conservationist Terrance O. Rudolph of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “By focusing on multiple resource concerns, landowners are able to achieve a sustainable landscape and maintain or increase the productivity of their operations.”

Through CSP, participants take additional conservation steps to improve the resource conditions on their land, including soil, air and habitat quality, water quality and quantity, and energy conservation.

Rudolph added “CSP producers like Bulloch county farmer Morris Prince are conservation leaders, showing how science-based conservation and technological advancements can improve the environment and farming operations at the same time.” Prince uses conservation tillage methods as part of a two year crop rotation of cotton and peanuts. By making fewer passes in the field with his equipment he has lowered his fuel costs and reduced soil compaction. He also uses cover crops to reduce erosion, build up organic matter in the soil and help retain moisture. This stewardship of natural resources, incentivized through CSP, helps conserve energy and leads to cleaner water and healthier soil.

The 2014 Farm Bill brought changes to CSP including an expanded conservation activity list that will offer participants greater options to meet their conservation needs and protect the natural resources on their land. These conservation activities, called enhancements, include cover crops, intensive rotational grazing and wildlife friendly fencing.

CSP will also help broaden the impacts of NRCS’ Landscape Conservation Initiatives through a new pilot effort, which accelerates private lands conservation activities to address particular goals, such as creating habitat for at-risk species and conserving and cleaning water. For Georgia they include:

  • Longleaf Pine Initiative – Applicable states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

In other regions around the US the Landscape Conservation Initiatives include:

  •  Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative – Applicable states: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas;
  • Ogallala Aquifer Initiative – Applicable states: Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming;
  • Sage-Grouse Initiative – Applicable states: California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

“CSP is a great addition to our conservation toolbox for our Landscape Conservation Initiatives, which rally together landowners at the broader level to make conservation improvements that help us tackle our nation’s resource issues,” Rudolph said. “Historically, other conservation programs have driven these initiatives, but now with CSP, we’ll be bringing more farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to these efforts.”

Applications should be submitted to local NRCS offices. As part of the CSP application process, applicants will work with NRCS field personnel to complete a resource inventory of their land, which will help determine the conservation performance for existing and new conservation activities. The applicant’s conservation performance will be used to determine eligibility, ranking and payments.

A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types.

For more on technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or a local USDA service center.

Today’s announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life.

 

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Farm Bill Safety-Net Deadlines Approaching for Georgia Farmers

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2015 – U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Fred Harrison, Jr. today reminds producers of upcoming important deadlines for the new safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres is Feb. 27, 2015, and the final day for farm owners and producers to choose coverage is March 31, 2015.

“These programs provide financial protection against unexpected changes in the marketplace, so now is the time to have those final conversations, to ask any remaining questions, and to visit the Farm Service Agency to make these decisions,” said Harrison.

“For the first time in many years, farmers have the opportunity to update yields or reallocate base, but if no changes are made by February 27, the farm’s current yield and base will be used,” said Harrison. “If no program election occurs by March 31, then there will be no 2014 payments for the farm and the farm will default to PLC coverage through the 2018 crop year.”

Nationwide, more than 3,500 training sessions have been conducted on the new safety-net programs. The online tools, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc, allow producers to explore projections on how ARC or PLC coverage will affect their operation under possible future scenarios.

Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

To learn more, farmers can contact their local Farm Service Agency county office. To find your local office visit http://offices.usda.gov.

The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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Peanut Revenue Insurance Workshop

6There will be a Peanut Revenue Insurance Workshop following the Georgia Peanut Farm Show, Thurs., Jan. 15, 2015, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Small Auditorium at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center. Representatives from the National Center for Peanut Competitiveness and AgriLogic will be on hand to provide key information on the program, new features on quality and replanting, and provide a comparison to the old program. The new peanut crop insurance program became available for the 2015 crop year. The program will enable peanut farmers for the first time to insure against a combination of both yield and price risk through a federally subsidized revenue-based crop insurance program for peanuts. AgriLogic Consulting, LLC in conjunction with the Georgia Peanut Commission and the Western Peanut Growers developed the new policy in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA). With the new peanut crop insurance program, growers will have many more insurance options for their crop in 2015 and will be able to better manage risk in growing peanuts.

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