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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Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference set for January 15

fsconflogoProducers can improve the bottom-line of their farming operation with knowledge, connections and information gained at the 39th annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference, held at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center, Jan. 15, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Peanut farmers and those involved in the peanut industry will be able to learn more about the latest products, services and peanut research at the 2015 Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference. The show is sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission in cooperation with the University of Georgia Tifton Campus.

DSC03546edit-gmailDuring this year’s show, Kelley Manufacturing Co. is providing the Grand Door Prize Package of one season’s use of a new six-row peanut combine. At the end of the 2015 season the winner has the option of purchasing the combine from a KMC dealer with $15,000 off the list price. Also, KMC is providing a second drawing for $1,000 cash.

Additionally, farmers can register to win the Grower Prize, donated by Amadas Industries. This prize is the choice of one season’s use of a new Amadas four-row or six-row peanut inverter or a certificate good for the amount of $5,000 towards the purchase of any new Amadas pull-type combine.

The winners of the Grand Door Prize and the Grower Prize must be certified peanut farmers with an FSA farm number.

The one-day show offers farmers a full day to view the products and services of more than 100 exhibitors and a day of education. A free luncheon begins at 11:45 a.m. for all peanut farmers in attendance and an opportunity for farmers to win more than $40,000 in door prizes. The Georgia Peanut Commission will present a short program beginning at 12:15 p.m. that will cover award presentations and other special recognitions.

The University of Georgia will present an educational peanut production seminar from 9:00 until 10:30 a.m. Topics focus on marketing, SDHI chemistries and the changing face of disease and nematode management and insect management.

An Industry Seed Seminar will also be held from 10:35 to 11:35 a.m. during the show. This event is sponsored by the American Peanut Shellers Association Committee on Variety & Seed Development, Peanut Foundation, Southern Peanut Farmers Federation and the Georgia Peanut Commission. Growers will be able to learn about farm-saved seed, peanut varieties available for 2015 and varieties on the horizon.

Farmers will also have the opportunity to earn credit towards their private or commercial pesticide applicators certification.

The Georgia Peanut Commission, in cooperation with the American Red Cross, will hold a blood drive from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center during the show.

Following the Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference, the Georgia Peanut Commission will host a workshop on the new crop insurance program available for peanut farmers. Representatives with AgriLogic will be available to explain the program and answer any questions from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the small auditorium.

At the close of the day, the presentation of the Grand Door Prize donated by KMC will be presented to one lucky peanut grower. For more information on the show, contact GPC at 229-386-3470 or online at www.gapeanuts.com.

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Peanut Leadership Academy begins Class IX

2014_12_14_plaIXses1pcb_89sTwenty-two peanut growers and sheller representatives from across the Southeast, Texas, North Carolina and Virginia began Class IX of the Peanut Leadership Academy hosted by the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, Dec. 15-17, 2014, in Panama City Beach, Florida. During the first session of the program, leadership academy attendees were introduced to one another, presented an overview of the peanut industry and attended the annual Southern Peanut Farmers Federation annual meeting where they had the opportunity to listen to grower and industry reports.

The Peanut Leadership Academy is a cooperative effort between Syngenta Crop Protection, the American Peanut Shellers Association, grower organizations and agricultural extension.  Activities in the leadership program are structured to give participants a thorough understanding of the U.S. peanut industry. The leadership sessions range from field trips, meetings with industry leaders and professional development training. Each class has one leadership session in Washington, D.C. where class members have an opportunity to visit with their congressmen about issues affecting the peanut industry.

The Peanut Leadership Academy Class IX members are: Alabama – Brian Byrd, Ariton; Jeremy Sessions, Grand Bay; Marshall Speake, Eufaula; and Russ Walters, Andalusia; Florida – Levi Findley, Jay; Jeremy Rolling, Westville; and Trey Sanchez, Old Town;  Georgia – Bubba Curry, Shellman; Justin Harrell, Nicholls; Jeffrey Heard, Newton; Zack Thaggard, Leesburg; and Austin Warbington, Pinehurst; Mississippi – B. Jones, Ridgeland; North Carolina – Wade Stanaland, Bladenboro; Texas – Kelton Coleman, Lamesa; and Rusty Strickland, Wellington; Virginia – West Drake, Newsoms; sheller representatives – Colton Farrow, Golden Peanut Co.; Paul Huber, Birdsong Peanuts; and Japheth Saecker, Birdsong Peanuts; National Peanut Board – Dexter Gilbert, Campbellton, Florida; and Meredith Rogers, Camilla, Georgia.

For more information on the Peanut Leadership Academy contact the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Florida Peanut Producers Association, Georgia Peanut Commission, Mississippi Peanut Growers Association or visit the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation online at www.southernpeanutfarmers.org.

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January/February 2015 Southeastern Peanut Farmer

janfeb2015coverThe January/February 2015 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available for digital reading.

This issue features the:
2015 Peanut Variety Guidebook
Peanut Crop Insurance Program
Drones: Buy or Service
Peanut Leadership Academy begins Class IX
Peanut Profitability Awards seeking nominees
Check off reports from the state grower organizations
Legislative Update
Southern Peanut Growers Update

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Farm bill educational meetings to be held across Georgia

A free series of educational meetings to teach farmers and landowners about the 2014 Farm Bill have been set for December.

Don Shurley and Nathan Smith, University of Georgia agricultural economists based on the UGA Tifton Campus, along with representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency, will conduct the meetings throughout Georgia, beginning on Friday, Dec. 12, in Fort Valley.

“The farm bill has changes that are going to require producers and owners to make decisions over the next two or three months. There are a lot of options and flexibility in terms of this farm bill and decisions for people to make. It’s somewhat complicated and there are a lot of questions out there,” Smith said. “We’re trying to provide these educational programs to help them understand what those decisions are and provide some information that people can use.”

Meetings are also set for Tifton and Bainbridge on Monday, Dec. 15, Dawson and Quitman on Tuesday, Dec. 16, Vidalia and Waynesboro on Wednesday, Dec. 17, Cartersville and Hull on Thursday, Dec. 18, and Alma on Friday, Dec. 19. Registration is required, but there is no cost for participants.

A similar set of meetings was held last spring after the farm bill was initially announced. Those meetings focused on the bill’s contents. According to Shurley, this month’s meetings are aimed at helping producers and landowners make key decisions regarding their respective farming operations.

“We’re going to be talking about what choices the farmer and the landowner have to make, presenting information to help them understand what’s in the farm bill and giving them information to help them understand how to make decisions,” Shurley said.

Topics to be covered include timelines for decision-making and who has to make the decisions; how payment yields can be updated; crop history and how the reallocation of base acres works; the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX), the new crop insurance safety net for cotton; and resources and other tools that are available to assist in decision-making.

Who makes the decisions may sound like an easy question to answer, but Shurley explains this isn’t always the case.

“If I’m the farmer, but you own the farm, and I’m renting the farm from you, a lot of these decisions you have to make, but you can’t make them without information from the producer about the crop history and yield history,” Shurley said. “A farmer that may be farming two dozen serial numbers is not unusual. A total farm may be 1,500 acres, but it may be 100 acres here, 121 acres there, 300 acres here. The decisions have to be made on each of those farms independently.”

The times of the meetings vary at each location. Contact the local UGA Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1 for specific times and registration details. The meetings that begin at 9:30 a.m. will conclude with lunch at noon. Meetings with a 4 p.m. starting time will conclude with dinner at 6:30 p.m.

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Signup for wetlands and agriculture land conservation easements ends Dec. 18

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Terrance O. Rudolph, for Georgia announced a sign-up for this year’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) Oct. 3. To be considered for the fiscal year 2015 program, applications must be submitted by December 18, 2014.

ACEP, created through the 2014 Farm Bill, is a program that has two components, known as Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) and Wetlands Reserve Easements (WRE). ACEP combines NRCS’ former Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) and Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).

The ACEP-WRE applications are accepted directly from producers on eligible lands. These easements would restore and enhance wetlands and improve habitat. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored. Applications will be rated according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife.

Applications for the ACEP-ALE are accepted from eligible partners. These eligible entities may submit proposals to NRCS to acquire a conservation easement on eligible agricultural land. NRCS does not accept applications for ACEP-ALE directly from producers. Producers will need to work with an eligible entity to pursue funding for an ACEP-ALE conservation easement. Some examples of eligible entities include county Board of Commissioners, Land Trusts and Land Conservancies.

Applications must be submitted to Georgia NRCS by December 18, 2014 for both ACEP-ALE and ACEP-WRE. Applications are available at your local USDA Service Center and at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. You can learn more about ACEP and other Farm Bill programs in Georgia at http://www.ga.nrcs.usda.gov.

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Alabama Farmers Federation elects board of directors

The Alabama Farmers Federation elected members to its board of directors Dec. 8. Front row, from left, are District 9 Director Garry Henry; State Women's Committee Chairman Cheryl Lassiter; State Young Farmers Committee Chairman Garrett Henry; District 3 Director Phillip Thompson; and District 6 Director Dell Hill. Back row, from left, are Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell; Southeast Area Vice President George Jeffcoat; District 12 Director Fred Helms; and North Area Vice President Rex Vaughn.

The Alabama Farmers Federation elected members to its board of directors Dec. 8. Front row, from left, are District 9 Director Garry Henry; State Women’s Committee Chairman Cheryl Lassiter; State Young Farmers Committee Chairman Garrett Henry; District 3 Director Phillip Thompson; and District 6 Director Dell Hill. Back row, from left, are Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell; Southeast Area Vice President George Jeffcoat; District 12 Director Fred Helms; and North Area Vice President Rex Vaughn.

Jimmy Parnell of Stanton in Chilton County was re-elected president of the state’s largest farm organization during the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 93rd annual meeting in Montgomery today. Elections were held this afternoon during the Federation’s business session, where 500 delegates from Alabama’s 67 counties cast their votes.

Parnell, a fifth-generation farmer who raises timber and beef cattle, was unopposed in his bid for re-election to a second two-year term. He said he enjoyed his first term as president and looks forward to representing Alabama farm families in the future as the Federation works to strengthen agriculture’s position as the state’s largest industry.

“I am honored by the faith and trust that farm families across this state have placed in me,” Parnell said following his election. “Our state is blessed with a rich agricultural history that helped shape the very foundation of our society. But what’s exciting about agriculture in Alabama is the potential it provides for our future. We are blessed with abundant natural resources and the hardest-working people I know. I’m excited to see what’s in store for our state and this organization.”

Southeast Area Vice President George Jeffcoat of Gordon in Houston County and North Area Vice President Rex Vaughan of Huntsville in Madison County also were re-elected for two-year terms at today’s meeting.

Elections also were held for four district board positions, which have three-year terms. Those elected include Phillip Thompson of Scottsboro in Jackson County (District 3), Dell Hill of Alpine in Talladega County (District 6), Garry Henry of the Hope Hull Community in Montgomery County (District 9) and Fred Helms of Dothan in Houston County (District 12).

Elected to one-year, ex-officio terms on the state board were Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Cheryl Lassiter of Silas in Choctaw County and State Young Farmers Chairman Garrett Henry of Hope Hull in Montgomery County.

The Alabama Farmers Federation, with 358,000 members, is Alabama’s largest farm organization and a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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