USDA Announces Details of Support Package for Farmers

6U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue  announced July 25 further details of the $16 billion package aimed at supporting American agricultural producers while the Administration continues to work on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals.

In May, President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a relief strategy in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. The Market Facilitation Program (MFP), Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP), and Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.

“China and other nations have not played by the rules for a long time, and President Trump is the first President to stand up to them and send a clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate unfair trade practices,” Secretary Perdue said. “The details we announced today ensure farmers will not stand alone in facing unjustified retaliatory tariffs while President Trump continues working to solidify better and stronger trade deals around the globe.

“Our team at USDA reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them,” Secretary Perdue added.

The Market Facilitation Program (MFP) for 2019, will be administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and will provide $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers. The Market Facilitation Program (MFP) includes peanuts, among other non-specialty and specialty crops, as an eligible crop to receive payments from the USDA. The MFP will pay peanut producers on a county per acre payment rate. Peanut producer payments will range in Georgia from $15 to $150 an acre depending on which county the peanuts are being produced in 2019.

As compared to last year’s round of MFP payments, this year’s program revises payment limit language for eligible producers and will allow a maximum of $500,000 to go to a single producer or legal entity across all three aspects of MFP with a $250,000 limit for a single phase of the program. The adjusted gross income (AGI) limit barring program participation if an applicant’s AGI tops $900,000 also applies, but is waived if three-fourths of that income comes from agriculture.

Market Facilitation Program payments will be made in up to three tranches. The first payment will be made in mid-to-late August with the second and third payments coming in November and January. Applications will be available beginning Monday, July 29, online at www.farmers.gov/manage/mfp.

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Midville field day set for August 14

The University of Georgia Southeast Georgia Research and Education Center (SREC) in Midville, Georgia, will host its annual field day on Wednesday, Aug. 14.

Registration will begin at 9 a.m. and tours of the 719-acre center are set to begin at 9:30 a.m. A free lunch will be available at 12:30 p.m. Preregistration is not required for the event.

The field day will feature presentations and research findings from UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences researchers with an emphasis on cotton, corn, peanuts and soybeans.

Featured speakers will include Mark Abney, UGA Cooperative Extension peanut entomologist; David Bertioli, CAES assistant research scientist in the Center for Applied Genetic Technologies; Mark Freeman, east Georgia Extension agronomist; Bob Kemerait, UGA Extension plant pathologist; Zenglu Li, CAES soybean breeder; Scott Monfort, UGA Extension peanut agronomist; Phillip Roberts, UGA Extension cotton and soybean entomologist; and Daniel Mailhot and Dusty Dunn with the UGA Statewide Variety Testing Program.

Research at the Midville center is geared to the needs of farmers in east Georgia due to growing conditions that are much different than those that producers experience in other parts of the state.

“A lot of our disease pressure is different at varying times of the growing season. The insect pressure is different. Different insects can be found at varying times, compared to Tifton,” said Anthony Black, superintendent of the SREC. “Our climate over here tends to be a little drier. Our rainfall amounts are not what you would see in Tifton or southwest Georgia.”

The field day has garnered enthusiastic support from farmers and industry leaders in the area, said Black, who expects to see as many as 150 to 175 people in attendance.

For more information about the SREC, see https://t.uga.edu/56r.

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

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USDA Awards Agricultural Trade Promotion Funding

planet-earth_fkH5UPuOU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced July 19 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $100 million to 48 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) to help U.S. farmers and ranchers identify and access new export markets.

In May, President Trump authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs to support farmers, which is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. ATP is one of three programs that will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.

“China and other nations haven’t played by the rules for a long time and President Trump is standing up to them, sending a clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices,” Secretary Perdue said. “At USDA, we are always looking to expand existing markets or open new ones and this infusion of money will do just that. American farmers are so productive that we need to continue to expand our markets wherever we can to sell the bounty of the American harvest.”

The 48 recipients are among the cooperator organizations that applied for $200 million in ATP funds in 2018 that were awarded earlier this year. As part of a new round of support for farmers impacted by unjustified retaliation and trade disruption, those groups had the opportunity to be considered for additional support for their work to boost exports for U.S. agriculture, food, fish, and forestry products.

Already, since the $200 million in assistance was announced in January, U.S. exporters have had significant success, including a trade mission to Pakistan that generated $10 million in projected 2019 sales of pulse crops, a new marketing program for Alaska seafood that led to more than $4 million in sales of salmon to Vietnam and Thailand, and a comprehensive marketing effort by the U.S. soybean industry that has increased exposure in more than 50 international markets. These funds will continue to generate sales and business for U.S. producers and exporters many times over as promotional activity continues for the next couple of years.

The list of ATP funding recipients is available at: https://www.fas.usda.gov/atp-funding-allocations

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UGA peanut researchers win accolades for international impact

UGA peanut researchers Soraya and David Bertioli were honored at the meeting of the American Peanut Research and Education Society with the American Peanut Council Peanut Research and Education Award.

UGA peanut researchers Soraya and David Bertioli were honored at the meeting of the American Peanut Research and Education Society with the American Peanut Council Peanut Research and Education Award.

Peanut researchers from the University of Georgia met with hundreds of peanut scientists from around the world earlier this week to discuss the international impact of peanut research and to recognize top researchers.

With a “Peanuts Around the World” theme, the annual meeting of the American Peanut Research and Education Society was held in Auburn, Alabama, featured presentations by the UGA-housed Feed the Future Peanut Innovation Lab demonstrating the benefits of research collaboration to science, industry and agriculture in the U.S. and countries around the world.

Among the team’s well-attended sessions was a two-hour symposium titled “Synergies from U.S. Global Research Partnership,” which highlighted individual projects in the lab’s portfolio and how scientists in the U.S. and African partner countries are working to harness genetic diversity in the peanut. Such diversity will help farmers in partner nations, as well as in the U.S., adapt to pest and climate challenges today and for years to come.

Agricultural challenges don’t recognize geographic or political boundaries, and solutions have the potential to come from all parts of the world.

For example, resistance to tomato-spotted wilt virus in the U.S. comes from peanuts bought in a market in Brazil in 1952, explained David Bertioli, a professor in the UGA Institute for Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics and principal investigator of an innovation lab project incorporating wild alleles to improve West African peanut cultivars.

“When this type of transfer happens properly, everyone wins,” Bertioli said.

International treaties meant to thwart bad actors and protect biological resources have limited research in unintended, negative ways by slowing the exchange of germplasm to a trickle, which hurts global food security, he said.

Working to inventory and analyze the diversity of peanuts grown across Africa, a team of U.S. and African researchers are leveraging the recently sequenced peanut genome to create tools plant breeders can use to generate varieties with natural resistance to disease and other shocks.

Along with David Bertioli, UGA researchers Soraya Bertioli, Josh Clevenger and Peggy Ozias-Akins work on the U.S. side of these related Peanut Innovation Lab projects, while Daniel Fonceka of Senegal, David Okello in Uganda and plant breeders from seven other countries in Africa lead the work on that continent.

In recognition of the Bertiolis’ work to help improve peanut production worldwide, they were awarded the most prestigious awards of the conference, the American Peanut Council Peanut Research and Education Award.

According to the American Peanut Council, the Bertiolis’ unique but related research programs have focused on the wild relatives of peanuts. They work to unravel the collection of untapped genetic traits naturally occurring in the peanut ancestors and identifying the traits for use in breeding programs around the world to solve real-world limitations to peanut production.

For more than 15 years, they have worked to genetically characterize the relationships of the wild relatives of peanut with cultivated peanuts. Importantly, their work underpinned the effort to sequence the peanut genome by first focusing on the more tractable diploid, wild ancestors. Their research has led to a much deeper understanding of the relationship of the wild relatives to cultivated peanuts and our ability to move valuable traits from the wild into cultivated crops.

For more information about UGA’s researchers work with peanuts, visit plantbreeding.caes.uga.edu.

By Merritt Melancon and Allison Floyd, University of Georgia

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July/August 2019 – Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The July/August 2019 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

julyaugust2019_coverThis issue features:

  • Georgia Peanut Tour set for Cordele area
  • National Peanut Board Referendum passes
  • Harvest Guidebook
  • Industry awards at USA Peanut Congress
  • Disaster Relief Roundtable held in Georgia
  • USDA announces Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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UGA Stripling Irrigation Research Park set to host annual field day

Water conservation is a part of the everyday work done at the University of Georgia’s Stripling Irrigation Research Park (SIRP), where scientists are constantly developing innovative sustainable agricultural practices.

Georgia farmers can see some of those methods firsthand on Thursday, July 18, during the park’s annual field day beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp recently designated July as Smart Irrigation Month and the SIRP is participating by emphasizing the importance of water conservation.

Bob Stougaard, assistant dean for research at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), and Mark McCann, CAES assistant dean for Extension, will serve as keynote speakers.

“Georgia is nationally and internationally recognized as a leader in efficient irrigation technologies that have been tested and refined by irrigation and precision-agriculture scientists and researchers and adopted industry wide,” said Calvin Perry, SIRP superintendent. “This field day is an opportunity to showcase some of those technological advancements and the differences they’re making in our research plots.”

SIRP provides educational opportunities for farmers, irrigation companies and students to learn more about water use in agriculture through field days, tours and the annual 4-H20 camp held in June. At the SIRP, UGA faculty test different technological advancements and develop unique irrigation methods designed to conserve water.

For example, variable rate irrigation (VRI) optimizes irrigation applications throughout a field allowing farmers to adjust irrigation settings to match field size, shape, and condition so water is not wasted on an areas where irrigation isn’t needed.

“A dynamic collaboration of entities in Georgia has teamed up to spotlight Smart Irrigation tools, management practices, and the social and economic benefits derived from irrigated agriculture throughout the month of July, to share the message of Georgia’s commitment to water stewardship,” Perry said.

The field day is free to attend, but those interested are asked to RSVP by July 11 at 229-522-3623 or via email at sirp@uga.edu. The park is located at 8207 Hwy 37, Camilla, Georgia, 31730.

To learn more about the park, visit https://striplingpark.org.

By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

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USDA Announces Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program

8716636765_364de57e0f_oThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)announced June 20 it is offering $75 million in funding for the eradication and control of feral swine through the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program (FSCP) in a joint effort between USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The 2018 Farm Bill included this new pilot program to help address the threat that feral swine pose to agriculture, ecosystems and human and animal health.

NRCS will direct up to $33.75 million of the allocated FSCP funds toward partnership efforts to work with landowners in identified pilot projects in targeted areas. Applications are being accepted through Aug. 19, 2019, for partners to carry out activities as part of these pilot projects in select areas of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. APHIS has determined that these states have among the highest feral swine population densities and associated damages in the country.

“NRCS state conservationists and APHIS state directors, in coordination with state technical committees, have identified pilot projects that can be carried out within these target states,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said. “Our agencies stand ready to work with partners at the state and local level to respond to the threat of feral swine.”

Pilot projects will consist broadly of three coordinated components: 1) feral swine removal by APHIS; 2) restoration efforts supported by NRCS; and 3) assistance to producers for feral swine control provided through partnership agreements with non-federal partners. Projects can be one to three years in duration.

“The projects selected for funding will allow APHIS and NRCS to collectively reduce the damage and disease caused by one of the most destructive and formidable invasive species in the United States,” said APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea. “Overall, this pilot program builds upon and expands work already underway by APHIS’ National Feral Swine Damage Management Program to both manage feral swine and eliminate populations in partnership with local government, the private sector, industry and academia.”

NRCS is now accepting proposals from non-federal partners to provide landowner assistance for on-farm trapping and related services as part of the pilot projects described above. NRCS will provide funding for these services through partnership agreements. The funding limit for a single award is $1.5 million. Awardees will be required to provide at least 25 percent of the partnership agreement budget as a match to NRCS funding.

Additional information on the complete funding announcement and about specific pilot projects, including target areas and the roles for which partner assistance is being requested, can be found on the FSCP webpage.

Applications must be submitted through grants.gov by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Aug. 19, 2019.

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Secretary Perdue Statement on Disaster and Trade-Related Assistance

perdue-official-usda-photo-newU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement June 10 on disaster and trade-related assistance:

“Whether it’s because of natural disasters or unfair retaliatory tariffs, farmers across the country are facing significant challenges and tough decisions on their farms and ranches. Last month, immediately upon China reneging on commitments made during the trade talks, President Trump committed USDA to provide up to $16 billion to support farmers as they absorb some of the negative impact of unjustified retaliation and trade disruption. In addition, President Trump immediately signed into law the long-awaited disaster legislation that provides a lifeline to farmers, ranchers, and producers dealing with extensive damage to their operations caused by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019.

“Given the size and scope of these many disasters, as well as the uncertainty of the final size and scope of this year’s prevented planting acreage, we will use up to $16 billion in support for farmers and the $3 billion in disaster aid to provide as much help as possible to all our affected producers.

“I have been out in the country this spring and visited with many farmers. I know they’re discouraged, and many are facing difficult decisions about what to do this planting season or if they’ve got the capital to stay in business, but they shouldn’t wait for an announcement to make their decisions. I urge farmers to plant for the market and plant what works best on their farm, regardless of what type of assistance programs USDA is able to provide.

“In the coming weeks, USDA will provide information on the Market Facilitation Program payment rates and details of the various components of the disaster relief legislation. USDA is not legally authorized to make Market Facilitation Program payments to producers for acreage that is not planted. However, we are exploring legal flexibilities to provide a minimal per acre market facilitation payment to folks who filed prevent plant and chose to plant an MFP-eligible cover crop, with the potential to be harvested and for subsequent use of those cover crops for forage.”

Visit these websites for more info:
USDA RMA Flooding page
2019 Market Facilitation Program

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May/June 2019 Southeastern Peanut Farmer

mayjune2019_coverThe May/June 2019 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

This issue features:

  • Frank McGill honored with Medallion of Honor from UGA College of Ag
  • UGA Tifon Campus Celebrates 100 Years
  • Irrigation Guidebook
  • Peanut Leadership Academy Class XI hosts second session
  • Disaster Aid: Long-awaited legislation passes Congress
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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USDA Announces Support for Farmers Impacted by Unjustified Retaliation and Trade Disruption

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced May 23 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take several actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation and trade disruption. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a relief strategy to support American agricultural producers while the Administration continues to work on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. Specifically, the President has authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. These programs will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.

“China hasn’t played by the rules for a long time and President Trump is standing up to them, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property. President Trump has great affection for America’s farmers and ranchers, and he knows they are bearing the brunt of these trade disputes. In fact, I’ve never known of a president that has been more concerned or interested in farmer wellbeing and long-term profitability than President Trump,” said Secretary Perdue. “The plan we are announcing today ensures farmers do not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other trading partners. Our team at USDA reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them.”

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