Did you know that October is National Energy Awareness Month? This is the perfect opportunity for us all to learn more about how making wise energy choices can save money and protect the environment and natural resources at the same time. Take the time to turn off lights and other equipment when not in use, insulate water heaters and turn the temperature down to 120 degrees, replace conventional light bulbs with energy saving bulbs.
Here are some agri-business notes from the Huron and Erie County Farm Service Agency:
2008 prevented planting If you are prevented from planting your small grains due to the occurrence of a natural disaster the following procedures apply:
The producer shall within 15 days after the final planting date for small grains of Oct. 20 file a CCC-576 Notice of Loss at your local FSA office. Due to the 15th day falling on Nov. 4 which is a Sunday, producers will have until Nov. 5 to timely file a Notice of Loss on small grains for 2007.
Acreage reports for failed crops, due to disaster-related conditions shall be filed before the disposition of the crop.
Producers will need to be prepared to provide invoices for seed, fertilizer, and state land prep completed for the failed crop when making an application.
If you are prevented from planting your small grain crops, but do not file the CCC-576 timely or dispose of your crop before filing, your application cannot be approved by the COC. The COC will review all applications filed and determine if the crop could not be planted due to a disaster event or if not planting was a management decision.
EQIP signup under way The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was reauthorized in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (farm bill) to provide a voluntary conservation program for farmers and ranchers that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land. Among the conservation practices eligible are livestock manure storage facilities, livestock heavy use area protection pads, roof runoff management, agri-chemical storage facilities, livestock fencing, streambank protection, and nutrient management. EQIP may cost-share up to 75 percent of the costs of certain conservation practices. Incentive payments may be provided for up to three years to encourage producers to carry out management practices they may not otherwise use without the incentive. However, limited resource producers and beginning farmers and ranchers may be eligible for cost-shares up to 90 percent. Farmers and ranchers may elect to use a certified third-party provider for technical assistance. An individual or entity may not receive, directly or indirectly, cost-share or incentive payments that, in the aggregate, exceed $450,000 for all EQIP contracts entered during the term of the Farm Bill. The current EQIP signup will run through Nov. 2, with ranking of the applications to take place thereafter. Those approved for funding will be notified once the ranking process has been completed. Producers should keep in mind that if you are already enrolled in the Conservation Security Program through NRCS, or the Conservation Reserve program through FSA you will not be eligible to carry out certain practices offered through EQIP on the same areas.
Can you sign into the new farm program? Even though sign up for the "program" available to producers under the farm bill usually begins in October of the calendar year, we cannot begin sign up at this time for the 2008 crop year. With the current Farm Bill officially over as of Sept. 28, and a new farm bill still not in place we have no "program" to offer. There are lots of rumors about the Farm Bill but nothing has been finalized to date. Please keep your eye on our column and we will notify you as soon as we know what the new farm bill will contain and when we can start the sign up for the 2008 program.
Diana Strouse is the county executive director for the Huron and Erie County Farm Service Agency. For more information, call the agency at (419) 668-4113.