People who farm crops in the Mangum area, and in the direction of Mt. Gilead in the western part Richmond County, are urged to learn about the Highly Erodible Land Initiative, said Richmond County Farm Service Agency Director Amy Yaklin.
The Highly Erodible Land Initiative sign-up under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) began on July 23. The purpose of this initiative is to protect up to 750,000 acres of the nation’s most highly erodible croplands. Producers may enroll at the Richmond County Farm Service Agency office, located at 123 Caroline St., Suite 400, in Rockingham. Enrollment will continue until the 750,000 acre limit has been met.
CRP is a voluntary program designed to help farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers protect their environmentally sensitive land. Through this Highly Erodible Land Initiative, eligible landowners receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible cropland for a period of 10 years. Croplands with an erodibility index of 20 or greater are eligible for enrollment.
For more information, producers are encouraged to contact the FSA office or visit FSA’s website at: www.fsa.usda.gov/crp.
Farm safety is important to keep in mind as farmers head into the fields to harvest. Yaklin said the safety of farmers is one of FSA’s priorities.
“We always want our farmers to be safe,” said Yaklin. “Especially now that they are harvesting. One of those tractors can easily tip over on you with a hay bale. We’ve had some folks injured and some killed before and we want to avoid that.”
“Flowing grain in a storage bin or gravity-flow wagon is like quicksand, it can kill quickly. It takes less than five seconds for a person caught in flowing grain to be trapped,”read the FSA August newsletter. “The mechanical aspects of grain handling equipment also presents a real danger. Augers, power take offs, and other moving parts can grab people or clothing.”
These hazards, along with pinch points and missing shields, are dangerous enough for adults; not to mention children.
“It is always advisable to keep children a safe distance from operating farm equipment,” continued the newsletter. “Always use extra caution when backing or maneuvering farm machinery. Ensure everyone is visibly clear and accounted for before machinery is engaged. FSA wants all farmers to have a productive crop year, and that begins with putting safety first.”
USDA has streamlined the disaster designation process, lowered emergency loan rates and created greater CRP flexibility to help farmers and ranchers in drought-stricken areas across the country.
“If farmers feel they have had a loss due to the drought, they should contact us,” said Yaklin. “Whether it’s due to rain or if they have livestock damage. We don’t have a livestock program here, so they should keep good records, it’s very beneficial.”
FSA’s low-interest emergency loans will help producers recover from losses due to drought, and other natural disasters. The interest rates have been reduced to 2.25 percent, providing a much-needed resource for producers hoping to recover from production and physical losses associated with natural disasters.
USDA encourages all farmers and ranchers to contact their crop insurance companies and local USDA Farm Service Agency Service Centers, as applicable, to report damages to crops or livestock loss. In addition, USDA reminds livestock producers to keep thorough records of losses, including additional expenses for such things as food purchased due to lost supplies.
More information about federal crop insurance may be found at www.rma.usda.gov. Additional resources to help farmers and ranchers deal with disaster losses may be found at www.usda.gov/disaster.
The planning for November’s Farm-City Week event has begun. Yaklin said the board met to begin planning this month for the event that will last several days and will include an appreciation banquet for farmers and a parade.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.