Farm News for the Mid-Atlantic Region
Note: Some stories are written in broadcast style
Large U.S. apple crop expected
RICHMOND—The nation’s fall apple crop is expected to be a big one, with a potential record crop in Washington offsetting lighter crops in the two other main apple-producing states, New York and Michigan.
Early estimates from the Premier Apple Cooperative in New York and the Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association indicate the national fresh and processing apple crop could reach 260 million 40-pound boxes, the third-largest crop on record.
There could be an oversupply of apples nationally, but a huge national crop is more manageable now than in previous years. That’s due to a better varietal mix and quality and to fast food restaurants using more apple slices.
While Virginia production is a long way, volume-wise, from that of Washington, the commonwealth is the nation’s sixth-largest producer of apples in both volume and acreage. Virginia orchards produced 4.6 million bushels of apples in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. More than half of last year’s crop was sold for processing into products like apple juice and applesauce.
“Right now our crop here in Virginia appears to be fair,” said Spencer Neale, director of commodity marketing for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “There have been reports of damaging hail in some orchards, too much moisture in some and not enough in others. It very much depends on the region. The next few weeks will be critical to finishing the crop, and then we will begin to see exactly what we have.”
Maryland awards $1 Million for Innovative Manure Management Technologies
POCOMOKE - The Maryland Department of Agriculture recently awarded more than $1 million in grants for three animal waste management technology projects. Secretary of Agriculture Buddy Hance, Maryland Energy Administration Director Abigail Ross Hopper, along with other state and local officials, joined together for a check presentation ceremony to Planet Found Energy Development and Green Mountain Technologies for implementation of their demonstration projects. The event was held at Millennium Farms in Worcester County.
“By working to reach our sustainability goals, we’ll grow our renewable energy portfolio and reduce the amount of run-off going into our precious Bay. This program is a win-win for our State,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Investing in Maryland’s in-state renewable energy boosts our economy, ensures that we have abundant energy resources well into the future and creates more jobs and opportunity for more Marylanders.”
The O’Malley/Brown Administration’s investment in innovation led to the revitalization of the Animal Waste Technology Fund. The Fund provides incentives to companies that demonstrate new technologies on farms and provide alternative strategies for managing animal manure. These technologies generate energy from animal manure, reduce on-farm waste streams, and repurpose manure by creating marketable fertilizer and other products and by-products. MDA plans to award a total of $2 million of the $2.5 million available in FY2014. Funds not awarded during FY2014 will be added to a new round of requests for proposals to demonstrate innovative manure management technologies, totaling $3 million in FY2015.
“These projects will help farmers address challenges in managing manure under new nutrient management requirements,” said Secretary Hance. “Projects funded have the potential to increase energy independence, enhance animal waste management, improve water quality, and reduce greenhouse gases – all of which will result in advanced Chesapeake Bay restoration and help farms become sustainable.”
National Corn Growers Assn. comments on "massive crop"
National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) reports:
With the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently estimating a record corn supply of 15.2 billion bushels this coming year, the National Corn Growers Association is keeping a close eye on prices and pushing back against efforts that will reduce demand for the bountiful supply.
"Now is not the time for our federal policymakers to be cutting into the ethanol standard, imposing undue regulations or going slow on trade agreements," said NCGA President Martin Barbre.
"Our farmers are doing their part, working hard and smart on their farms to bring in a good crop. It's time Washington removed obstacles and cleared a path so we can sell America's biggest and most versatile crop at a good and fair price."
In its crop production and supply-and-demand reports released today, USDA estimated a record average national corn yield of 167.4 bushels per acre. Factoring in 83.8 million acres expected to be harvested brings the 2014 crop at 14.0 billion bushels and the overall supply at 15.2 billion bushels.
Due to the increased production, the average farm price was lowered a dime from its July estimate, to a range of $3.55 to $4.25 per bushel.
When it comes to corn prices and the cost of growing corn, Barbre cited three areas NCGA is watching in particular that affect its grower members. First, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed cutting by 10 percent the amount of corn ethanol in the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014, a step that means future years also may see reductions.
At the same time, EPA has proposed new regulations regarding the Clean Water Act and the definition of which waters will be covered. Farmers need clarity and the proposed rule regarding "Waters of the U.S." needs to be fixed. Farmers cannot afford more regulatory uncertainty that drives up costs, Barbre said.
Finally, to help exports of corn and corn products, NCGA is pushing for modernized Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation as provided in the bi-partisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014. This would improve our nation's ability to advance trade agreements that open markets for U.S. farmers.
Turkey industry pleased with USDA action
WASHINGTON, DC - The National Turkey Federation praised USDA for moving forward with its Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection rule.
USDA recently released the final version of the rule, which will allow poultry plants nationwide the option to implement an enhanced inspection program that focuses even greater attention on the prevention of microbiological hazards.
This enhanced program was previously was limited to 25 pilot plants, but now that the rule has been finalized, NTF said it expects many turkey plants to adopt the new system.
"USDA is to be commended for standing up for food safety in the face of significant pressure," said NTF President Joel Brandenberger. "Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection provides additional tools to plants and federal inspectors to verify that plant food-safety programs are protecting against foodborne illness.
"By allowing plant employees to conduct some preliminary sorting duties, federal inspectors will be freed to further verify testing on the spot, examine sanitation standards and enforcing safeguards throughout a processing plant."
NTF and its members view this as the most significant step forward in food safety since the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) regulation of 1996. That regulation was a turning point on changing meat inspection from one that was largely visual to one that included testing for microbiological hazards.
"HACCP has enhanced food safety considerably, and this expands on the concepts of that rule. It's the next logical step in the evolution of food safety," Brandenberger said.
NTF will continue to work with those members who opt to utilize the system and with USDA to ensure smooth implementation.
NC State professor wins award for work in animal nutrition
Jack Odle, Ph.D., an animal scientist at North Carolina State University, was recently presented with the New Frontiers in Animal Nutrition Award Sunday as part of the Nutrition Research Awards. The award is sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association and the Federation of Animal Science Societies.
This is the 67th year AFIA has presented the Nutrition Research Awards, and the 11th consecutive year the organization has sponsored the FASS award. The purpose of the New Frontiers in Animal Nutrition Award is to stimulate, acknowledge and reward pioneering and innovative research relevant to animal nutrition.
The award recipient must demonstrate outstanding and innovative contributions to nutrition research concerning animals that benefit mankind and/or the nutritional value of food from animals. Odle manages a research program focused on "Nutritional Biochemistry of the Neonate."
"His research has relevance to both agriculture and to medicine in that his laboratory uses piglets as a model for neonatal nutrition and metabolism," said Richard Sellers, AFIA senior vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs. "His research, focused on lipid metabolism and on intestinal health, has previously received recognition by the society as he was awarded a Young Researcher Award, the Non-ruminant Nutrition Award and the Animal Growth & Development Award."
Odle has received $8 million for research, published 367 papers, abstracts and technical reports, and has trained 50 graduate students, post doctorates and visiting scientists.
Odle received his bachelor's degree with highest honors in animal science from Purdue University and his master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a concentration in nutritional biochemistry.
After five years as Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, he joined the Department of Animal Science at North Carolina State University in 1995 and was named William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor in 2005.
Peanut farming has its roots in Southeast Virginia
WAVERLY — Virginia’s peanut-farming roots are plenty deep. The first commercial crop of peanuts in the United States was actually produced in 1842 in Southeast Virginia.
The Virginia-type peanut is known for its large kernels compared to the other three types grown in the United States, said Dell Cotton, executive secretary of the Virginia Peanut Growers Association. The majority of Virginia-type peanut production in the United States takes place in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
“The larger Virginia kernels support various prominent industries. The in-shell peanut is sold in grocery stores and at sporting events. The shelled extra-large kernels are used as cocktail peanuts. The super-extra-large kernels are used by gourmet processors to cook and package, usually in tins, for distribution,” Cotton said.
Virginia-grown peanuts are produced in about eight localities in the southeastern part of the state, where sandy soils are conducive to their growth. They typically are planted in May and harvested at the end of September or first part of October.
Kevin Monahan in Sussex County has grown peanuts on his multi-generational farm for 31 years. He used to farm with his uncle and grandfather, and now he farms with his sons, Drew and Brad. The family still grows peanuts on a farm that belonged to Monahan’s great-great-grandfather.
This summer he is growing 135 acres of Virginia-type peanuts—100 acres for seed and another 35 acres that will be sold as an in-shell product.
“Peanuts take a lot of work to grow,” Monahan said. “You have to scout the plants for diseases and keep them sprayed to prevent disease.”
Monahan used to grow as many as 350 acres of peanuts when the federal quota system was in place. Passage of the 2002 Farm Bill ended the 70-year-old federal system of production and price controls, and it was replaced with a more market-oriented approach.
“With the quota system we knew we could get a certain amount of money per ton of peanuts, and we planned our peanut acreage based on the average yield from the previous year,” Monahan said. He and other farmers now plant peanut acreage based on contracts with peanut processing companies, called shellers.
“I found I do a better job managing the peanuts since I reduced the number of acres we grow,” Monahan said. “It used to take a month in the fall to get all of those peanuts in, and now if we have good harvest conditions, it takes about 8 to 10 days.”
House bills address farm concerns with EPA ‘waters’ proposal
WASHINGTON — Two bills that have bipartisan support in the U.S. House of Representatives address serious concerns voiced by the American Farm Bureau Federation about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule.
Issued earlier this year, the rule would give the EPA broad jurisdiction over dry land features and farming practices that historically has been relegated to individual states under the Clean Water Act.
H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014, was introduced by Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., and has been approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. It would prohibit the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from implementing a rule that broadens the scope of the Clean Water Act and would effectively block the proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule.
A second bill addresses concerns about common farm practices that have been exempt from Clean Water Act regulation but could lose that status under the proposed rule.
In March the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers issued an interpretive rule to clarify how “Waters of the U.S.” would affect normal farming, ranching and forestry exemptions. AFBF analysis determined that the interpretive rule narrows the list of existing exemptions and would require compliance with otherwise voluntary U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service standards. The proposal puts the USDA in the unprecedented position of enforcing Clean Water Act compliance.
Reps. Chris Collins, R-N.Y.; Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio; Frank Lucas, R-Okla.; Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; Reid Ribble, R-Wis.; Kurt Schrader, D-Ore.; and Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., have introduced H.R. 5071, The Agricultural Conservation Flexibility Act. The bill clarifies that existing Clean Water Act exemptions for normal farming, ranching and forestry apply to all conservation activities without regard to the interpretive rule.
The bill further states that no soil and water conservation practices will be treated as new uses of areas of navigable waters, impairments of the flow of navigable waters or reductions in the reach of those waters under recapture provisions in Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The bill also clarifies that normal farming, ranching and forestry activities will be treated as such without regard to their date of commencement.
The AFBF has assembled articles and analysis relevant to the proposed rule at ditchtherule.fb.org. The organization asserts that the EPA proposal exposes U.S. farmers and ranchers to potential fines and penalties for ordinary farming activities.
AFBF President Bob Stallman called the rule “an end-run around Congress and the Supreme Court. … If more people knew how regulators could use the proposed rule to require permits for common activities on dry land or penalize landowners for not getting them, they would be outraged.”
West Virginia expands forest insect program
CHARLESTON - WV Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick has announced that the West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) Program has expanded to include all counties currently infested with HWA.
“Additional counties were found to be infested this year so our Plant Industries Division Staff expanded our HWA program so landowners in those counties would be allowed to participate” said Commissioner Helmick.
The hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae, is a non-native invasive pest that is quickly decimating hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis and T. caroliniana) in the eastern United States” said Quentin “Butch” Sayers, Assistant Director of PID with WVDA.
“Without long-term control of HWA, eastern and Carolina hemlock will be significantly reduced, if not eliminated, throughout its natural range.” “HWA causes damage to hemlocks by depleting the hemlock’s starch reserves, which in turn reduces the trees’ ability to grow and produce new shoots” said Sayers. “All ages and size classes of hemlock are susceptible to HWA infestations.”
WVDA is now accepting applications from landowners who wish to sign up and participate in the WVDA HWA Program to help protect their hemlock trees.
Landowners who want to participate in the HWA Cooperative Program must complete an application and submit it with a $100 deposit that will be applied to your treatment costs. The application can be received by calling the WVDA Charleston Office at (304) 558-2212 or downloading at: http://www.wvagriculture.org/images/Plant_Industries/About_Us.html.
Landowners must apply for the program by September 30th, 2014, provide WVDA with a map of their property, and allow WVDA to evaluate their site to ensure it meets the project qualifications:
-Only private lands within the project area are eligible.
-More than 50 percent canopy cover of hemlocks.
-A woodlot with a minimum of five acres. Adjacent and otherwise eligible landowners may cooperate to meet the minimum acreage requirement.
-Landowners with less than five acres may qualify if the proposed treatment area is adjacent to land being managed for HWA.
-Trees must have more than 50 percent foliage.
-Trees may not have been treated within the last four years.
-Treatment must not pose a safety risk to WVDA field personnel.
-Pesticides used in treatments must be purchased directly by WVDA.
-Treatments usually protect trees four-to-five years.
Cost share monies are available, however landowners accepted for the program must pay for a portion of the treatments. Applying for the program does not obligate landowners to participate – they may back out if they feel their portion of the costs is too high.
Farm Credit celebrates 98 years of service to American agriculture
Nearly 100 years after the U.S. Congress established Farm Credit to serve as a reliable source of credit for the nation's farmers and ranchers, the network of borrower-owned lending institutions and specialized service organizations remains a sound and vital resource for rural America. The organization recently marked it's 98th anniversary.
"For 98 years, the Farm Credit System has served agriculture and rural America as a dedicated, reliable, competitive, customer-owned source of credit," said Mary Fritz, owner and operator of Quarter Circle JF Ranch, Inc., a dry land grain and cow-calf operation in Chester, Montana, and chair of the Farm Credit Council board of directors. "America's agricultural producers and rural communities have benefited greatly from the vision and foresight that went into establishing the Farm Credit System."
Today, about 40 percent of the dollar volume of outstanding loans to U.S. farmers and ranchers comes from Farm Credit. The federally chartered network is comprised of 82 privately owned institutions, including four wholesale banks and 78 direct lending associations that operate in every county in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
These local Farm Credit System institutions specialize in providing credit and related services to farmers, ranchers, timber harvesters and aquatic producers. In addition, the Farm Credit System provides financing for the processing and marketing activities of these borrowers, as well as to rural homeowners, certain farm-related businesses, and agricultural and public utility cooperatives.
In support of their mission of service, Farm Credit System institutions also have programs specifically focused on meeting the needs of young, beginning and small farmers and ranchers. In 2013, more than 40 percent of new loans made by Farm Credit were to small producers, those with annual gross agricultural sales of $250,000 or less.
"Our cooperative model is designed specifically to ensure that our lending and related financial services are driven by the needs of our borrower-owners," Fritz said. "Our focus remains on the success of our owners rather than on achieving quarterly returns to impress stockholders."
Farm Credit's commitment to its borrower-owners is demonstrated further by the fact that associations share profits directly with borrowers through patronage dividends. In 2013, the Farm Credit System distributed more than $1 billion in cash patronage, allowing borrower-owners to reinvest in their own operations and to further support rural communities through local spending.
"Today, Farm Credit celebrates its heritage as it continues to fulfill its mission to serve U.S. agriculture and rural America," Fritz said. "Farm Credit was established as a permanent system of credit that is to be responsive to the needs of our nation's agricultural sector, and we look forward to continued success and a bright future."
Penn State: Scout for Palmer Amaranth now in soybeans, before it’s too late
Identifying and containing new infestations is a critical first step in managing this new threat. That is according to officials with PA Cooperative Extension who say hopefully, most of the full season soybean crop has been managed for weeds by this time of the summer and some growers have planted or are still considering double-crop.
An excerpt from a recent newsletter written by William Curran, Professor of Weed Science and Dwight Lingenfelter, Program Development Specialist states:
There is still time to ensure your soybean weed control programs worked by scouting those full season soybeans for escapes and by selecting effective herbicides to control weeds in double-crop soybeans. In particular, be on the look out for Palmer amaranth. We have talked a great deal about this weed over the last year, and most of our PA Palmer amaranth infestations last fall were discovered in soybeans (both full season and double crop). Containing new infestations and preventing the spread is a critical first step to managing this new threat. Seeds collected from southeastern PA fields last fall were tested in a greenhouse assay this winter and showed that all five populations were resistant to glyphosate and four of five were resistant to both glyphosate and the ALS inhibitors. In soybean fields, it should become quite obvious when resistant plants appear above the soybean canopy, but you have to scout those fields to find these escapes.
As stated in the Take Action Herbicide-Resistance Management Fact Sheet titled Palmer Amaranth Management in Soybeans, proper timing is everything for effective control. In full season soybeans, Palmer amaranth is already likely too big for traditional control measures, as effective postemergence soybean herbicides should be applied before Palmer amaranth is 3 inches tall for best control. But, better late than never and over the next week or so will be optimal for control in double-crop. The Group 14 (Flexstar/Reflex, Cobra/Phoenix, or Ultra Blazer) herbicides are some of the most effective. If you are fortunate enough to have LibertyLink soybeans, use a minimum rate of 29 fl. oz./A. of Liberty. Spray coverage is essential with any of these herbicides, so a minimum of 15 gal/A. of spray solution should be used. Once Palmer amaranth plants exceed 3 inches tall, control with any of these postemergence herbicides is substantially reduced.
So, scout those soybean fields now and do what it takes to control Palmer amaranth. Some attention now will ensure you’re not forced to attempt some last chance rescue (or field destruction) in September when Palmer amaranth is six feet tall or more and flowering or worse yet has already produced seed.
New livestock pavilion ready for use during State Fair of Virginia
DOSWELL—The brand-new 40,000-square-foot First Bank & Trust Pavilion is ready to house cattle during this year’s State Fair of Virginia, which will open Sept. 26 and run through Oct. 5.
Located in the Equine and Livestock Complex of The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County, the building will provide a covered area during the fair. At other times it can be used for horse shows, rodeos, canine agility competitions and other events.
“This is a much-needed addition to this beautiful 330-acre property,” said Glenn Martin, State Fair livestock and equine events manager. “It will enhance our facilities and give livestock a permanent home during the State Fair.”
State-level 4-H and FFA livestock shows are held at the State Fair each year, and winning youth receive more than $70,000 in scholarship money. Other livestock events are held during the fair as well.
Registration for the competitions is open through Aug. 15. Youth participating in the dairy cattle, dairy goat and poultry competitions can register at www.StateFairVa.org/Competitions/Livestock_Competitions.aspx. Youth entering the beef cattle, meat goat, sheep and swine competitions should register at www.4-h.ext.vt.edu/programs/anscience/livestock.
First Bank & Trust Co. has secured naming rights for the building over the next decade.
“Construction of the new First Bank & Trust Pavilion represents continued commitment to the State Fair of Virginia by the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation,” which owns both the fair and The Meadow, said State Fair President Jeff Dillon. “The pavilion will improve the fair experience for both exhibitors and fair patrons alike.”
The livestock pavilion complements existing buildings at The Meadow and is similar in style to the historic horse stall barns on the property.
Fair livestock exhibitors face new rules in Maryland
ANNAPOLIS - The Maryland Department of Agriculture will begin enforcing new animal identification requirements for those entering animals into fairs, show and exhibits this season. The move will bring the state’s exhibitors into full compliance with the USDA’s Animal Disease Traceability regulations that were adopted last February and phased in over the last year.
During shows and exhibits, large numbers of animals – such as cows, pigs and sheep – are gathered closely together. If one is sick, the possibility of the disease spreading to other animals and even humans is significantly higher at fairs and shows than on the farm. Animal illnesses can impact animal industries and some illness can be spread from animals to humans. The new rules – which generally impact swine, cattle, sheep and goats — help ensure that all animals are clearly identified and their movements traceable in an animal health, public health or food safety event.
The new rules require all animals (except rabbits) to have an official MDA or USDA identification tag before entering exhibitions. The tag must identify which farm or premise the animal came from.
Brands or tattoos on cattle and recognized breed ear notches or tattoos on swine are no longer acceptable as official identification in Maryland exhibitions. All sheep and goats must be officially scrapie-identified with USDA-approved ear tags, tattoos or microchips.
The new exhibition rules impact animals moving within the boundaries of the state and animals being moved into or out of Maryland.
Official identification tags may be requested from MDA by calling 410-841-5810 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pennsylvania announces pilot program to distribute milk through local food banks
Harrisburg – Agriculture Secretary George Greig recently announced Pennsylvanians will be able to access milk at food banks in 27 counties through an innovative milk distribution pilot program.
Greig joined partners from the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and Harrisburg Dairies and representatives from the Pennsylvania Association of Milk Dealers, Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and the Center for Dairy Excellence at the food bank, which will distribute the milk to its affiliates across the state. This program will help 55,000 people served by the food bank.
“Pennsylvania now has a way to serve milk to our citizens who otherwise wouldn’t have access to nature’s perfect beverage,” said Greig. “This opens a new market for our state’s high-quality milk and is the first step to ensuring all Pennsylvanians have access to it.”
Through the public-private partnership, milk will be shipped to Harrisburg Dairies by Pennsylvania dairy farmers to be processed for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. The department will work to ensure that milk is provided at a discounted price to the food bank to better serve Pennsylvanians who use the food bank’s services.
“Milk is one of the most highly-desired and needed food items for our hungry Pennsylvania neighbors”, said Executive Director Joe Arthur. “But milk historically has presented great challenges to food banks and our community partners.
“However, as a result of our great success in ramping up fresh produce sharing, we now have enormous capacity to handle, transport and distribute refrigerated food like milk. This milk program will help us leverage our capacity to greatly expand the amount of fresh milk available to people seeking our help,” said Arthur.
The food bank’s system distributes food to more than 800 soup kitchens, shelters and food pantries in 27 central Pennsylvania counties, serving about 20,000 households weekly. Ninety-five percent of food banks nationwide report they don’t receive enough milk to meet clients’ needs.
“This is a great opportunity for Pennsylvania’s dairy industry,” said Dauphin County dairy farmer Adam Kopp. “We know the power of milk as a nutritious beverage for children and adults. We’re looking forward to supplying this new market and helping Pennsylvanians.”
USDA pledges financial support for Chesapeake Bay riparian buffers
WASHINGTON - USDA Under Secretaries Robert Bonnie and Michael Scuse pledged up to $5 million to state and local partnerships in six states for accelerating tree planting along the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The pledge was made at a summit in Washington, D.C. attended by leaders of Chesapeake Bay water quality restoration efforts.
"Improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay is a top priority of the Obama Administration, and USDA programs can help," said Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Under Secretary Scuse. "We're identifying creative approaches using our existing programs, so that USDA's partnerships with Chesapeake leaders can enhance our mutual goal of preventing soil erosion, improving water quality and restoring wildlife habitat in this region. That's good not only for future generations, but today's generation."
"Voluntary conservation practices made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill enable us to work with farmers who are interested in taking steps to ensure their practices help conserve the Chesapeake Bay Watershed," said Bonnie, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment. "These conservation efforts help to clean our soil and water, boost outdoor recreation and provides agriculture with the tools needed to remain productive in the years to come."
The conference marks the start of an accelerated strategy of the Chesapeake Riparian Forest Buffer Initiative to promote the establishment of more forested areas, known as "riparian forest buffers," along streams and rivers of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, providing natural barriers that can filter sediment, chemicals, and other contaminants from entering into the waterway.
The USDA financial assistance will provide more incentives to private landowners interested in participating in the Farm Service Agency's (FSA) voluntary Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Each Chesapeake Bay state has a CREP in place, which collectively cover the entire watershed. To date, about $500 million in USDA financial assistance has been provided or obligated to farmers enrolling land in the six CREPs.
Weekly crop progress reports
Trivia Question: True or false - Pigs are native to North America.
Answer: b Hernando de Soto, the famous Spanish explorer, brought the first pig to North America in 1539. (Cows didn’t get here until 1611 with the Pilgrims).
Previous Question - Which nation produces the most lamb?
b. New Zealand
d. United States
Answer: a. China. World sheep and lamb numbers are similar to those that existed in the 1960s. However, productivity increases have caused total world production to climb from 11 billion pounds in 1965 to 18 billion pounds last year. China is the largest producer with 4.4 billion pounds followed by the European Union (1.9 billion pounds), Australia (1.4 billion pounds), and New Zealand (1 billion pounds). Although world production has increased, demand has increased more than supply and resulted in record prices over the past few years.
Previous Question: Which was the most recent U.S. President to be a member of the FFA?
a. Barack Obama
b. George Bush
c. Jimmy Carter
d. Bill Clinton
Answer: There has been only one - President Jimmy Carter was a member of the White Plains FFA Chapter in Georgia.
Safe Food classes offered in
Pennsylvania August crop
Virginia poultry industry is focus of new "showcase facility" at Rockingham County Fairgrounds
HARRISONBURG – The Rockingham County Fair in Harrisonburg expanded it's poultry facilities on the Fairgrounds this summer. The goal is to showcase the historic and economic importance of the Virginia poultry industry as well as to provide new and expanded space for exhibitor show birds during the annual County Fair. The Rockingham County Fair has been recognized on numerous occasions as one of the top agricultural Fairs in North America and is dedicating 2014 as “The Year of the Farm Family.”
“This project has been a long time in the making,” says Jeff Ishee, GM for the Rockingham County Fair Association. The current poultry exhibit building was transported to its present-day site in 1980 after being used for numerous years at the old Kratzer Road site of the County Fair. “It was time for a make-over,” emphasized Ishee, who added the renovated building and another, poultry-related new-construction building have been completed in time for the 2014 County Fair. Attendance at the 2013 Fair set a new record at 88,885 people.
The Fair Association and various poultry companies with operations in Rockingham County developed a plan several months ago to recognize the historic and economic importance of the Virginia poultry industry. Construction of the new showcase building began in late March.
“This is a big story and it needs to be told,” remarked poultry industry pioneer Charles Wampler, Jr. of Dayton. “I am pleased more people will learn about the significance of chicken and turkey production and the farm families involved.” The Wampler family was an integral part of the reason Rockingham County has become known around the world as the “Turkey Capital.” Wampler was also the 1st President of the Rockingham County Fair Association in 1949.
The old poultry building used for more than 3 decades underwent a complete, top-to-bottom makeover and now contains interactive displays, historic artifacts, and educational exhibits. Two prominent statues (one chicken and one turkey) welcome visitors at the main entrance. Another building for exhibiting live birds during the County Fair will be used to host other Fairgrounds events throughout the year.
Funding was provided by private donors, poultry companies and agriculture-related interests. The Fair Association also received a grant from the Rural Rehabilitation Trust Fund administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The project has received endorsements from Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, as well as the encouragement of local elected officials.
“Our mission statement requires us to promote agriculture and be a leader in the presentation and promotion of farm life and food production,” says Fair Association President Don Liskey of Cross Keys. “This is a win-win situation for the Fair and the poultry industry. Visitors to the Fair will learn all about the importance of chicken and turkey production here in Virginia.”
TN introduces new Mobile App for farms, farmers'
Cargill to remove
growth-promoting antibiotics from all turkeys
Source: Cargill News Release
Hydroponic lettuce takes root in
successful in WV
NC farmers, gardeners urged to
submit soil sample information online
N.C. peach growers approve
Pennsylvania adds 28 farms,
nearly 2,800 acres to preservation program
Potato trials underway in WV;
Spuds seen as part of "$6 billion opportunity" for farmers
Cover crops and soil health awareness gaining
popularity in South Carolina