Florida FSA - Columbia and Union Counties - June Updates

May 2015

Bulletin Masthead

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Columbia-Union County FSA Updates

2304 SW Main Blvd
Suite 103
Lake City, FL 32025  

386-752-8447 Phone 
855-485-0087 Fax   
 Monday - Friday
 8:00 am – 4:30 pm     

County Committee            

The County Committee’s next meeting is scheduled for July 30, 2015 at 8:30 am.

COC Members:

Travis Dicks Chairperson

Ross Terry Vice Chairperson

Delvey Dicks Member

Alan Courson Member

Joshua Smith Member

Walter Rentz Advisor

County Office Staff 

Hugh Hunter, County Executive Director 
Bunny Dubas, PT 
Jenny Morrison, PT   

Jim Boyd, Farm Loans

Website:  www.fsa.usda.gov

From the Desk of Hugh Hunter, CED

Just a friendly reminder, don’t forget to report Spring and Summer seeded crops.  Producers that experience a crop loss due to adverse weather conditions will need to notify the County Office within 72 hours for hand harvested crops.

Also, this is the time of the year that we typically experience thunderstorms.  The Livestock Indemnity Program is available to producers that have livestock losses due to lightening.  A Notice of Loss will need to be filed at the County Office the within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent to the producer. Please document losses with pictures that include the date. 

COC Election

COC elections provide farmers and ranchers the opportunity to run for and be elected to represent producers in their community as an elected member on their local FSA COC.

This year the election will be for LAA 3, Columbia County and LAA 4, Columbia County.  LAA 3 covers all property East of U S 441 in Columbia County.  LAA 4 covers all property South of County Road 240 and West of U S 441 in Columbia County.  

June 15 through August 3, 2015 is the period for nominating farmers and ranchers as candidates for the local COC election.  Contact this office for a nomination form or visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections 

Secretary Vilsack Announces Additional 800,000 Acres Dedicated to Conservation Reserve Program for Wildlife Habitat and Wetlands

Secretary Hails Program’s 30th Anniversary, Announces General Signup Period

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that an additional 800,000 acres of highly environmentally sensitive land may be enrolled in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) under certain wetland and wildlife initiatives that provide multiple benefits on the same land.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will accept new offers to participate in CRP under a general signup to be held Dec. 1, 2015, through Feb. 26, 2016. Eligible existing program participants with contracts expiring Sept. 30, 2015, will be granted an option for one-year extensions. Farmers and ranchers interested in removing sensitive land from agricultural production and planting grasses or trees to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and restore wildlife habitat are encouraged to enroll.

For 30 years, the Conservation Reserve Program has helped farmers and ranchers prevent more than 8 billion tons of soil from eroding, reduce nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to cropland by 95 and 85 percent respectively, and even sequester 43 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, equal to taking 8 million cars off the road.

The voluntary Conservation Reserve Program allows USDA to contract with agricultural producers so that environmentally sensitive land is conserved.  Participants establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species to control soil erosion improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat. In return, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years.

CRP protects water quality and restores significant habitat for ducks, pheasants, turkey, quail, deer and other important wildlife which spurs economic development like hunting and fishing, outdoor recreation and tourism across rural America.  Today’s announcement allows an additional 800,000 acres for duck nesting habitat and other wetland and wildlife habitat initiatives to be enrolled in the program.

Farmers and ranchers should consider the various CRP continuous sign-up initiatives that may help target specific resource concerns.  Financial assistance is offered for many practices including conservation buffers and pollinator habitat plantings, and initiatives such as the highly erodible lands, bottomland hardwood tree and longleaf pine.

Farmers and ranchers may visit their FSA county office for additional information. The 2014 Farm Bill authorized the enrollment of grasslands in CRP and information on grasslands enrollment will be available after the regulation is published later this summer.

For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, please visit www.fsa.usda.gov.