Florida FSA - January Newsletter - New Year Expansions

January 17, 2017

NL Masthead

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Florida FSA Newsletter


Florida Farm Service Agency

4440 NW 25th Place, St 1
Gainesville, FL 32606

www.fsa.usda.gov/fl

State Committee:
Martin Griswold
Donell Gwinn
Gayle King
James Peeples

Executive Director:
Rick Dantzler

Executive Officer:
Debby Folsom

Division Chiefs:

Administrative Officer
Mark Cotrell

Farm Program
Tom Hockert

Farm Loans
Justin Teuton

Please contact your local FSA Office for questions specific to your operation or county.

Farewell

As the Obama administration draws to a close on Friday, January 20th, we will be saying good-bye to Florida and Virgin Islands State Executive Director Rick Dantzler.  Mr. Dantzler is a political appointee and his tenure ends with President Obama's.  Until the Trump administration selects a new appointee, Debby Folsom will be serving as Acting State Executive Director.

Mr. Dantzler, thank you for your service and best wishes on your future endeavors!


USDA Climate Hub ‘Energy Generation and Efficiency’ Building Block

Through the Agricultural Act of 2014, USDA has several authorities that encourage the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.  The Energy Generation and Efficiency Building Block supports energy efficiency improvements in rural homes and on farm operations, for example, through EQIP’s National On-Farm Energy Initiative. This Building Block also provides opportunities to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from energy generation and use, for example, through the Rural Energy for America Program. To learn more about energy generation and efficiency opportunities from USDA click the following link: http://www.usda.gov/oce/climate_change/building_blocks/10_EnergyGenerationEfficiency.pdf

For more information about the USDA Climate Hubs click here: http://www.climatehubs.oce.usda.gov/.


USDA Expands Grasslands Conservation Program to Small-Scale Livestock Producers

USDA will accept over 300,000 acres in 43 states that were offered by producers during the recent ranking period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands enrollment with emphasis placed on small-scale livestock operations. Through the voluntary CRP Grasslands program, grasslands threatened by development or conversion to row crops are maintained as livestock grazing areas, while providing important conservation benefits. Approximately 200,000 of the accepted acres were offered by small-scale livestock operations. 

The most recent ranking period closed on Dec. 16, 2016, and included for the first time a CRP Grasslands practice specifically tailored for small-scale livestock grazing operations to encourage broader participation. Under this ranking period and for future periods, small-scale livestock operations with 100 or fewer head of grazing cows (or the equivalent) can submit applications to enroll up to 200 acres of grasslands per farm. Larger operations may still make offers through the normal process. USDA met its goal of 200,000 acres under this small-scale initiative. The new practice for small-scale livestock grazing operations encourages greater diversity geographically and in all types of livestock operations. Visit http://go.usa.gov/x9PFS to view the complete list of acres accepted by state.   

Participants in CRP Grasslands establish or maintain long-term, resource-conserving grasses and other plant species to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. CRP Grasslands participants can use the land for livestock production (e.g. grazing or producing hay), while following their conservation and grazing plans in order to maintain the cover. A goal of CRP Grasslands is to minimize conversion of grasslands either to row crops or to non-agricultural uses. Participants can receive annual payments of up to 75 percent of the grazing value of the land and up to 50 percent of the cost of cover practices like cross-fencing to support rotational grazing or improving pasture cover to benefit pollinators or other wildlife. 

USDA selects offers for enrollment based on six ranking factors: (1) current and future use, (2) new farmer/rancher or underserved producer involvement, (3) maximum grassland preservation, (4) vegetative cover, (5) environmental factors, and (6) pollinator habitat. Offers not selected in a ranking period are rolled over into the next ranking period. 

Small livestock operations or other farming and ranching operations interested in participating in CRP Grasslands should contact their local FSA office. To find your local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov. To learn more about FSA’s conservation programs, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation.