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Notes for Erie, Huron county farmers

Register • Jul 21, 2014 at 6:40 PM

Conservation Reserve Programs workshop; Emergency assistance for livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish program

A workshop will be presented by the Huron/Erie FSA, NRCS, SWCD and Pheasants Forever to provide the latest information on the CRP programs. Join us at the Norwalk Service Center, 8 Fair Road, in Norwalk, on July 22 to find out all the details. Information about Continuous CRP and the Lake Erie CREP program will be available. Learn from some of the staff members of these agencies how these programs can benefit you. Get the answers you need to any questions you have.

For your convenience, two sessions will be held. One will be at 10 a.m. and another at 6 p.m. If your current CRP contract is expiring Sept. 30 and you are interested in continuing in one of the programs, it is important you attend this meeting.

Light refreshments courtesy of Pheasants Forever will be served. Please RSVP to 419-668-4113.

Emergency assistance for livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish program

ELAP provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish who have losses due to disease, adverse weather or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires. ELAP assistance is provided for losses not covered by LFP and LIP.

Producers who suffered eligible livestock, honeybee or farm-raised fish losses during 2012 and 2013 program years must submit a notice of loss and application for payment to their local FSA office by Aug. 1. For 2014 program year losses, the notice of loss and an application for payment must be submitted by Nov. 1.

New fax number

Just as a reminder, the Huron/Erie County FSA office now has a new fax number. Our new FAX number is 855-841-6791. Please use this new number for any future correspondence sent to the Huron/Erie County Farm Service Agency by FAX.

Nomination period

The nomination period for local Farm Service Agency county committees began June 15. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area where the person is nominated.

For election purposes, counties are divided into local administrative areas, or LAAs. Each LAA selects one producer to serve a three-year term on the FSA county committee. Each year, an election is held in an LAA to replace the committee member whose three-year term is expiring. In counties with three LAAs, one seat is up for election. In combined counties in some years, additional seats may be up for election. There are five different LAAs in Huron/Erie County. LAA 1 in Huron County and LAA 5 in Erie County are part of the election process this year.

LAA 1 includes: Greenfield, Lyme, Norwich, Peru, Ridgefield and Sherman townships. LAA 5 includes: Berlin, Florence, Milan and Vermilion townships.

Farmers and landowners may nominate themselves or others. Organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA-669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at fsa.usda.gov/elections. Nomination forms for the 2014 election must be postmarked or received at the Huron County FSA office by close of business Aug. 1. Elections will take place this fall. While FSA county committees do not approve or deny farm ownership or operating loans, they make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues.

Members serve three-year terms. FSA will mail ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 3. Ballots are due to the FSA office either via mail or in person by Dec. 1. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office on Jan. 1, 2015. For more information, contact the Huron/Erie County FSA office or visit the County Committee Elections website to learn more about the County Committee Election process at: fsa.usda.gov/elections.

Mid-contract CRP cover management

The Ohio Farm Service Agency along with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Fish and Wildlife Services, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Pheasants Forever developed a State Mid-Contract Management team. The State MCM team completes site evaluations of each CRP grass practice and determines the appropriate Mid-Contract Management activity options based on the existing cover. So how will this MCM team evaluation affect CRP participants?

Well, all CRP participants with contracts effective beginning with sign-up 26 are required to perform management activities as part of their approved conservation plan. All CRP participants with contracts before sign-up 26 can perform management activities voluntarily. If participants voluntarily request to revise the conservation plan, the management activities will be the same terms and conditions established for the required management activities. Required activities shall be designed to ensure plant diversity and wildlife benefits, while ensuring protection of the soil and water resources.

Management activities are designed to be site-specific and used to enhance the wildlife benefits for the site. Cost-sharing up to 50 percent of a flat rate is available for most management practices including light disking and interseeding. Management activities must not be performed during the primary nesting period or brood rearing season, which in Ohio is March 1-July 15. Failure to perform planned management activities can result in contract violation. The Huron/Erie County FSA office will be contacting you later this summer if your CRP contract is due for MCM this year. Practice cover evaluations of these practices by the MCM team will be conducted this summer.

Contact the Huron/Erie County FSA office for details concerning your CRP mid-contract management activities.

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