U.S. Dept. of Agriculture information
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that eligible farmers and ranchers can now sign up for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs restored by passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.
“We implemented these programs in record time and kept our commitment to begin sign-up today,” said Vilsack. “To ensure enrollment goes as smoothly as possible, dedicated staff in over 2,000 Farm Service Agency offices across the country are doing everything necessary to help producers that have suffered through two and a half difficult years with no assistance because these programs were awaiting Congressional action.”
Depending on the size and type of farm or ranch operation, eligible producers can enroll in one of four programs administered by the Farm Service Agency. The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014. The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have suffered losses because of disease, severe weather, blizzards and wildfires.
Enrollment also is open for the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), which provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters.
Producers signing up for these programs are encouraged to contact their local FSA office for information on the types of records needed and to schedule an appointment. Taking these steps in advance will help producers ensure their application moves through the process as quickly as possible.
Supporting documents may include livestock birth records, purchase and transportation receipts, photos and ownership records showing the number and type of livestock lost, documents listing the gallons of water transported to livestock during drought, and more. Crop records may include purchase receipts for eligible trees, bushes, or vines, seed and fertilizer purchases, planting and production records, and documentation of labor and equipment used to plant or remove eligible trees, bushes, or vines.
Producers have three to nine months to apply depending on the program and year of the loss. Details are available from any local FSA office.
Ohio Dept. of Agriculture information
REYNOLDSBURG — The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is now accepting registration requests for the Ohio Sensitive Crop Registry (OSCR), a voluntary informational tool designed to provide stakeholders with an effective way to communicate and protect sensitive crops and apiaries.
Designed by staff in ODA’s Plant Health division, OSCR allows registered users to outline their sensitive locations on maps, allowing pesticide applicators to search the maps and locate these areas. The registry is for pesticide-sensitive crops, as well as organic crops and apiaries that meet the registration requirements.
“This is an exciting development for our state’s applicators and producers, as OSCR will help bring these parties together to more effectively communicate about their needs” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels. “Those working in agriculture are always on the cutting edge of innovative ways to implement new technology into their everyday practices and we feel OSCR is another great tool to be used by Ohio businesses.”
Users who wish to voluntarily submit their locations to the registry will need to create an account, as will those who want to search the registry. Potential users should note that there are registration eligibility guidelines such as a minimum acreage requirement. Pesticide applicators can also create an account and search the registry for sensitive locations around the areas they intend to spray. Maps of these areas, as well as lists of location and producer details, can be downloaded by applicators and used to plan spraying schedules and routes.
“We know the benefits a tool like this can bring to producers and applicators in the state, which is why our staff has worked hard to develop OSCR. The intricacies of the registry reflect that hard work,” said Matt Beal, Chief of ODA’s Division of Plant Health. “The intent of OSCR is to create an easy, accurate, and secure method for applicators to learn of sensitive locations, and to communicate with producers. We are very excited to launch this registry and see users start utilizing it in the days to come.”
The Ohio Sensitive Crop Registry can be accessed at http://www.agri.ohio.gov/scr/.
OSU Extension-Van Wert County
Join the Van Wert County Ohio State University Extension office Tuesday, February 25, for its annual Van Wert County Ag Day, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Guest speakers and subjects to be covered include Bruce Clevenger, OSU Defiance County Extension educator, “Computer Record Keeping: Is Quicken Training in your Future?”; Eric Romich, OSU field specialist, “Alternative Energy Production Down on the Farm: Solar Power”; Eric Richer, OSU Fulton County Extension educator, “Farm Business Transition to the Next Generation: Upcoming Event”; Jim Noel, NOAA service coordination hydrologist, “Weather Outlook for 2014 Growing Season”; Clifton Martin, OSU soybean disease researcher-OARDC, “Soybean Diseases: What’s Holding Your Production Back?”; and Curtis E. Young, OSU Van Wert County Extension educator, “Western Corn Rootworm Challenge to Rootworm Resistant Corn Hybrids.”
A very informative day with Continental Breakfast and Lunch, plus meeting materials for only $15 with pre-registration, $20 for walk-ins. Ag Day will be held in the Junior Fair Building on the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. Come early and browse sponsor booths. Door prizes will be offered at the end of the meeting at approximately 3:30 p.m.
Register by calling the OSU Extension Van Wert County office at 419.238.1214. Registration deadline is Friday, February 21.
OSU Extension-VW County information
Join the Ohio State University Extension-Van Wert County on Tuesday, February 25, for its annual Van Wert County Ag Day, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Guest speakers and subjects to be covered include Bruce Clevenger, OSU Defiance County Extension educator, “Computer Record Keeping: Is Quicken Training in your Future?”; Eric Romich, OSU field specialist, “Alternative Energy Production Down on the Farm: Solar Power”; Eric Richer, OSU Fulton County Extension educator, “Farm Business Transition to the Next Generation: Upcoming Event”; Jim Noel, NOAA service coordination hydrologist, “Weather Outlook for 2014 Growing Season”; Clifton Martin, OSU Soybean disease researcher-OARDC, “Soybean Diseases: What’s Holding Your Production Back?”; and Curtis E. Young, OSU Van Wert County Extension educator, “Western Corn Rootworm Challenge to Rootworm Resistant Corn Hybrids.”
A very informative day with continental breakfast and lunch, plus meeting materials for only $15, with pre-registration, and $20 for walk-ins.
Ag Day will be held in the Junior Fair Building on the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. Come early and browse sponsor booths. Door prizes to be offered at the end of the meeting at approximately 3:30 p.m. Register by calling the OSU Extension Van Wert County office at 419.238.1214. Registration deadline is Friday, February 21.
FINDLAY — Crop advisors in the Western Lake Erie Basin have an exciting opportunity to improve nutrient management and farmer productivity this season. This February 25-26, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Ohio State University Extension, in collaboration with IPM Institute of North America, will host a free training event for Certified Crop Advisors to become Technical Service Providers (TSPs) qualified to write Nutrient Management Plans.
With TSP certification in Nutrient Management Planning, growers and their advisors can take advantage of funding available through NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP provides financial assistance to growers to hire qualified professionals to create and implement approved plans addressing the 4Rs: Right fertilizer source, at the Right rate, at the Right time and in the Right place.
“There are not enough qualified TSPs to meet demand for nutrient management plans in Western Lake Erie Basin counties in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan,” reports Dr. Thomas Green, president of the Institute. “When nutrients are lost from cropland, farmers lose money and water quality can suffer. We want to help growers and their advisors gain access to NRCS programs to improve resource use efficiency and water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin.”
Registrants will receive TSP certification training from an NRCS representative on Tuesday, February 25, from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., with the option to participate in additional training for nutrient management plan writing on February 26 hosted by Greg LaBarge, extension educator with Ohio State University Extension.
The training will take place at the Findlay Conference Center, 200 E. Main Cross St. in Findlay. Attendees are responsible for arranging their own accommodations. Call 419.422.5682 or register online at http://www.findlayinn.com/.
The event is made possible with generous financial support from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Space is limited; register by February 19 to reserve a seat.
Ohio Dept. of Agriculture information
REYNOLDSBURG — Ohio Department of Agriculture has released grant applications for the 2014 Agricultural and Rural Community Outreach Program (ARCOP). The program, jointly administered by the Ohio FFA Foundation, Ohio FFA Association and the Ohio Department of Agriculture, helps local FFA chapters finance worthy community development projects.
Local FFA chapters can submit project proposals until March 15 to the Ohio FFA Foundation. A committee will then select projects to receive grant funds ranging from $750 to $2,500. Grant winners will be notified by April 1.
“FFA provides valuable, life-shaping experiences for our young people,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David T. Daniels. “The Ohio Department of Agriculture is proud to partner with Ohio FFA Foundation and Association for a second year to help students fund community projects that teach them the value of giving back to their communities while gaining experience as agricultural leaders.”
Last year, 13 local FFA chapters were awarded funding for projects in a variety of areas including agriculture and emergency safety training, agricultural science, animal welfare, and targeting hunger needs of school children and rural populations.
“With the success of the 2013 projects, Ohio FFA is looking forward to working with our partners to help fund another round of diverse, worthwhile community projects,” said FFA Foundation Director Melissa Bell.
One notable project from the Waterford FFA in Washington County created an “Agriculture is Science” Day. The goal of this program is to expand elementary students’ knowledge of science, enabling them to become more aware of its relationship with agriculture and natural resources. FFA members are in the process of developing 15 educational stations to be taught at a 4-H camp, Camp Hervidad, to 120 second- and third-grade students during a six-hour program. All stations are linked to Ohio Department of Education academic content standards, raising the academic relevance of the event.
The program is funded by a $38,000 grant provided by the Ohio Department of Agriculture through the Ohio Rural Rehabilitation fund. For more information on grant guidelines or to apply, visit http://ohioffa.org/foundation/foundation-news/.
Internal Revenue Service information
COLUMBUS — The Farmer’s Tax Guide is now available on the Internal Revenue Service’s IRS.gov website for use in preparing 2013 tax returns. This IRS publication applies to individuals who cultivate, operate, or manage a farm for profit. For tax purposes, a farm includes livestock, dairy, poultry, fish, fruit, and truck farms, as well as plantations, ranches, ranges, and orchards.
“Ohioans filed more than 72,000 farm tax returns for tax year 2011,” said Jennifer Jenkins, IRS spokesperson for Ohio. “The newly updated Farmer’s Tax Guide offers useful information for all Ohio farmers, whether they’re farm owners or tenant farmers. If you’re on the front end of putting food on our tables, this guide provides information you really need to know. It’ll help you figure your taxes and complete your tax return.”
The guide includes tax updates for 2013 and 2014, to help farmers plan ahead. It also covers recordkeeping and record retention requirements. Other topics include tracking farm income, expenses, employment taxes and sample tax returns.
“Some Ohio farmers may be eligible to take the new, simplified method for business use of home deduction,” Jenkins noted. “Also, farmers and ranchers in several Ohio counties may qualify for special drought-related tax relief.”
The tax relief applies to Ohio counties Brown, Butler, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Darke, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Highland, Jackson, Madison, Montgomery, Pickaway, Pike, Preble, Ross, Scioto, Vinton and Warren, which were listed by the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) as having suffered exceptional, extreme or severe drought conditions. Farmers and ranchers in counties contiguous to a county listed by the NDMC may also qualify for the drought-related tax relief. Details are available at IRS.gov.
Electronic filing, or e-filing, is an option for many farmers. “E-filing is the fast, easy and accurate way to send your tax return to the IRS, and it’s not just for individuals filing their returns,” Jenkins said. “Farmers and other business owners can check out their e-filing options on the IRS website.”
The Farmer’s Tax Guide, as well as other IRS forms and publications, can be accessed at IRS.gov or ordered by calling toll-free, 800.TAX.FORM. Telephone assistance is available by calling the IRS business and specialty line at 800.TAX.4933.
CONTINENTAL — Hybrid cars, iPads and drones are just a few technologies developed to revolutionize various industries. Ohio farmers have adopted the same approach to innovation in their fields with high oleic soybeans.
One example is Continental farmer Dan Heitzman. He planted this new type of soybeans this year to provide benefits to the food industry, as well as other soybean customers.
“It feels great to be on the cutting edge of innovation for the U.S. soybean industry,” said Heitzman. “We are promoting the use our soybean oil and developing new uses for it, as well.”
From restaurants to food manufacturers and grocery stores, soybean oil is the most commonly used vegetable oil in the United States. But, the oil from the Heitzman’s new soybeans will give those same restaurants and food manufacturers an improved oil with better functionality that avoids trans fats and contains less saturated fats. For the product to be available in local stores and appear on food labels, farmers like Heitzman need to take advantage of the opportunity to grow these cutting edge varieties.
“As farmers, it is our responsibility to grow a product that is better for end-users and for our neighbors,” said Heitzman.
Ohio is one of few states chosen to roll out this innovation, which comes with the same proven genetics and agronomic packages farmers have come to expect. Seed companies developed high oleic soybeans during the last decade to ensure they perform comparably with farmers’ on-farm averages. And, Heitzman is taking the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of this technology.
“These high oleic varieties perform comparably with my on-farm average,” said Heitzman. “They are also comparable with the pest and disease packages my other varieties come in.”
Growing a product with advantages for customers will grow demand for U.S. soybeans and increase farmers’ profit potential. High oleic soybean oil even has the potential to open up new industrial markets for farmers, with uses such as motor oils. Heitzman is growing a product that will meet customer needs and grow not only his business, but also the profitability of the entire industry.
“I like growing these new soybeans,” said Heitzman. “It’s good for me as a farmer and for the industry to open up new potential markets.”
It takes food companies two years to incorporate a new ingredient into their products, so consumers may not see the results right away. But, Ohio farmers can begin filling the demand now. Farmers who are interested in joining Heitzman in this innovation should contact their local seed or processor representative today to find out about marketing contracts suitable for their individual operations. Or, visit www.SoyInnovation.com for contact information for elevators and processors ready to collect and contract high oleic soybeans.
The 69 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy check-off to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage check-off funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy’s customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy check-off.
Farm Service Agency news
COLUMBUS — The USDA Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA), announced that 9,992.6 acres were accepted during the 45th Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up. Currently, Ohio has 317,363 CRP acres enrolled on 37,162 contracts.
Nationwide, USDA accepted enrollment of 1.7 million acres bringing the total program enrollment to 26.9 million acres.
For more than 27 years, CRP has protected natural resources in Ohio while providing economic and environmental benefits to rural communities throughout the state. The newly accepted CRP offers will continue the CRP legacy by improving water and air quality, increasing wildlife habitat and preventing soil erosion.
CRP is a voluntary program that allows eligible landowners to receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource-conserving covers on eligible farmland throughout the duration of their 10- to 15-year contracts. Accepted contracts will become effective October 1.
All CRP sign-up 45 offers were evaluated and ranked using the Environmental Benefits Index (EBI), which consists of the following five environmental factors, plus cost: wildlife enhancement, water quality, soil erosion, enduring benefits and air quality.
For more information about the Conservation Reserve Program, please contact a local FSA office or visit
Ohio Farm Service Agency news
Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting State Executive Director David Drake reminds foreign investors who buy, sell or hold a direct or indirect interest in U.S. agricultural land that they must report their holdings and transactions to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Failure to timely file an accurate report can result in a penalty with fines up to 25 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land. Non-U.S. citizens who are buying or selling land must report the transaction within 90 days of the date of the transaction.
Who Must Report:
- Individuals who are not U.S. citizens or citizens of the Northern Mariana Islands or the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands;
- Individuals who are not lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence or who are not paroled into the U.S. under the Immigration and Nationality Act;
- Any organization created under laws of a foreign government or which has located its principal place of business outside the U.S.;
- Any U.S. organization in which a significant interest or substantial control is directly or indirectly held by foreign individuals, organizations or governments
- Any foreign government
What to Report:
- Each tract of agricultural land in the U.S., its territories, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands owned by persons required to report
- Leaseholds of 10 years or more.
USDA designated the FSA to collect the AFIDA report forms. Individuals wanting to obtain an AFIDA report form (FSA-153) may do so from any FSA county office. The (FSA-153) is available in both English and Spanish translations. Those needing to report can also go online and download the form.
Although interested parties may obtain a report form from any FSA County office, the completed form must be returned to the FSA County office where the land or where the programs are administered.
Foreign investors should contact their local FSA if this pertains to them. To locate the Farm Service Agency county office, one can look in the telephone book white pages or go online to: www.fsa.usda.gov/oh and then click on the “County Offices” link. Then click on the county where the land is located.