At 100 years of age, Annie Faye Woodson was still farming 1,000 acres of farmland.
The Farm Service Agency must report some sad news. We recently featured a story about 100-year-old but very active rancher Annie Faye Woodson. Annie died this week from a stroke. Her grandson notified our staff in Texas of her passing, saying how grateful he was that Cassie Bable, Texas Public Affairs Specialist, covered Annie’s wonderful life. He said it made his grandmother extremely happy.
Telling Annie Faye Woodson’s story made all of us at the Farm Service Agency extremely happy, too. She was an inspiration. We thank her for giving us hope that even at 100 our lives make a difference. Annie’s certainly did. May she rest in peace. Read the recently published story.
At 92, Malachi Duncan (center) is still farming in Union, S.C. Pictured with Duncan are Cinda DeHart, farm loan tech and John McComb, farm loan officer.
Malachi Duncan has farmed for six decades. Now, at age 92, he’s ready to do more.
“I was out on the tractor trying to locate a cow,” said Duncan, who farms 43-acres of his family’s land in Union, S.C. It’s the same land he used to plow with mules before planting cotton, peanuts and corn.
“Now that was hard with long hours” said Duncan. “We didn’t have any tractors back then, but we farmed to survive.” Continue reading
The wait is over. The 45th general sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program starts Monday, May 20 and will run through June 14. During that time, producers can sign up to receive cost-share assistance to plant long-term, resource-conserving covers and receive annual rental payment for the length of the contract, which is 10-15 years. For the past 27 years, CRP has become one of the largest conservation effort with 27 million acres enrolled in the program. Those acres have improved water and air quality, prevented soil erosion and increased populations of pheasants, quail, ducks and rare species like the sage grouse and lesser prairie chicken. Those interested should contact the FSA county office to sign up. Learn more or locate a county office.
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Tagged conservation, CRP, FSA
Falling commodity prices, higher interest rates and a possible drop in farmland prices have economist concerned that farmers are next in line to go into major debt, which will spin the agriculture industry off of its economic boom and into a bust, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The largest concern is the drop in commodity prices predicted for 2014 and 2015 along with an expected 25 percent decrease in farm income. Farmers using wealth instead of profits to finance agricultural investments could take on significant debt or risk bankruptcy. To add to the concern, falling land prices could increase debt for farmers as land is used for collateral for farm loans. Read more (CNBC).
Mamaw Bubbles visits the White County FSA Office in Illinois to encourage producer sign-up and bring laughter to the office.
A day off from work turns Renita Nelson into another person. Her alter ego, Mamaw Bubbles, dons a green wig, yellow shoes and a multi-colored dress. Holding a megaphone in her hand, she stands in front of the White County, Ill., Farm Service Agency reminding producers to sign-up for DCP or ACRE programs before the deadline. Some people may say she looks silly dressed up like a clown, but it brings smiles to faces and has increased producer sign-up by 15 percent. “Most adults enjoy a clown and being able to make others laugh is my goal,” said Nelson, a program technician with the White County, Ill., office. “If Mamaw Bubbles can help get our producers in to sign up for the program that is what she will do.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced several new initiatives this week to help organic producers. During a speech to the Organic Trade Association, Vilsack said federal crop insurance will increase coverage options for organic producers, including a contract price addendum and a new premium price election for organic crops. New guidance on organic production will be provided to all USDA agencies in order to address the needs of the organic sector in all programs and services. “These new options will extend the safety net provided by crop insurance and provide fair and flexible solutions to organic producers,” said Vilsack. Within the past 10 years, the U.S. has seen a 240 percent increase in organic farms and business. Learn more.
A little over three weeks remain for producers to sign up for the Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE). Changes to this year’s program allow producers to choose to enroll in either ACRE or the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payment Program (DCP). Originally, producers who signed up for ACRE could not move out of the program for at least five years. With the extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, those rules have changed, giving farmers an option to move out of ACRE into DCP or move from DCP into ACRE. Producers must contact their county office by June 3 to enroll in ACRE. The deadline to enroll in DCP is August 2. Read more about DCP and ACRE or contact a local county office to sign up.
Sick days costs the U.S. economy $84 billion a year, but a study conducted by Gallup and Healthways shows farmers aren’t to blame. On average, workers in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries miss one day every four months, ranking them second only to physicians. According to the study, farmers don’t take sick days because of the constant attention needed by their crops. Professions that take the most sick days include service workers, office workers, nurses and business owners. Read more (Drovers Cattle Network).
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