Blount County Farmer Wins Senate Race
|Third-generation poultry farmer Clay Scofield of Blount County won the District 9 Senate race Tuesday night. Scofield, a Republican, is the former chairman of the Blount County Young Farmers Committee and is a member of the A.L.F.A. Leaders Class. He was joined on election night by several area farmers to watch the election returns. From left are, Marshall County Farmers Federation Board Member Corey Hill, Blount County Young Farmer Member Kirk Smith, Blount County Farmers Federation Member Tim Whitley, Senator-elect Clay Scofield, Blount County Farmers Federation Board Member Dennis Maze and Marshall County Farmers Federation Board Member Dan Smalley.|
Disaster aid available for some 2009 crops
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that up to $550 million in disaster assistance will be issued to producers of rice, upland cotton, soybeans and sweet potatoes that suffered losses because of excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009. This assistance will be issued by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) through the Crop Assistance Program (CAP).
Producers may apply for CAP for the eligible crops on their farms at their administrative FSA County Office through close of business Dec. 9.
"Producers of these crops suffered quality and quantity losses caused by excess moisture in 2009," said Daniel Robinson, state executive director of USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Alabama. "They continue to feel the effects of those crop losses and this program will provide timely assistance."
A list of eligible disaster counties for CAP is located at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
Producers of eligible crops on farms in disaster counties who certify to a 5 percent or greater crop loss in 2009 due to excessive moisture or related conditions will receive a payment based on a predetermined payment rate times the planted acres of the crop. Per acre payment rates will be prorated by FSA in order to keep payments within available funds for the program. Producers will initially receive 75 percent of their CAP payment and once sign-up is complete, they will receive up to an additional 25 percent.
The predetermined payment rates for the eligible crops are: Long grain rice - $31.93 per acre; medium or short grain rice - $52.46 per acre; upland cotton - $17.70 per acre; soybeans - $15.62 per acre; and sweet potatoes - $155.41 per acre.
The general eligibility provisions, payment limits and adjusted gross income limits that apply to FSA programs apply to CAP. No persons or legal entity (excluding a joint venture or general partnership), may receive, directly or indirectly, more than $100,000 in CAP benefits. Additionally, CAP payments will be treated as 2009 revenue under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program.
CAP is funded through Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which allows the Secretary to use funds to reestablish the purchasing power of farmers, ranchers and producers.
For additional background on CAP or any disaster assistance programs, go to http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov or visit a local FSA county office.
Republicans take control of Alabama House and Senate
Candidates endorsed by the Alabama Farmers Federation fared well in Tuesday's elections that saw Republicans take control of the Alabama House and Senate.
|Alabama Farmers Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan, left, and Federation Commodity Director Steve Guy, right, congratulate John McMillan Tuesday night following his win as Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries.|
The Federation gave a huge boost to Republican efforts this year with nine early endorsements of Republicans in Democratic House seats, eight of which were elected. Those elected were Ed Henry, Richard Baughn, Kerry Rich, Mark M. Tuggle, Wes Long, Terri Collins, Lynn Greer and Bill Roberts, while Jody Singleton fell just short. However, the Federation also knocked on hundreds of doors for conservative Democrat Steve Hurst, who went against the tide to hold his seat in a hard-fought race.
The Federation surprised many by endorsing Kay Ivey over Jim Folsom Jr. Ivey rallied from a deficit in the closing weeks to win a narrow election.
The Federation focused senate resources on five key races this year, winning four. Clay Scofield and Greg Reed won very tight battles in the primary, as did Tom Whatley and Paul Sanford. The one loss of the five targeted races was Tom Butler, who was defeated by Bill Holtzclaw. Scofield, Reed, Whatley and Sanford helped Republicans take the Senate by a 22-13 margin.
Nationally, Republicans won the majority in the U.S. House, which places several Alabama congressmen in line for key committee assignments.
A new farm bill will be written by new agriculture committee members who will be part of the 112th Congress. American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman said the organization will work with committee members to help them understand the role of farm programs and develop a bill that provides an effective and responsive safety net for producers across the country.
Stallman said AFBF also will work closely with congressional members on tax issues, such as the estate tax and capital gains tax, and will work for common-sense solutions on environmental issues, like the Clean Water Act and greenhouse gas regulations.
Stallman said AFBF also will work with Congress to change trade opportunities by seeking passage of stalled free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea.
|Lance Hunter of Tallassee, right, was the winner of a Jack Deloney print given away as part of a membership promotion at the Alabama State Fair in Montgomery recently. New members who joined during the fair were eligible for the prize. Alabama Farmers Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan, left, presented Hunter with the signed, numbered print, "Harvest at Home."|
Allen appointed to Forever Wild Board
Choctaw County Farmers Federation President Leo Allen has been appointed as a member of the Forever Wild Land Trust Board of Trustees.
The appointment was made by outgoing Alabama Speaker of the House of Representatives Seth Hammett, D-Andalusia.
Allen will represent the southern district for the board and will serve a six-year term.
The Forever Wild Program was established in 1992 by constitutional amendment to provide for the purchase of public recreational lands. The program has purchased lands for general recreation, nature preserves, additions to Wildlife Management Areas and state parks. Currently, the board is focusing on acquisitions in central Alabama. Eighty-one (81) tracts totaling 221,817 acres located throughout the state have been acquired through the program.
AFBF annual meeting to focus on environment, farm bill, social media
Topics ranging from environmental policy and food safety to the 2012 farm bill and use of social media by farmers and ranchers highlight a slate of conferences during the American Farm Bureau Federation's 92nd annual meeting, Jan. 9-12, in Atlanta, Ga.
"Successful farming and ranching in the 21st century involves managing a vast amount of knowledge and information on a day-to-day basis," said AFBF President Bob Stallman. "By attending AFBF's annual meeting in Atlanta in January, Farm Bureau members can cut through the clutter and return home with a better understanding of how all the various issues impact their lives and livelihoods."
Bryan Shaw, chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, is among the speakers. He is an expert on air quality and a leader in challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to impose federal mandates on states.
Sharing the podium with Shaw will be Charles Bronson, Florida's 10th agriculture commissioner, who serves as head of the nation's largest agriculture department.
More than 5,000 Farm Bureau members are expected to attend AFBF's annual meeting. Members can register for the meeting through their state Farm Bureaus.
Rep. Lindsey honored with FFA degree
Alabama State Rep. Richard Lindsey of Centre was presented an Honorary American FFA Degree at the National FFA Organization's 83rd annual convention. The convention was held Oct. 20-23 in Indianapolis, Ind.
|Rep. Richard Lindsey, right, receives the Honorary American FFA Degree from Alexandria Henry, vice-president of the FFA's Eastern Region.|
"This is truly an honor for me," said Lindsey. "As one who treasures agriculture and those Alabamians who make farming their livelihood, to be honored by this young group of men and women is very humbling. The familiar blue corduroy jackets worn by FFA members is a mark of greatness in character and leadership in both their personal lives and their careers."
Honorary American Degrees are awarded to teachers, superintendents, partners and others to recognize their support of agriscience education programs and the National FFA Organization. The National FFA Board of Directors must approve nominations for the Honorary American FFA Degree.
Also attending from the Alabama Farmers Federation were Executive Director Paul Pinyan and Young Farmers Director Brandon Moore.
Lindsey was first elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1983 and has served as chairman of the powerful Education Finance and Appropriations Committee since 2001. He is manager of Lindsey Brothers Inc., and is a member of the Cherokee County Farmers Federation Board of Directors.
Resistant horseweed, pigweed conference to be held Dec. 2
A conference on Fighting Roundup Resistant Horseweed and Palmer Pigweed will be held in the Aerospace Building at Calhoun Community College in Decatur, Dec. 2.
The conference begins with registration and exhibit area opening at 8:30 a.m. with the program beginning at 9:30 a.m. The conference includes lunch and will adjourn at 2:30 p.m.
This meeting is approved for pesticide certification and certified crop advisor points. The exhibit area will be open after the conference.
This conference addresses the increasing spread of ROUNDUP Resistant Horseweed and Palmer Pigweed in Northern Alabama in 2010.
During the one-day conference, producers will learn how weed resistance occurs and spreads and how it can be managed.
First-hand experience on control of these resistant weeds will be presented by researchers, consultants and farmers who have battled the pesky weeds in Alabama and Tennessee.
The exhibit area will include chemical, seed and manufacturing representatives presenting the latest information on products and technologies that can be used to control resistant weeds.
Participating partners for this event include Auburn University, University of Tennessee, Alabama Natural Resource Conservation Service, Alabama Department of Agriculture, USDA-ARS and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Stations.
The conference is free and open to everyone. More information is available at the following Web sites: www.alabamacrops.com or www.alabamaprecisionagonline.com. Contact Charlie Burmester at (256) 353-8702, ext. 14 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claims for fall storms may exceed $8 million
Storms that swept through north Alabama Oct. 24-26 caused wind damage in several areas from Jasper to Fort Payne.
The majority of losses reported by Alfa policyholders were wind related, according to Alfa Senior Vice President of Claims Jerry Johnson. However, some hail damage was reported in rural Marengo County and rural Walker County, he said.
The storms generated about 1,400 claims that are expected to top $8 million.
Cahaba Wildlife refuge expansion stalls
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has announced a six-month delay in its proposal to vastly expand the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge.
FWS sought to expand the Cahaba River Wildlife Refuge from 3,600 acres to 106,415 acres. The service also wanted to establish an additional 173,380-acre conservation area adjacent to the refuge by purchasing conservation easements and leases.
Those plans met staunch opposition from area landowners who told FWS officials there was no proof that such an expansion was needed nor was there proof that private landowners were not already taking steps to protect the refuge area.
Opponents said they felt blind sided by the plan's scope, fearing it amounted to a federal land grab that would hinder private property rights and stifle forestry and mining.
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby described the proposal as an "egregious and unjustified overreach by the federal government" and said the "scope and enormity of the proposed acquisition is not only disproportionate, but also lacking any legitimate justification."
Sen. Shelby also said, as a senior member of a committee that controls federal spending, that he would oppose any government money going to buy land in the expanded boundaries.
FWS previously had extended the public comment period on the proposed expansion until Dec. 6.
Sen. Shelby said he hopes the delay turns into a reversal.
"I wholeheartedly oppose the expansion and think this proposal should be dropped altogether," Shelby told the Birmingham News. "I hope the six-month re-evaluation will show Fish and Wildlife Service the error of their ways and they will completely abandon this proposal."