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Industry News — October 2020

AFBF Supports Wildfire Mitigation Efforts

wildfires

Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The American Farm Bureau Federation and 13 state Farm Bureaus have asked Congress to give federal land management agencies additional tools and resources to prevent and recover from catastrophic wildfires. The Farm Bureaus sent a letter to Senate leadership in support of the Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act of 2020.

The bipartisan legislation being considered will expedite forest management, accelerate post-fire restoration and reforestation, and remove dead and dangerous wood from national forests.

Currently, 6 million acres of forest land currently burning in the western United States. Since the beginning of 2020, wildfires have burned more than 3 million acres and destroyed 4,200 structures in California alone.

“Backlogs in adequate management coupled with drier, hotter conditions, have resulted in unhealthy, overly dense forests,” the letter states. “When fires inevitably occur, these conditions result in larger, more catastrophic fires that are difficult to control, destructive to both urban and rural communities and pose great threats to both private property and human life.”

While the legislation will help mitigate future fires, it will not address the immediate needs of farmers and ranchers suffering devastating losses from fires burning right now.

“The images of wildfires are heartbreaking when you watch a family’s livelihood disappear, but the damage continues long after the flames are put out,” says AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Smoke can damage soil and spoil crops, causing losses for several months after a disaster.

“In addition to better management of our forests, we need to be prepared to help farmers who have lost everything. We encourage Congress to consider additional disaster funding to meet the needs of communities affected by the wildfires.”

Among the 13 state Farm Bureaus that signed the letter are the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, California Farm Bureau Federation, and New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau.

Farm Manager Program Held As Zoom-Based Webinar

University of Tennessee Extension is offering a new educational program for farm managers. The Tennessee Master Farm Manager course will focus on solid business principles and efficiently using resources on the farm.

Zoom-based webinar sessions will be held on Tuesday nights for eight weeks starting Oct. 13, 7 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. Central). Registered participants will be emailed a Zoom link and instructions the day before each session.

The class will focus on farm financial management. Topics to be covered include understanding financial statements, business structure, lending, equipment purchasing, trade issues, recordkeeping, tax planning, lease agreements and farm transitioning.

Any agricultural producer, regardless of location, may register for the Tennessee Master Farm Manager webinar series. As an additional benefit, Tennessee producers who have previously qualified for 50% of the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program cost share, may use Master Farm Manager for recertification.

For more information and accessing the registration form, go online to MasterFarmManager.tennessee.edu or contact David Bilderback at 865-200-4545 or db@utk.edu.

The cost for the eight-week course is $100, and participants may register online or by mail. Mail-in registration ends Oct. 6.

2020 Cotton Advancement Scholarship Winners Named

Amvac Corp. has announced the winners of the second annual Cotton Industry Advancement Scholarship. Seven students were selected from 26 qualified applicants. Each scholarship recipient was awarded $2,000.

“Now in our second year, we’re thrilled to see new participants and excited to support these dedicated students as they pursue a career in agriculture and the cotton industry,” says Paul Vaculin, Amvac cotton marketing manager. “Cultivating the next generation of agricultural professionals is vital to the future of agriculture.”

These are the 2020 Cotton Industry Advancement scholarship winners:

• John Lee; Jesup, Georgia. Senior attending Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia. Majoring in agribusiness. Nominated by John Beasley.

• Caitlyn Lawton; Leesburg, Georgia. Senior attending Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia. Majoring in crop and soil science. Nominated by Kevin Cotton.

• Logan Vallee; Pineville, Louisiana. Junior attending McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Majoring in general agriculture. Nominated by Travis Vallee.

• Hayden Robinson; Monticello, Arkansas. Entering freshman attending University of Arkansas, Monticello. Majoring in agriculture business. Nominated by James Patterson.

• Blain Allen; Lolita, Texas. Entering freshmen attending Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Majoring in plant and soil science. Nominated by Dale Allen.

• Andrea Althoff; Stillwater, Oklahoma. Graduate student attending Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Obtaining a Master of Science degree in plant and soil science. Nominated by Dr. Seth Byrd.

• Colton Pricolo; Los Banos, California. Junior attending California State University, Fresno. Majoring in plant science, crop production management. Nominated by Wayne Pricolo.

Winners were selected by a panel of judges and awarded based on the merits of their application.

All applicants worked for a cotton consultant between 2018 and 2020. They also were required to be a senior in high school or currently enrolled full time in an undergrad or graduate-level agricultural program at an accredited college or university.

Applications for the next Cotton Industry Advancement Scholarship will open in January 2021.

Texas AgriLife Hires Disaster Assessment, Recovery Agent

Brandon Boughen, a native of McLoud, Oklahoma, has been hired by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service as a disaster assessment and recovery, or DAR, agent serving the Texas Panhandle. He is headquartered at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Amarillo.

“This DAR position seems like it was uniquely developed for me,” Boughen says. “I’m a wildland firefighter and also serve as a fire-line medic and a certified EMT, so disaster relief and assessment fits well in my wheelhouse and is something I enjoy doing.”

While working on his master’s degree, Boughen served as a teaching assistant for the department of biosystems and agricultural engineering at Oklahoma State University, where he supervised labs, taught lectures and assisted professors where needed.

Wildfires, tornadoes, droughts and blizzards will be the top disasters with economic impact that could occur in the Panhandle.

But Boughen is not limited to serving this region and could be called up along with other DAR agents to meet state and even national responsibilities as a member of the state disaster task force.

“Our job is to help with the assessment portion of disasters and work with various external and government agencies to assist with accessing disaster funding sources,” he says.

World Ag Expo Rescheduled For 2022

world ag expo

Attendees of the 2020 World Ag Expo walk one of the ‘streets’ that run through the event.

Organizers of the 2021 World Ag Expo in Tulare, California, have canceled the event, originally planned for Feb. 9-11, 2021, in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The event, which boasts 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space and more than 1,400 exhibitors, will return Feb. 8-10, 2022, to the International Agri-Center in Tulare.

“After working with the Tulare County Health Department and other officials, it has become evident that given health and safety restrictions from the state of California, holding a live, international event is not responsible in February,” Agri-Center CEO Jerry Sinift, said in a news release.

This will mark the first time in the event’s 52-year history that it will not be held. Attendees are encouraged to follow World Ag Expo social media channels for more information.

ELS Cotton Loan Forfeiture Charges And Procedures

The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association said that based on recent discussions with U.S. Department of Agriculture officials, there are important clarifications on the charges or fees a producer is responsible for when warehouse-stored Pima cotton is forfeited to USDA.

In general, the calculations on cotton forfeiture charges are the same for both Pima and upland cotton.

However, if Pima cotton is forfeited to USDA, the producer is only responsible for paying the difference in the cotton storage agreement rate for the warehouse and the USDA storage credit for the time the cotton is under loan. He does not pay the full storage costs for the time the cotton is under loan.

For anytime the cotton is not under loan, the producer is responsible for paying the full warehouse storage rate.