News Briefs

Farm Recovery Grant Approved

In 2018, Georgia agriculture suffered a $2.5-billion economic loss from Hurricane Michael. Since then, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and commodity commissions have worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reach an agreement on a disaster relief package. In November 2019, USDA allocated $347 million for Georgia farmers and landowners.

The GDA is now accepting applications for the block grant funds. Georgia farmers and forest landowners in 95 eligible counties who suffered losses to beef, dairy, fruit and vegetables, pecans, poultry, timber and uninsured infrastructure can enroll in the program at farmrecovery.com.

National Peanut Buying Points Association Executive Director Tyron Spearman says many buying points had infrastructure damage and should apply for assistance.

Applications must be submitted by April 8, 2020. For information and a guide to enrollment, visit www.farmrecovery.com.

Crop Insurance Increases Coverage

The peanut crop insurance program was recently changed to increase the maximum allowable contract price. If a grower has a contract, the crop can be insured at the contract-specified price up to 1.45 times the peanut type and location-specific projected price for conventional production or 2.5 to 3.5 times the projected price for certain organic types.

The final insurable value would be based on the percent of the grower’s approved yield that has been contracted. This option is available on all three individual insurance plans: yield protection, revenue protection and revenue protection with harvest price exclusion.

For producers who signed up for insurance using the contract-pricing option, you will need to submit a copy of your contract to your insurance agent by the acreage reporting date of July 15, 2020.

Toews To Head UGA Experiment Station

University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Entomology Professor Michael Toews has been named assistant dean and will oversee the Tifton Campus.

Toews succeeds Joe West, who retired Feb. 28 after a 34-year career with the college. The UGA Tifton Campus has 60 faculty and more than 400 staff supporting the college’s teaching, research and Extension programs. The Coastal Plain Experiment Station, the National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory and the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health are included as part of the campus.

Toews says, “I look forward to building on the tremendous balance, breadth and professional reputation that our faculty enjoys. One of my chief goals as the assistant dean will be to secure funding and resources that enable our campus to thrive for the next 100 years.”

Mark Your Calendar For APRES

The American Peanut Research and Education Society will meet at the Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas, in Dallas, Texas, on July 14-16, 2020, for the 52nd annual meeting.

Production, challenges and strategies is the meeting’s theme, and peanut research, observations, recommendations and the graduate student competition will be part of the program.

Members can register online for the discounted rate of $250 until June 15, 2020. Registration includes access to all general sessions, technical sessions, committee meetings and planned activities, such as the ice cream social and banquet.
For more information, visit https://apresinc.com.

Seed Update

Billy Skaggs of the Georgia Crop Improvement Association reported that certified peanut seed acreage declined in 2019 from 121,082 acres to 112,178 acres. A total of 53 certified buying points were inspected along with additional warehouse facilities. About 89% of the seed acreage is the variety Georgia-06G, followed by Georgia-09B, TUFRunner™ ‘297’, Georgia-16HO, Tifguard and TifNV-High O/L.

At the Tifton, Georgia, seed lab, 15 staff members are busy testing germination samples. Samples submitted in January were up 77% from last year. The average germination rate for Georgia-06G is 84.2%.

NPB Allocates $1.8M To Research

The National Peanut Board approved 64 state production research projects for a total of $1,825,758 in funding at a recent meeting.

“Today’s peanut farmers are more efficient, see higher yields and have a smaller footprint thanks to decades of high-quality production research,” says Dan Ward, research chairman and North Carolina member. “Our research dollars continue to give farmers the critical information that ensures peanuts remain competitive, now and into the future.”

In its 20-year history, the community of peanut farmers through NPB has invested $37 million in production research. This total includes NPB’s leverage of $871,500 with other industry partners and matching funds from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to yield over $2.5 million for production research.

Funding production research to increase efficiencies for America’s peanut farmers and their families is a core part of the board’s mission.

During the quarterly board meeting, NPB staff gave an update on the 2020 diversity plan. P.J. Haynie, chairman of the National Black Growers Council and a Virginia farmer, presented to the board, focusing on strategies to involve minority peanut farmers. Ebony Webber, executive director of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, provided an overview of the organization’s program for minority students.

PB& J Day At Georgia Capitol

“This is my favorite day of the year at the Capitol,” is a sentiment often heard on PB&J Day. To celebrate March is National Peanut Month, the Georgia Peanut Commission and Peanut Proud donated 14,400 jars of peanut butter to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Peanuts and peanut butter were promoted by industry partners who served more than 1,200 grilled and regular PB&Js, with country-fried peanuts, peanut candy and more. Gov. Brian Kemp presented a proclamation recognizing March as National Peanut Month, while Sen. John Wilkinson, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, and Rep. Tom McCall, chairman of the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, presented resolutions recognizing the peanut industry.

Sponsors and exhibitors included the Georgia Peanut Commission, National Peanut Buying Points Association, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Georgia Agribusiness Council, Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Federal State Inspection Service, Peanut Butter & Co., Peanut Proud, Premium Peanut, The Hershey Company and the University of Georgia peanut team.

On-Farm Conservation Proposals Sought

on-farm trialsThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting proposals through May 11, 2020, for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials, now in its second year. As part of the agency’s Conservation Innovation Grant program, the trials help support the adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural land.

“NRCS has achieved tremendous success seeking innovative technologies and approaches to enhance conservation for agricultural producers and forest landowners for nearly 20 years,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr says. “The 2018 Farm Bill enhanced the grant program to strengthen its demonstration component, allowing the agency to work with producers and partners to discover new conservation approaches and tools or enhance existing ones.”

NRCS will invest up to $25 million in the program in 2020. This total includes up to $10 million for the Soil Health Demonstration Trials priority.

The trial funding is designed to offer, through partners, technical and financial assistance to producers to help compensate for any risks associated with implementation of new conservation practices, systems and approaches. Proposals should address at least one of the following four priorities: irrigation management technologies; precision agriculture technologies and strategies; management technologies and strategies; and soil health demonstration trials.

For more information, visit the grants.gov funding opportunity for 2020 or visit NRCS’s OFT webpage.