Dates of Importance
February 07, Cotton Focus, West TN Experiment Station, Jackson (Extension)
February 12, Gibson County producer meeting, Agriplex Trenton, Lunch served (Extension)
8:30, Production meeting
1:00, Dicamba certification
February 16, Final date to apply for EQIP. (NRCS)
February 19, Offices closed in observance of George Washington Birthday
March 8, Deadline to apply for CSP. (NRCS)
March 15, Deadline to timely enter into ARC/PLC annual crop program. (FSA)
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Gibson County U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that County Committee elections are over and the ballots have been counted.
Peyton Harper of Trenton was elected to represent Local Administrative Area (LAA) #1.
County committee members are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA. They help deliver programs at the county level and work to serve the needs of local producers. All recently elected county committee members will take office in January 2024 and will be joining the existing committee. Every FSA office is required to have a county committee, and they are made up of local farmers, ranchers and foresters who are elected by local producers.
Nearly 7,800 FSA county committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has 3 to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. Approximately one-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. County committee members impact the administration of FSA within a community by applying their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, emergency programs and eligibility.
County committee members impact producers through their decision making and help shape the culture of a local FSA office. They also ensure the fair and equitable administration of FSA farm programs in their counties and are accountable to the Secretary of Agriculture. Members conduct hearings and reviews as requested by the state committee, ensure underserved farmers, ranchers and foresters are fairly represented, make recommendations to the state committee on existing programs, monitor changes in farm programs and inform farmers of the purpose and provisions of FSA programs. They also assist with outreach and inform underserved producers such as beginning farmers, ranchers and foresters, about FSA opportunities.
For more information, visit the FSA website at fsa.usda.gov/elections or contact the Gibson County FSA office at 731-855-0023.
How much fuel can farmers save each year by transitioning from conventional tillage to continuous no-till? According to a new report from USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), 3.6 gallons per acre is a reasonable estimate. With current off-road diesel fuel prices, this could translate into approximately $17 per acre saved annually.
Nearly 87 percent of all cropland acres nationwide are farmed using some form of conservation tillage, where tillage is reduced for at least one crop within a given field. Continuous no-till accounts for 33 percent of this total.
Improving soil health is one known benefit of limiting disturbance. Farmers who minimize tillage across their operation may reduce soil erosion, maximize water infiltration, improve nutrient cycling, build organic matter, and strengthen resilience to disaster events or challenging growing conditions. Based on the latest data, they may also use significantly less fuel than with conventional tillage and reduce their associated carbon dioxide emissions.
According to CEAP, farmers who implement conservation tillage practices instead of continuous conventional tillage:
- Reduce potential nationwide fuel use by 763 million gallons of diesel equivalents each year, roughly the amount of energy used by 2.8 million households.
- Reduce potential associated emissions by 8.5 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents each year, equivalent to removing nearly 1.7 million gasoline-powered passenger vehicles from the road.
How is this possible? Annually, farmers who practice continuous no-till use approximately 3.6 fewer gallons of fuel per acre than if they practiced continuous conventional tillage. Farmers who practice seasonal no-till – farming without tilling for at least one crop – use approximately 3 fewer gallons of fuel per acre than they would with conventional tillage year-round.
Acre by acre, fuel saved is money saved. Let’s assume an average off-road diesel fuel price of $4.75 per gallon*. By transitioning from continuous conventional tillage to continuous no-till, a farmer can save just over $17 per acre each year in fuel costs. A farmer who transitions from continuous conventional tillage to seasonal no-till can save more than $14 per acre on fuel annually. These potential savings are significantly larger than with CEAP’s first fuel savings report, primarily due to the current price of diesel fuel.
The bottom line for farmers: Reducing tillage leads to fuel savings that deliver significant financial benefits while building healthier soils for a more resilient operation.
USDA Can Help
If you’re a farmer interested in reducing tillage or pursuing other conservation efforts across your operation, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can help.
- This blog offers five simple tips for farmers interested in trying no-till for the first time.
- This 90-second video provides a description of no-till and associated benefits according to a Delaware farmer.
- This 23-minute video follows five South Carolina farmers seeking to quantify the benefits of conservation practices that support soil health.
- This webpage details principles to improve soil health, including reduced tillage and complimentary conservation practices such as cover crops, crop rotations, and rotational grazing.
NRCS has local USDA Service Centers in nearly every county across the United States. You may find contact information for your nearest Service Center here. NRCS staff are available to provide free, one-on-one assistance with a suite of practices to strengthen your operation, conserve natural resources, and boost your bottom line. SMART nutrient management, for example, is important to consider with no-till and may help you save money on fertilizer while improving water quality – another win-win.
Visit the new NRCS website to learn more about conservation basics, getting assistance from NRCS, programs and initiatives, and resources to inform management decisions. Visit the new CEAP webpage for additional information about USDA’s efforts to quantify the effects of conservation practices across croplands and other working lands.
The Farm Loan team in Gibson County is already working on operating loans for spring 2024 and asks potential borrowers to submit their requests early so they can be timely processed. The farm loan team can help determine which loan programs are best for applicants.
FSA offers a wide range of low-interest loans that can meet the financial needs of any farm operation for just about any purpose. The traditional farm operating and farm ownership loans can help large and small farm operations take advantage of early purchasing discounts for spring inputs as well expenses throughout the year.
Microloans are a simplified loan program that will provide up to $50,000 for both Farm Ownership and Operating Microloans to eligible applicants. These loans, targeted for smaller and non-traditional operations, can be used for operating expenses, starting a new operation, purchasing equipment, and other needs associated with a farming operation. Loans to beginning farmers and members of underserved groups are a priority.
Other types of loans available include:
Marketing Assistance Loans allow producers to use eligible commodities as loan collateral and obtain a 9-month loan while the crop is in storage. These loans provide cash flow to the producer and allow them to market the crop when prices may be more advantageous.
Farm Storage Facility Loans can be used to build permanent structures used to store eligible commodities, for storage and handling trucks, or portable or permanent handling equipment. A variety of structures are eligible under this loan, including bunker silos, grain bins, hay storage structures, and refrigerated structures for vegetables and fruit. A producer may borrow up to $500,000 per loan.
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) participants are responsible for ensuring adequate, approved vegetative and practice cover is maintained to control erosion throughout the life of the contract after the practice has been established. Participants must also control undesirable vegetation, weeds (including noxious weeds), insects and rodents that may pose a threat to existing cover or adversely impact other landowners in the area.
All CRP maintenance activities, such as mowing, burning, disking and spraying, must be conducted outside the primary nesting or brood rearing season for wildlife, which for Tennessee is April 15 through July 01. However, spot treatment of the acreage may be allowed during the primary nesting or brood rearing season if, left untreated, the weeds, insects or undesirable species would adversely impact the approved cover. In this instance, spot treatment is limited to the affected areas in the field and requires County Committee approval prior to beginning the spot treatment. The County Committee will consult with NRCS to determine if such activities are needed to maintain the approved cover.
If you’re enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, you must protect all cropland and noncropland acres on the farm from wind and water erosion and noxious weeds. By signing ARC county or individual contracts and PLC contracts, you agree to effectively control noxious weeds on the farm according to sound agricultural practices. If you fail to take necessary actions to correct a maintenance problem on your farm that is enrolled in ARC or PLC, the County Committee may elect to terminate your contract for the program year.