Curtis campus, community pitch in for disaster relief

CURTIS, Neb. – Disaster relief for Nebraska farmers and ranchers continues to roll onto the campus of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.

Baled hay, livestock feed and fencing supplies are being collected at the NCTA for distribution to livestock operations affected by the March 13-15 blizzard and catastrophic flooding.

A pasta benefit hosted by Aggie students, faculty and staff, generated more than $4,100. All donations will be sent to disaster funds established by the Nebraska Cattlemen and Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.

When the call for help went out to assist rural Nebraskans, particularly livestock producers and farm families with critical needs to feed and care for animals, the college organized the NCTA Nebraska Disaster Relief efforts.

Faculty and staff spearheaded donations and preparation of main course items of pasta, sauces, and vegetables while students made desserts. All Aggies pitched in for set-up, serving, and clean-up for the dinner which was hosted at the Curtis Community Center.

Additionally, NCTA is a collection point for deliveries of hay, feedstuffs and fencing supplies. Plains Equipment Group of North Platte assisted in donating 50 hours of use on a tractor and front-end loader which they have delivered to campus.

To make donations or receive feed or supplies, contact 308-367-5200 or 402-741-0833.

FSA opens emergency grazing on CRP statewide

Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has opened the temporary use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for emergency livestock grazing.

The emergency grazing authorization is effective immediately and ends April 30. The authorization was granted to address the impacts of the recent extreme weather, including flooding, snowmelt and mud. CRP contract holders who are interested in utilizing this emergency grazing authorization must contact their county FSA office to complete required paperwork before allowing grazing to begin. The authorization is for grazing on specific CRP practices and is allowed for the entire state.

CRP participants who utilize this option will need to obtain a modified conservation plan, which includes emergency grazing provisions, from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). CRP participants can allow others to use their CRP acres under this emergency grazing authorization, however the livestock owners also will need to complete FSA paperwork indicating their grazing land was adversely impacted by severe weather. There will be no reduction in CRP rental payments to CRP contract holders who utilize this emergency grazing authorization. CRP contract holders are not permitted to charge livestock producers for the emergency grazing option.

CRP acres eligible for emergency grazing under this authorization include practices: CP1, CP2, CP4B, CP4D, CP8A, CP10, CP15A, CP18B, CP18C, CP21, CP33 and CP38.

For more information on this grazing authorization, contact your county FSA office. For more information on other resources that could be available to assist with extreme weather impacts, please visit www.farmers.gov and click on “Recover.” Information also is posted on the Nebraska FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/ne under the Spotlights section.

FSA authorizes Emergency Conservation Program

Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has authorized 45 Nebraska counties to begin accepting applications for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) to address damages from the recent flooding. ECP enrollment deadlines will vary by county as each timeframe is set by the FSA county committee. More information on ECP enrollment deadlines will be provided by FSA county offices.

The approved ECP practices under this authorization include debris removal; fencing replacement and repair; grading, shaping and leveling of impacted fields; conservation structure rehabilitation; and shelterbelt rehabilitation. Counties approved to begin accepting applications include: Antelope, Boone, Boyd, Buffalo, Butler, Brown, Burt, Cass, Cedar, Colfax, Cuming, Custer, Dakota, Dixon, Dodge, Douglas, Franklin, Garfield, Greeley, Hall, Harlan, Holt, Howard, Keya Paha, Knox, Loup, Madison, Merrick, Nance, Nemaha, Otoe, Pierce, Platte, Polk, Richardson, Rock, Sarpy, Saunders, Sherman, Stanton, Thurston, Valley, Washington, Wayne and Wheeler.

ECP assists producers with the recovery cost to restore agricultural land to pre-disaster conditions. Approved ECP applicants may receive up to 75 percent of the cost of approved restoration activity.

Producers with damage must apply for assistance prior to beginning reconstructive work in order to qualify for cost-share resources. This allows FSA offices to assess the need for on-site inspection and environmental compliance requirements, taking into consideration the type and extent of the damage.

The use of ECP funds is limited to activities to return the land to the relative pre-disaster condition. Conservation concerns that were present on the land prior to the disaster are not eligible for ECP assistance.

For more information on ECP, contact the local county FSA office. For more information on other resources that could be available to assist with extreme weather impacts, please visit www.farmers.gov and click on “Recover.” Information also is posted on the Nebraska FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/ne under the Spotlights section.

Briefly . . .

 H&S Manufacturing of Marshfield, Wis., recently helped out with the hay relief efforts by donating a load of hay headed to Nebraska. White Lightning Trucking from Marathon, Wis., donated the truck.