Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $11.65 million in 14 projects to help agricultural producers and private landowners trap and control feral swine as part of the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program. This investment expands the pilot program to new projects in Alabama, Hawaii, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.
This pilot program is a joint effort between USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). This second round of funding is for partners to carry out activities as part of the identified pilot projects in select states.
“These awards enable landowners to address the threat that feral swine pose to natural resources and agriculture,” NRCS Acting Chief Kevin Norton said. “The projects we have identified will be key to addressing the feral swine problem.”
Similar to the first round, NRCS will provide funding to partners who will provide financial assistance, education, outreach and trapping assistance to participating landowners in pilot project areas. All partner work will be closely coordinated with the APHIS operations in the pilot project areas. Between the first and second round of funding, there will be a total of 34 active projects across 12 states for the life of the 2018 Farm Bill. Each project is unique, and additional information about the expectations for individual projects can be found at www.nrcs.usda.gov/FSCP.
These new pilot projects and areas were selected in coordination with NRCS state conservationists, APHIS state directors and state technical committees to address feral swine issues and damage in areas with high densities. Pilot projects consist broadly of three coordinated components: 1) feral swine removal by APHIS; 2) restoration efforts supported by NRCS; and 3) assistance to producers for feral swine control provided through partnership agreements with non-federal partners. Projects are planned to conclude at the end of September 2023.
All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including those that restrict in-person visits or require appointments. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with NRCS, Farm Service Agency or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are also required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Our program delivery staff will continue working with our producers by phone and email and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus .
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
|The missing Angora goats are worth more than $46,000.|
307 Angora goats taken from Crockett County, Texas, ranch
Ozona, Texas — Information about the theft of hundreds of goats just got a lot more valuable.
Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Ranger Marty Baker said rancher Ed Mayfield has added $5,000 of his own money to the $1,000 reward offered by the association. The reward will be paid to an individual or divided between individuals who provide information leading to the arrest or indictment of the responsible party.
Baker said all information is kept confidential, and tips may be provided anonymously by calling 817-916-1775. Anyone with information may alternately contact Special Ranger Marty Baker at 512-468-5552 or Special Ranger Howard Brittain at 325-340-2268.
The Angora goats, worth more than $46,000, were taken from the Mayfield Ranch, located 30 miles south of Ozona in Crockett County, sometime between April 7 and September 23. Baker said it is unknown if all 307 head were stolen at once or over time. The missing goats are branded with a “Z” on the right ear and had ear tags inscribed with the word “Mayfield” and a phone number. Their left ears are cropped, and most of the goats have tipped horns.
“Any theft, but especially one of this magnitude, can just be devastating to a rancher,” Baker said. “If you know something about this crime, please come forward so we can help him recover those animals.”
Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association’s special rangers are an elite group of law enforcement officers who have extensive knowledge of the cattle industry. While they primarily investigate cattle theft and other agricultural crimes, they are well-trained in all facets of law enforcement. In all, the association has 30 special rangers stationed throughout Texas and Oklahoma who are commissioned through the Texas Department of Public Safety or Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
The special rangers also oversee more than 80 market inspectors who collect data, such as brands and other identifying marks on about 5 million cattle sold at 100 Texas livestock markets each year. That information is entered into the association’s recording and retrieval system, which is a vital tool for law enforcement when investigating theft cases.
Friday, November 13, 2020
WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the signup periods for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the CRP Grasslands in 2021. Signup for general CRP will be open from Jan. 4, 2021, to Feb. 12, 2021, and signup for CRP Grasslands runs from March 15, 2021 to April 23, 2021. Both programs are competitive and provide annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.
“The Conservation Reserve Program and the many focused programs that come under it, like CRP Grasslands, are some of our most critical tools we have to help producers better manage their operations while conserving natural resources,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency. “As one of our nation’s largest conservation endeavors, CRP has proved to protect our valuable resources, and next year’s signup gives our farmers and ranchers an opportunity to enroll for the first time or continue their participation for another term.”
Through CRP, farmers and ranchers establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. Farmers and ranchers who participate in CRP help provide numerous benefits to the nation’s environment and economy. CRP general signup is held annually. The competitive general signup includes increased opportunities for enrollment of wildlife habitat through the State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) initiative.
CRP Grasslands helps landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland, pastureland, and certain other lands while maintaining the areas as grazing lands. Protecting grasslands contributes positively to the economy of many regions, provides biodiversity of plant and animal populations, and improves environmental quality. A separate CRP Grasslands signup is offered each year following general signup.
Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States. It was originally intended to primarily control soil erosion and potentially stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production. The program has evolved over the years, providing many conservation and economic benefits. The program marks its 35-year anniversary this December. Program successes include:
- Preventing more than 9 billion tons of soil from eroding, which is enough soil to fill 600 million dump trucks;
- Reducing nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to annually tilled cropland by 95 and 85 percent, respectively;
- Sequestering an annual average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases, equal to taking 9 million cars off the road;
- Creating more than 3 million acres of restored wetlands while protecting more than 175,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers, which is enough to go around the world seven times; and
- Benefiting bees and other pollinators and increasing populations of ducks, pheasants, turkey, bobwhite quail, prairie chickens, grasshopper sparrows and many other birds.
The successes of CRP contribute to USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda and its goal of reducing the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture by half by 2050. Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the department-wide initiative to align resources, programs and research to position American agriculture to better meet future global demands.
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