Agriculture Notes

AGRICULTURE NOTES

April 16, 2006

FSA announces program changes

The Farm Service Agency has announced key changes to programs authorized by the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 that call for changes to the milk income loss contract program, special marketing loan provisions for upland cotton, and the direct and counter-cyclical payment program.

The act extends the authority to issue milk income loss contract payments through Aug. 31, 2007, reduces payments from 45 percent to 34 percent of the difference between $16.94 per hundredweight and the monthly Boston Class I milk price, and eliminates provisions for transition period payments.

The act also repeals the authority to issue upland cotton user marketing certificate program (Step 2) payments to domestic users and exporters of upland cotton. The repeal takes effect Aug. 1.

The act amends the direct and counter-cyclical payment program by reducing the maximum advance direct payment percentage for the 2006 crop year from 50 percent to 40 percent, and for the 2007 crop year to 22 percent.

Information: fsa.usda.gov.

Grain board offers scholarships

Scholarships of $2,500 are available from the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board to college students interested in pursuing an agriculturally related career for the 2006-2007 academic year.

Applicants must be Maryland residents and enrolled or accepted to a four-year institution working toward a bachelor degree, or enrolled or accepted to a two-year college with an agricultural program.

Applicants or the applicants' immediate family must be involved in grain production.

Selection is based on the student's agricultural background, family farm involvement, financial need, grade point average, agricultural related studies, career goals and extra curricular activities.

Applications are available from the Maryland Grain Producers, 53 Slama Road, Edgewater 21037-1423. Deadline is June 1.

Information: 410-956-5771.

Agency seeks farms for recognition

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is recognizing farms in the state that have continually been operated by one family for more than 100 years.

The Maryland Century Farm Program is seeking applicants for 2006 recognition.

To be eligible, farms must have been in one family more than 100 years, actually be farmed by the applicant/descendant, must be at least 10 acres, and must gross more than $2,500 from the sale of farm products.

A Carroll County Century Farm Program has similar guidelines.

Information: 410-386-2760.

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