August Clinic Dates- Financial & Estate Planning, Beginning Farmer Programs, Debtor/Creditor Law, Water Rights and Much More…

Farmers and ranchers are invited to attend a FREE clinic.  The clinics are one-on-one, not group sessions, and are confidential.  The Farm Finance clinic gives you a chance to meet with an experienced Ag law attorney and Ag financial counselor.  These clinic staff specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters.  Here is an opportunity to obtain an experienced outside opinion on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.  Bring your questions!

August Clinic Dates and Locations:

North Platte – Thursday, August 10, 2017

Fairbury – Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Lexington – Thursday, August 17, 2017

Norfolk – Thursday, August 24, 2017

Valentine – Friday, September 1, 2017

To register for a FREE clinic or to receive more information about our services, call Michelle and the Rural Response Hotline: 1-800-464-0258.

These clinics are sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska.

Legal Aid of Nebraska      Farm mediation

Double Down on Local, Fresh Produce with the Double Up Food Bucks Program!

The Double Up Food Bucks program is part of a nation-wide initiative to help low-income people using the SNAP benefit to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

Anyone currently participating the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and holding an EBT card is automatically eligible for the Double Up program.

At a participating grocery store, whenever an eligible person purchases fresh produce, they will earn $1 in Double Up Food Bucks for every dollar spent, up to $20 per day.

At a participating farmer’s market, the eligible person simply swipes their EBT card at the manager’s booth for SNAP tokens, and will earn Double Up Food Bucks at the same time.

These four Lincoln locations are currently participating:
• Old Cheney Road Farmers Market, 55th and Old Cheney Road
• Fallbrook Farmers Market, 570 Fallbrook Blvd
• Community Crops Veggie Van, 2301 O St
• Leon’s Gourmet Grocer, 2200 Winthrop Rd

The current phase of this program will last until May 31, 2018.

 

For more information, please visit: http://food.unl.edu/DoubleUp or www.DoubleUpNebraska.org

USDA Allows for Emergency Grazing and Haying in Drought-stricken Areas

On July 20, 2017, the USDA authorized the use of additional Conservation Reserve Program lands for emergency haying and grazing in drought-stricken areas in Montana and the Dakotas that have reached D2, or severe drought level or greater on the U.S. Drought Monitor.

This also includes counties with any part of their border that is within 150 miles of authorized counties in the three states may also be eligible for emergency grazing. This includes areas in Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa.

All emergency grazing must end by September 30, while all emergency haying must end by August 31. Any landowners who are interested should contact their local Farm Service Agency office and meet their local Natural Resources Conservations Service staff to get a modified conservation plan in place.

 

For more information, please visit: www.fsa.usda.gov/emergency-hayandgraze

To view the press release, please visit: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/Nebraska/news-releases/2017/stnr_ne_20170720_rel_06

Have You Enrolled in ARC/PLC for 2017?

Today the Nebraska FSA Acting State Executive Director Mike Sander issued a statement reminding farmers and ranchers that the deadline for enrollment in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2017 crop year is August 1st, 2017

Agriculture Risk Coverage provides loss coverage at the county level when actual county crop revenue is less than the guarantee.

Price Loss Coverage provides coverage when the effective price of a crop is less than the respective reference price.

A wide range of crops may be covered under these programs, including: barley, corn, oats, rice, soybeans, and wheat.

If you have not yet enrolled, please call or visit your local FSA office. Find your local office at: https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app

 

For more information, please visit: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/arcplc_program/index

New 16-hour Certificate Offered by NCTA

The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture was recently approved for a new undergraduate certificate in agriculture. According to their June 30 press release, the certificate was created for “college students majoring in a non-agricultural disciplines, high school students seeking a dual credit program in agriculture, or working professionals wanting to upgrade their agricultural competence.”

The certificate is administered via online courses, as well as through dual-enrollment with local high schools.

For more information, please visit: http://ncta.unl.edu/news-releases/ncta-16-hour-ag-certificate-approved

Only a Few Days Left to Register for the Census of Agriculture 2017!

If you are a new farmer or rancher, or have not been contacted by National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), then you have until the end of June to register for the Census of Agriculture.

To qualify to be counted in the Census, you only need to have a place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products have been produced and sold, or would have been produced and sold under normal circumstances in a particular year (here 2017).

So, if you are a farmer or rancher, please make sure that you are counted for the Census!

At 177 years old, the Census of Agriculture tells the story of U.S. agriculture. It provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. The data are valuable to those who serve farmers and rural communities, including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, extension educators, researchers, even farmers and ranchers themselves. Census results help shape farm programs and boost services for communities and the industry. The Census of Agriculture is a farmer or rancher’s voice, future, and opportunity. For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call (800) 727-9540.

 

Source: https://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Newsroom/2017/06_22_2017.php

The Equal Justice Corps Heads to the Market!

The Equal Justice Corps is a joint venture between Legal Aid of Nebraska and Nebraskans for Civic Reform to provide college students with experiences in communities across Nebraska both promoting Legal Aid services and identifying the obstacles and challenges faced by communities in the state.

What follows is a guest post from an Equal Justice Corps member following a visit to a farmer’s market in Lincoln:

Here at Legal Aid of Nebraska it is our mission to make equal justice happen. While equal justice is unique to every individual, we aim to empower those in poverty and provide legal remedies to ensure that those low-income individuals maintain a sustainable lifestyle. One of the toughest hurdles to clear when overcoming poverty is access to healthy, reliable food sources. As defined by the United States Department of Agriculture, food deserts are parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. Frequent causes of food deserts are “a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.”

Despite being one of the United States’ leaders in agricultural production, there are large portions of Nebraska that lay within a food desert. Check out the USDA’s food desert tracker to see if you or anyone you know fall within one! Some of the more notable food deserts within the state fall in lower income neighborhoods of Lincoln and Omaha. In addition to the food shortages that occur within these neighborhoods, the food that is purchased is commonly cheap, and unhealthy. As a result, obesity rises and lifespan shortens. Therefore, in our effort to make equal justice happen, there are several ways to help remedy food deserts.

Our Equal Justice Corps has been travelling across the state attending farmers’ markets and other local events helping to spread the word about the threat of food deserts and other issues affecting low-income individuals. While attending farmers’ markets is not always possible, it is at farmers’ markets that low-income individuals can receive fresh produce and other goods, while at the same time supporting local farmers. At a recent stop at a local farmers’ market in Lincoln, our Equal Justice Corps counted over 150 stalls of locally made goods and products!

In addition to farmers’ markets, there are several other measures individuals and neighborhoods can take to combat food deserts.

  • Community Gardens are a great way to grow your own healthy, sustainable food sources. Get together with your neighbors and plant your own tomatoes, onions, basil, etc.! Not only is it a great way to help combat hunger and unhealthy foods, it is also a great way to establish relationships within your neighborhood and maintain a strong community!
  • Educating yourself, your children, your friends, and others within your community about healthy food choices is another way to make equal justice happen in regards to food deserts. If you and your community know what making healthy food choices look like, the incentive to shop in a healthy manner only rises. Host healthy dinner parties, share healthy recipes with your friends and neighbors, go to farmers’ markets with your family, and make healthy and reliable alternatives fun!
  • Speak to your local representatives about the threat of food deserts and how they affect you and your family. Let your voice be heard and make equal justice happen for you and your community!

 

If you have any questions about Legal Aid’s Farm and Food Project, please call (800) 742-7555.

New Funding to Help Deal With Erosion

New funding is available to help farmers control erosion from ephemeral gullies.

Recipients of USDA program benefits are required to control erosion on their lands that are determined to be highly erodible. Special funding from the Ephemeral Gully Control Initiative can help farmers fulfill that requirement.

With the adoption of modern equipment and herbicidal weed controls, grassed waterways have been on the decrease, which has led to an increase in erosion and ephemeral gully development. This increased erosion can negatively impact farmers by causing lower crop yields, but can also cause non-compliance with USDA requirements.

For more information, please visit NRCS in your local USDA Service Center and apply by July 21.

 

Source: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/ne/newsroom/releases/?cid=NRCSEPRD1334028

FSA Disaster and Loan Programs- Grand Island- FREE WORKSHOP

Date- Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Time- 10:00am- noon

Location– Hall County Extension Office, Grand Island

The workshop will cover Farm Service Agency livestock disaster programs, direct and guaranteed loan programs, and NextGen (Nebraska Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program). It is intended to be useful for established farm and ranch owners, their successors, and for beginners.

To register or for questions, call the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.
Topics include:
  • FSA livestock disaster programs
    • Livestock Forage Program (LFP)
    • Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)
    • Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP)
  • FSA loan programs
    • both direct and guaranteed operating and ownership loans including those programs targeted at beginning farmers and ranchers\
    • micro loan program
    • the recently expanded farm storage facility loan program
  • Will address some issues that arise under these programs when farm and ranches use limited liability entities as part of their business and/or succession planning
  • Benefits and requirements of NextGen (Nebraska Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program), including requirements for use by family members.
Presenters
  • Joe Hawbaker, Agricultural Law Attorney, Hawbaker Law Office, Omaha
  • Amy Swoboda, Food & Farm Attorney, Beginning Farmer Project, Legal Aid of Nebraska
These workshops are made possible through the Nebraska Network for Beginning Farmers & Ranchers and the Beginning Farmer Project of Legal Aid of Nebraska under an outreach grant from the Farm Service Agency, USDA.