KDA announces Riparian Quality Enhancement Initiative

MANHATTAN — The Kansas Department of Agriculture–Division of Conservation announces the Riparian Quality Enhancement Initiative (RQEI) to provide financial assistance for the enhancement of riparian areas.

This initiative will be made available to designated areas within the Delaware River, Stranger Creek, Little Arkansas River, and Rock Creek Watersheds. Riparian areas are the vegetation and habitats along rivers and streams.

This initiative will support practices that provide new alternative water sources, increase riparian fencing, and enhance the riparian area.

Projects will receive 80 percent cost share, with a limit that varies based on the type of project; funding will be through the Riparian and Wetland Protection Program.

The streams targeted for the initiative were selected because they were labeled as Total Maximum Daily Loading (TMDL) for E. coli or fecal coliform bacteria by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

All areas that are part of a producer’s grazing system are eligible for cost-share — pasture, range and cropland – so long as livestock have access to the riparian area for water or shelter.

Interested producers should consult with their Conservation District or the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to submit a project proposal. All applications for the RQEI will be due by Feb. 15, and successful applicants will be notified by March 15.

For a full list of practices that can be included in the RQEI initiative, a map of the targeted watersheds, and additional program guidance, along with a link to contact information for Kansas Conservation Districts, go to agriculture.ks.gov/Riparian.

USDA launches second round of Trade Mitigation payments

USDA launched the second and final round of trade mitigation payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations.

Producers of certain commodities will now be eligible to receive Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments for the second half of their 2018 production.

MFP provides payments to almond, cotton, corn, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, fresh sweet cherry, and wheat producers.

Producers need only sign-up once for the MFP to be eligible for the first and second payments. The MFP sign-up period runs through Jan. 15, with information and instructions provided at www.farmers.gov/mfp. Producers must apply by Jan. 15, but have until May 1 to certify their 2018 production.

Eligible producers should apply after harvest is complete, as payments will only be issued once production is reported.

For farmers who have already applied, completed harvest, and certified their 2018 production, a second payment will be issued on the remaining 50 percent of the producer’s total production, multiplied by the MFP rate for the specific commodity.

MFP payments are limited to a combined $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat capped per person or legal entity. MFP payments are also limited to a combined $125,000 for dairy and hog producers, and a combined $125,000 for fresh sweet cherry and almond producers.

Applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.

For more further information or to locate and contact local FSA offices, interested producers can visit www.farmers.gov.

Reinke recognizes Bullseye Irrigation with Silver Pride Award

Reinke has recognized Bullseye Irrigation in Inman with a Silver Reinke Pride award in recognition of the company’s marketing year success.

The dealership was honored during Reinke’s annual convention in Spokane, Wash.

Reinke dealerships from across the United States and Canada gather each year to attend the company’s sales convention, during which the company recognizes select dealerships for their hard work and dedication during the past year.

The Reinke Pride awards are determined as part of an incentive program that distinguishes superior achievement levels according to an evaluation based on a dealership’s exterior and interior housekeeping and maintenance, indoor and outdoor displays, safety, retail environment, merchandising, professionalism, promotions, event participation and market share.

USDA receives 136 "expressions of interest" in hosting ERS & NIFA

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture received 136 expressions of interest from parties in 35 states interested in becoming the new homes of the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

That included six proposals from Kansas.

In August, Perdue announced that most ERS and NIFA personnel would be moving to outside the National Capital Region by the end of 2019 and invited interested parties to submit proposals, with a deadline which had been extended to Oct. 15.

USDA intends to select the new location or locations by January 2019 and will retain a consultant with expertise in relocations.

It is possible that ERS and NIFA will be co-located when their new homes are found. A yet-to-be-determined amount of staff from the two agencies will remain in the National Capital Region.

USDA is undertaking the relocations for a variety of reasons, according to a USDA release.

The move will place important USDA resources closer to many stakeholders, most of whom live and work far from the Washington, D.C. area.

Additionally, taxpayers will realize significant savings on employment costs and rent, which will allow more employees to be retained in the long run, even in the face of tightening budgets. Finally, the plan will improve USDA’s ability to attract and retain highly qualified staff with training and interests in agriculture, many of whom come from land-grant universities.

Submissions from Kansas included: Wichita: The Greater Wichita Partnership; Salina, the Salina Community Economic Development Organization filed two applications. One independently and one in cooperation with the City of Salina, Saline County, the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, Salina Airport Authority and numerous private sector developers/realtors along with representatives from the Kansas State Polytechnic Campus, Kansas Wesleyan University and Salina Area Technical College;

Manhattan: Knowledge Based Economic Development, LLC/university and community economic development partnership;

Lawrence: Lawrence Chamber & Economic Development Corporation, the City of Lawrence, Douglas County, and the Bioscience & Technology Business Center (BTBC) have combined efforts with the University of Kansas and the KU Endowment Association; and

Greater Kansas City Region: The Kansas City Area Development Council.

States represented in the expressions of interest are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.