Ag Chat with Scott Schultz - April 4

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)- Farmers Union, Holstein USA and NFO leaders and economists are proposing potential long-term plan proposals to curb milk overproduction, improve milk prices and provide long-term stability. The plans, part of the groups’ Dairy Together program, include the Dairy Price Stabilization Plan, which originally was proposed in the lead-up to the 2014 Farm Bill. Through the DPSP, farmers who choose to expand beyond an allowable market-demand growth rate must pay a market access fee. That fee would then be distributed among all the farmers who chose to not expand. Short-term relief plans include the Family Dairy Farm Relief Act, a voluntary program that would base emergency relief payments on different tiers that recognize variations in operating costs for different-sized farms. The plans are being proposed at a nation-wide series of Dairy Together meetings that included a session Tuesday in Eau Claire.

The National Corn Growers Association, in partnership with the Honey Bee Health Coalition, is releasing new best management practices to protect bees and other pollinators in and around corn fields. At roughly 92 million acres, field corn covers the most land of any row crop in the country. In the Midwest Corn Belt, corn often makes up to 40 percent of the landscape or more. National Corn Growers Association representatives said the BMPs presented in the association’s new guide identify and correct potential effects of agricultural practices on bees at each stage of production.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched two new features on farmers.gov designed to help customers manage their farm loans and navigate the application process for H-2A visas. The H-2A Visa Program – also known as the temporary agricultural workers program – helps American farmers fill employment gaps by hiring workers from other countries. The U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of State, and state workforce agencies each manage parts of the H-2A Visa Program independently, with separate websites and complex business applications.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture officials announced Tuesday the availability of Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for five western Iowa counties. Households that do not normally qualify for SNAP may be eligible for D-SNAP if they meet certain requirements. The USDA also is providing extended time for current SNAP recipients to seek replacement of food lost due to the disaster.