The Nebraska FFA Foundation is now seeking applications for 2019-20 local chapter grants and storm relief fund grants.
The local chapter grant program, in its third year, supports Nebraska agricultural education classrooms, FFA programs and individual student entrepreneurship Supervised Agricultural Experiences. Funds are provided by supporters of the Nebraska FFA Foundation and its general fund.
This year, grant requests may be any amount up to $10,000 each. Applications are being accepted until June 30, 2019. Successful proposals from 2018-19 varied from greenhouse repairs to a CNC router to grow towers to animal learning lab.
To learn more, visit www.neffafoundation.org.
Nebraska farmers and ranchers impacted by the “Bomb Cyclone” and raging flood waters this spring are working hard on cleaning up and assessing the damages to their ag operations.
One of the more significant losses experienced by landowners has been the death of livestock. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has financial assistance available to help landowners cope with the aftermath of livestock losses.
Through NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program – commonly referred to as EQIP farmers and ranchers can apply for financial assistance to properly dispose of dead livestock. Applications are being accepted now through July 1. This is an extension of the original sign up periods announced immediately following the flooding/blizzard.
Producers who have not already disposed of livestock can apply for EQIP now. Producers can then get a waiver to allow them to begin working to dispose of deceased livestock before having an approved EQIP contract.
Producers in the area who suffered other damages due to the blizzard and flooding – such as damaged fencing, water sources, or windbreaks – may also seek assistance from NRCS through general EQIP funding. The sign-up period for general EQIP is continuous and has no cut off application date.
For more information about the programs and assistance available from NRCS, visit your local USDA Service Center or www.ne.nrcs.usda.gov.
The most common cause of agricultural-related death in Nebraska is overturned tractors and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Employing anyone uncertified under age 16 is a liability risk for farmers if those children operate such equipment.
Nebraska Extension’s Tractor Safety & Hazardous Occupations Courses take place at 12 Nebraska locations this year for teens 14 or 15 years of age who will work on a farm. Anyone older than 15 is also welcome to attend, but those under age 14 are not eligible to take the class. Extensive training on tractor and ATV safety occurs during in-class lessons with hands-on activities. Instilling an attitude of safety and a respect for agricultural equipment is the primary goal of the course.
The first day of classroom instruction includes hands-on demonstrations, concluding with a written test. Classroom instruction will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program. Students are required to pass the test before taking the driving test on day two. The second day will include a physical driving test with equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. To receive certification, students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course. In most locations, instructors will offer an ATV simulator experience to learn about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs and UTVs. Students will also complete homework assignments for the second day.
Instructors for the course include staff members of Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health: Aaron Yoder, PhD, Ellen Duysen, Daniel Kent, and UNMC student Jill Oatman.
All on-site classes begin at 8:00 A.M. and end times will vary, depending on the number of participants. Training site locations, Site Coordinator contact numbers, and dates of training includes:
July 1 & 2 – Fairgrounds, Weeping Water – (402) 267-2205
Cost of the course is $60, which includes educational materials, instruction, supplies, and lunches.
To register, print and complete a registration form and submit with payment to the appropriate Site Coordinator at least one week before the course (call the specific location number listed above for mailing address and instructions).
Farmers and ranchers interested in improving wildlife habitat on their operations are encouraged to apply now for funding available from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Those interested in receiving funding should apply by July 5, 2019.
Funding is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP has designated funding specifically for wildlife habit improvement through the Wildlife Initiative Nebraska. Funding can be used to plant native grass species, control brush on rangeland, conduct prescribed burns to improve grassland and much more.
EQIP is one of the most widely applied conservation programs in Nebraska. Through this program, conservation practices were installed on over 475,000 acres in Nebraska during 2018 with over 900,000 acres currently under contract statewide.
The goal of EQIP is to provide a financial incentive to encourage landowners to install conservation practices that protect natural resources, resulting in cleaner air and water, healthy soil and more wildlife habitat.
Individuals interested in entering into an EQIP agreement may apply at any time, but the application cut-off to be considered for funding through the Wildlife Initiative Nebraska will be July 5, 2019. The first step is to visit your local NRCS field office and complete an application.
For more information about the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and other conservation programs, visit your local NRCS field office or www.ne.nrcs.usda.gov.