Details on trade aid on the way

Two months ago the USDA announced a second round of trade aid totaling $16 billion. Details on the program are on the way soon, the federal agency now says. That information was withheld to avoid influencing planting decisions, particularly given catastrophic flooding in the Midwest which delayed or prevented the planting of many acres.

Most of the trade aid — $14.5 billion — is headed to producer, but there’s also $100 million for developing overseas markets and $1.4 billion for purchasing surplus commodities.

The direct payments will be based on county data, rather than individual commodities. All farmers who qualify will get at least $15 an acre in these direct subsidies. There will be up to three rounds of funding — but only if the latter two rounds are deemed necessary.

Perdue was asked to consider including prevented planting acres. He rejected that, but has said that cover crops grown on prevented planting acres will qualify.

Funding for trade aid will be coming from the Commodity Credit Corporation. President Donald Trump had earlier suggested it would come from tariff revenue.

Meanwhile, $3 billion has been set aside in the $19.1 billion disaster aid bill for various agriculture-related losses, including flooding in the midwest. That is being launched next month, and is expected to open for enrollment by late August or early September.

All told, that brings the total federal aid to agriculture since 2018 to $33 billion.

Water, oil tour set for Aug. 7

Learn more about how the Western Area Water Supply was established to support both water for the oil and gas industry and provide quality water to rural residents and communities at this year’s annual Water & Oil Development tour.

This year’s annual tour will begin and end in Williston on Wednesday, Aug. 7. The fee for the tour is $20 per person, which includes transportation, informational materials, meals, refreshments, and a one-year subscription to the North Dakota Water magazine.

For details or to register for the tour, visit www.ndwater.org, or contact the North Dakota Water Education Foundation at 701-223-8332, or jellingson@ndwater.net.

The Western Area Water Supply serves 60,000 people over five counties covering 5,000 square miles. Tour participants will learn how WAWS treats and delivers that water, as well as more about the entire oil development process, including a visit to a drilling rig used for training.

USDA releases new farm loan tool

Farmers seeking loans to buy land or finance their operations have a new tool they can use to connect with the loan that’s right for them. The new tool is on farmers.gov, a self-service website the agency has developed online to assist farmers and ranchers.

The new tool includes a simple questionnaire to guide producers to the types of loans most likely to suit their needs, after which they can download guides applicable to those loans. To get to the tool, visit farmers.gov/fund and then click the start button.

From there, follow the prompts, and the tool will do the rest. The tool is compatible with web browsers like Chrome, Edge, and Safari, and is compatible with mobile devices. It does not work on Internet Explorer.

The tool is one in a series being developed by USDA to help farmers better access information and assistance through the Farm Service Agency. Earlier this year, the USDA launched the My Financial Information feature, which allows producers to view loan information, history, payments and alerts by logging into the website.

More features are being developed for the website, including online loan submittal.

Nominations for county committees are being taken through Aug. 1

Decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally are made with the help of input by county committees. Their input is vital to how FSA carries out disaster aid programs, as well as conservation, commodity, and price support programs, county office employment, and many other agricultural issues.

Each committee is composed of between three to 11 members which typically meet once a month and serve three-year terms. To serve on a committee, producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program.

Individuals may nominate themselves or others as a candidate. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women, Native American Tribes, and other minority producers, may also nominate candidates.

To be considered, producers must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. More information about the form and about county committees is available online at fsa.usda.gov/elections, or at any FSA office.

All nominations must be postmarked or received in their local FSA office by Aug. 1. Election ballots will be mailed out Nov. 4.

Leopold tour set for Aug. 8

The Sarah and Jeremy Wilson farm, which was the 2018 Leopold Conservation Award recipient, will be featured during the annual Leopold Conservation award Tour from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at the Wilson farm near Jamestown.

To RSVP for the tour, visit https://2019leopoldtour.eventbrite.com. The deadline to RSVP is Wednesday, July 31.

Topics for the event include cover crops, no-till land practices, nutrient and pest management, diverse cropping system and community outreach.

The Wilsons use no-till practices and technology to maximize production and increase the sustainability of their operation. Their innovations have led other producers to adopt soil health management systems. The Wilsons have even constructed a room in their home with audio and video equipment to share their expertise with farmers and the public.

The North Dakota Leopold Conservation Award honors North Dakota landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources, and is presented by the Sand County Foundation, in partnership with the North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition, North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts and North Dakota Stockmen’s Association.

Lonesome Creek response period open

The Department of Environmental Quality plans to reissue a North Dakota Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Discharge Permit to the Lonesome Creek Station located in McKenzie County in Township 150 North, Range 101 West, Section 23.

Discharges include runoff and cooling tower blowdown that is discharged to an unnamed tributary of Lonesome Creek.

Copies of the application, draft permit, and related documents are available for review. Comments or requests may be directed to the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality, 918, E. Divide Avenue, Bismarck ND 58501-1947 or by calling 701-328-5210.

Comments must be received by Aug. 25, 2019 to be considered prior to finalizing the permit. If there is significant public interest, a public hearing will be scheduled. Otherwise, the final permit will be issued within 60 days of the July 24 notice date.

Producers urged to comment on Hours of Service regulations

The U.S. Department of Transportation is looking at revisions to agricultural commodity and livestock definitions that pertain to its hours-of-service regulations. Now is the time to comment on these definitions, to get better flexibility in the rules for transportation of agricultural livestock, including livestock.

Comments on the notice must be received within 60 days of the federal register notice, which was posted July 22. There are several ways to provide comments:

• The federal eRulemaking Portal is at http://www.regulations.gov.

• Mail to Docket Management Facility, U.s. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington D.C.

• Fax to Mr. Brian Dahlin Chief, Regulatory Evaluation Division, at 202-493-2251.

• Hand delivery or courier to U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room w12-140, Washington DC 20590 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, excluding federal holidays.

Only one method should be used. The docket number of the notice, which is FMCSA-2018-0348, should also be included with the comments, as well as the specific section of the notice that your comment applies to, and a reason for each suggestion or recommendation.

Your name, address, email address or a phone number should also be included, so the agency can contact you if it has questions about your submission.

Report on Dicamba damage

While the state has not had any Dicamba-related complaints this year, damage from in-crop use of the herbicide on soybeans is nonetheless being collected to compare with previous years to look for trends and determine if existing regulations are working.

The survey is online at www.nd.gov/ndda/dicamba-survey.

Those with damages should follow up with the chemical representative for the product that was used, if it is known.

Information gathered on the survey is anonymous and will not be used for pesticide enforcement against applicators. No penalties will be issued based on the survey. Those wishing to file a formal pesticide complaint should instead goto www.nd.gov/ndda/complaint.

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