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AGRICULTURE NEWS BRIEFS

Staff Report

REAP Energy Grant Workshop

USDA Rural Development will hold an energy grant workshop in Fallon on Tuesday from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Fallon Agricultural Center, located at 111 Sheckler Road.

Energy Coordinator Mark Williams will provide a brief overview of the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), a USDA grant and loan program that can pay up to 25 percent of the project costs to build a renewable energy system or improve energy efficiency. Small rural businesses, farmers and ranchers are eligible to apply. The public is welcome to attend.

The systems the grant can fund are either for renewable energy systems, like solar, hydro and wind power, or for systems that increase energy efficiency—such as variable speed drives for well pumps or new energy efficient lighting, heating or air conditioning systems.

For information, contact Mark Williams at 775-887-1222 Ext. 116.

WNC FALLON SPECIALTY CROP WORKSHOP

Western Nevada College, Specialty Crops Institute presents Beyond CSA, Online Marketing & Sales on March 7 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Fallon campus.

CSAs, also known as community supported agriculture, have long been a favorite direct marketing tool for family farms. CSAs had their beginnings in the 1980s with farmers selling “shares” to community members. Today’s consumers want choice and flexibility. Learn how to increase sales and retain customers by creatively marketing your CSA online. Register for $25 before March 1, $35 later at http://www.wnc.edu/sci . Lunch is included. For information contact Ann Louhela at 775-423-7565 ext. 2260 or ann.louhela@wnc.edu

For more information, go to http://www.wnc.edu/sci

SAFETY-NET PROGRAM DEADLINES

Producers are being notified of upcoming important deadlines for the new safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC).

The final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres is today and the final day for farm owners and producers to choose coverage is March 31.

“These programs provide financial protection against unexpected changes in the marketplace, so now is the time to have those final conversations, to ask any remaining questions, and to visit the Farm Service Agency to make these decisions,” said Clint Koble of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Clint Koble.

“For the first time in many years, farmers have the opportunity to update yields or reallocate base, but if no changes are made by Feb. 27, the farm’s current yield and base will be used,” said Koble. “If no program election occurs by March 31, then there will be no 2014 payments for the farm and the farm will default to PLC coverage through the 2018 crop year.”

GARDENING IN NEVADA

Cooperative Extension has teamed up with Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space to offer “Gardening in Nevada: The Bartley Ranch Series.” Classes are free and run 6–8 p.m. every Tuesday through March 31 at Bartley Ranch Regional Park, 6000 Bartley Ranch Road in Reno.

The classes are taught by Cooperative Extension horticulturists and experts, and Cooperative Extension’s certified Master Gardener volunteers. Classes include the following:

Tuesday: Certified Arborist and Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Michael Janik discusses the basics of fruit tree pruning, pruning to maximize production and the art of espalier (training fruit trees to grow on trellises or against a flat surface).

For more information on “Gardening in Nevada: The Bartley Ranch Series,” or for general horticultural inquiries, contact University of Nevada Cooperative Extension at 775-784-4848 or mastergardeners@ujnce.unr.edu or visit http://www.unce.unr.edu.

TREE SALE

The Lahontan Conservation District is having its annual tree sale.

The plants are bare root and will range in size depending on the species selected. The trees purchased must be used for screen/windbreak, soil erosion control, riparian restoration or wildlife habitat improvement.

Prices range from $3.50-$4.50. Orders will be taken until March 16 and will be ready to pick up on April 4 at the Plant Materials Center.

To participate, contact Jackie Bogdanowicz at jackie.bogdanowicz@nv.nacdnet.net, 423-5124 x 101 or visit the Ag Service Center at 111 Sheckler Road.

AG PRODUCER PRESENTATIONS

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension will offer four free presentations, the last Tuesday of each month, February–May, on topics important to agricultural producers and small-acreage owners in Northern Nevada.

March 31: Agricultural Options for Small-acreage Landowners in Times of Drought, presented by Jay Davison, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension alternative crops and forage specialis

April 28: Fruit Trees, presented by Wendy Hanson, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program coordinator

May 26: Soil Health and Benefits of Compost, presented by Chris Savastio, Natural Resources Conservation Service soil scientist; and Craig Witt, Full Circle Compost owner

All presentations will be held 6–8 p.m., at CVIC Hall, 1604 Esmeralda Avenue in Minden. The presentations are free, and no registration is required. However, persons in need of special accommodations or assistance should call at least three days prior to the event they plan to attend. For more information, contact Lewis at lewisst@unce.unr.edu or 775-782-9960.

CONSERVATION PROGRAM

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will make available $100 million this year through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and although applications are accepted all year, farmers, ranchers and forest landowners should submit applications by Feb. 27 to ensure they are considered for this year’s funding (applications received after that date will be considered for future funding). This year’s investment may result in the enrollment of up to 7.7 million acres in the program by private landowners.

“CSP is a way of incentivizing farmers, ranchers, and private forest managers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship,” said Bruce Petersen of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “By focusing on multiple resource concerns, landowners are able to achieve a sustainable landscape and maintain or increase the productivity of their operations.”

Through CSP, participants take additional conservation steps to improve the resource conditions on their land, including soil, air and habitat quality, water quality and quantity, and energy conservation.

Petersen said CSP producers are conservation leaders, showing how science-based conservation and technological advancements can improve the environment and farming operations at the same time.

For more on technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted&lt;http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/newsroom/releases/?cid=stelprdb1193811&gt; or a local USDA service center<http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/newsroom/releases/?cid=nrcsdev11_000242&gt;.