June 2010 News & Views
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Waiver of Animal Excise Tax
Towns that have waived animal excise and farm equipment excise tax:
Berlin (May 11, 2009, vote was 150:40), Stow (passed May 12, 2009), Rowley, Oakham (Passed May 18, 2009), Cambridge, Hatfield
Section 2 of the Dairy Farm Stabilization Act, Chapter 310 of the Acts of 2008, provides: “Section 8A of chapter 59 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:- The local appropriating authority, as defined in section 21C, may, by a two-thirds vote, seek voter approval to not impose the excise established by this section.”
Here is the link: http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/seslaw08/sl080310.htm
When requesting a waiver of farm animal and equipment Excise Tax, you might want to consider these talking points In order to avoid any negative publicity:
1. Many of the bills are for less than the cost of collection
2. The creation of the bills make for complicated valuation decisions
3. And go back to the fairness principle applied to the Cost of Community Services - (The National American Farmland Trust study): The REAL property tax contribution of privately owned working lands subsidizing residential land uses that do not cover their own costs. Is it fair that farm property that generates more public revenues than they receive back in public services continue to be taxed?
4. Because you can waive it - by law. If you (as an AgCom) didn’t at least request it, then you wouldn’t be looking out for your community of farmers.
5. Many towns have never charged an animal or equipment excise tax and many towns that used to, discontinued doing so three or four years ago due to #1 and #2 above.
Berlin’s speaking points generously shared by the Berlin AgCom:
The DOR issued a ruling in February 2009 that a vote to eliminate the Farm Tax had to be done by referendum at a Town Election and not at a Town Meeting. So, at the Ag Com’s request, Selectmen unanimously voted to put our referendum on the May 11, 2009 ballot.
The Ag Com then went to the local newspaper and had an article written on the subject just before election day. The main points in the article were:
· The Commonwealth’s Dairy Preservation Act 310 of 2008 allows towns to cease assessing farm excise tax on farm animals, machinery and equipment for ALL FARMERS.
· Presently, farms in Berlin pay an average of $232.18 (FY05-FY09) in Farm Excise Tax.
· On some farms, the equipment and machinery being taxed is 40+ years old!
· Studies have shown that farms contribute more to town treasuries than they receive in services (It cost the towns less to have farms than it does to have more homes or malls).
· A YES VOTE will eliminate the administrative tasks for both the Assessors’ and the Tax Collector’s offices by not collecting the Farm Excise Tax.
· A YES VOTE will have minimal fiscal impact on taxpayers and the town while helping to sustain the farming activities that currently exist in Berlin and preserve our quality of life.
Mass Century Farms
The Women’s Committee is celebrating Century Farms this year. It is not too late to participate, as we are currently still looking for farms that have been in the same family for a hundred years or more and are still in operation.
We have received information from some Century Farms, but we are extending our search to include as many as possible.
If you have a farm that has been in the same family for a hundred years or more please contact our Ashland office for the Century Farm form to fill out and return it to the Farm Bureau office or to my address: Joyce Ripley, P.O.Box 344,
Granville, MA 01034.
Also if you know of a farm that is a Century Farm or that was included in a previous Century Farm publication, please let us know.
Tell us how your Farm Bureau Membership saved you money - in 200 words or less.
If we publish your story, you’ll receive a gift certificate. Include your name, membership number, address, daytime phone number or email. Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org or MFBF, 466 Chestnut Street, Ashland, MA 01721.
UMass Field Days
Turf Field Day 9-2
UMass Joseph Troll Research Center, South Deerfield
Mary Owen 508-892-0382
Fruit Growers Summer Meeting- 9-2
Cold Spring Orchard Research Farm, Belchertown
Wes Autio 413-545-2963
Great Ideas Summer
MA Nursery Landscape
Assoc /MA Flower Growers
Bigelow Nursery, Charlton
Tina Smith 413-545-5306
Vegetable Growers Field Day 10- 4:00
UMass Crops Research and Education Center, South Deerfield
Ruth Hazzard 413-545-3696
Crop, Dairy, Livestock Field Day 10- 4:00
UMass Crops Research and Education Center, South
Masoud Hashemi 413-545-1843
UMass Cranberry Station
Farm Safety: A Few Simple Steps Can Reduce Your Chance of Accidents
A combine fire is something no one wants to experience. Poor weather conditions and equipment failure are factors that can slow your ability to harvest. While you can’t control the weather conditions, proper maintenance and care of your heavy equipment can reduce the likelihood of loss and decrease the resulting damage.
Physical loss of equipment is not your only concern. You may also have lost crops, lost time, extra expense or the risk of physical injury. You can take steps to prevent the possibility of an equipment fire and reduce damage in the event a fire occurs.
Fires need three elements to exist: oxygen, fuel (material to burn) and a heat source. Since it is virtually impossible to eliminate air, preventing equipment fires can be concentrated to reducing the fuels and heat sources present.
Reduce Fuel Sources
A small leak around a heat source can become an inferno within a matter of seconds. Before harvest season, clean your equipment. Pay close attention to the engine and engine compartment. Use a pressure washer or steam cleaner to remove oil, caked-on grease and crop residue. This will reduce the possibility of fire and will allow your engine to run cooler and more efficiently.
Make regular cleaning a part of your daily routine. Reduce fuel sources by taking a few minutes to blow off leaves, dry foliage, crop residue and other debris with an air compressor or leaf blower. Clean debris away from bearings, belts and other moving parts. Also, pay special attention to maintenance by following instructions and lubrication schedules provided in the owner’s manual. Visually inspect the machinery for possible leaks, exposed electrical wiring or any other signs of wear and tear.
Reduce Heat Sources
The exhaust system is the most common heat source on combines and other farm machinery. Inspect the exhaust system regularly including the manifold, muffler and turbocharger. Be aware of and address any leaks and buildup.
Even with best efforts a fire can still happen. But with careful emergency planning, fire damage can be minimized. Equip agricultural machinery with portable fire extinguishers, and be sure to inspect and service your fire extinguishers on a regular basis.
If a fire does occur, quickly shut off the machine, grab a fire extinguisher and get help. Be sure that the operator of the equipment always carries a cell-phone, two-way radio or some other means of communication. Approach any fire with extreme caution, as even a small fire can flare up dramatically. These types of fires are especially dangerous when liquid fuels are involved. If possible, use the extinguisher’s flexible hose to shoot the chemical from a safe distance at the base of any visible flames.
Remember it may not be possible to put out every fire. If it’s in a difficult-to-reach area or seems out of control, don’t risk the chance of injury or even death… wait for help to arrive.2 Before resuming operations after any fire, make sure to find and correct the cause. Planning ahead and quick thinking are essential in reducing the severity of the fire. Remain calm, act quickly. Most important, remain safe.
For more information about practices regarding your heavy equipment and fire prevention, contact your local agricultural extension. This article was provided by Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company for informational purposes only. Farmers face unique issues. Talk to an insurance agent who understands agriculture insurance. To find an agent near you call 1-800-THE-FARM or visit www.FarmFamily.com.
The Farm Family group of insurance companies, headquartered in Glenmont NY, operates in 12 states in the Northeast and is a subsidiary of American National Family of Companies.
The information contained in this article has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. 1Purdue University. (October 18, 2005). Combine fires preventable threats, specialist says. Retrieved April 8, 2010, 2009 and 2Shutske, John. (2002). Combine and Tractor Fires… A Burning Problem, University of Minnesota Extension Service. Retrieved April 8, 2010. The information is general in nature and may not apply to all circumstances. Farm family, its affiliates, agents and employees do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided and assumes no liability, expressed or implied, in connection therewith.
Active Membership-Recognize the value of membership!
Our upcoming membership year is July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011.
Your renewal invoice is in the mail and most of our members faithfully pay their annual dues. Only a few fail to renew their membership because they don’t see the value. If you’ve taken advantage of the insurance savings on your personal vehicle or farm package, then you’ve already saved enough money to pay your dues. Same with if you’ve used your membership to save on buying Grainger tools, received the $500 Dodge vehicle rebate, taken a colicy horse to Tufts or stayed at a Choice Hotel.
But the real value in your membership is information and advocacy. When laws or regulations change, grants become available to farmers, we want our members to be the first to know. We put it on our website, www.mfbf.net, and email those who have signed up for action alerts.
We hope you’ve taken advantage of the many legislators’ breakfasts and brunches held across the state to make your concerns known. You need to know your local representatives and senators and they need to know your face – the face of agriculture! Contact your county leaders or the Ashland office for details on events and to get information you need.
MFBF has very active advisory committees that represent state wide interests: Horse, Dairy, Apiary, APR, Forestry and many more. To bring your expertise and interest in any of these, contact your county Farm Bureau board or the Ashland office.
We are a voluntary membership organization and our strength is in our members. If you increase your involvement in Farm Bureau, you increase your investment and will see more value in your membership. Please join us again in our fiscal year 2010/2011.
Massachusetts Student Selected for AFBF Public Policy Internship
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has selected Ashley E. Sears of South Deerfield, Massachusetts for its Public Policy internship for the Summer of 2010 in Washington, DC. Ashley is a student at Cornell University where she is majoring in Applied Economics and Management, and Animal Science.
The AFBF internship involves one student for a 2010 summer internship with the Public Policy Department in its Washington, D.C. office. Interested applicants must have completed at least their sophomore year of undergraduate coursework, preferably with a major in an agriculture- or public policy-related field. The selected intern will be assigned to projects overseen by the Intern Coordinator, pertaining to timely topics important to agriculture and the rural economy. Applicants should specify their areas of interest and how their background provides them with the proper knowledge and abilities to excel in this internship.
The Public Policy Department oversees the implementation of Farm Bureau policy by working with elected and appointed public officials on a wide range of government policies that impact farm and ranch families.
Ashley Sears has been involved for a decade with both Indian Acres Farm and Bryant Farm, and completed a 2009 internship with Holstein Association USA. A former 4-Her and National Outstanding Guernsey Youth winner, Ashley has been involved with raising and exhibiting dairy cattle all her life. We are proud to have Massachusetts so well represented at AFBF!
Mass Development, Strolling of the Heifers & The Carrot Project Launch Loan Program
Mass Development, along with Strolling of the Heifers and The Carrot Project, today announced the MassDevelopment/Strolling of the Heifers Small Farm Loan Program through which eligible Massachusetts farmers can receive amounts ranging from $3,000 and $15,000. These funds will help farmers finance capital investments and meet operating costs. MassDevelopment and The Carrot Project will jointly administer the program.
“Supporting the Commonwealth’s farms benefits everyone,” said Robert L. Culver, MassDevelopment President and CEO. “More and more Massachusetts residents seek out fresh and quality produce as part of an ever-growing movement toward eating healthful, local food. We hope that these loans will help ensure that our farmers can meet the demand for their products and preserve valuable open space in Massachusetts.”
Many Massachusetts farmers saw their crops ruined this year by heavy rain in June and July, which delayed the growing season, and extreme heat in August. MassDevelopment has had success with similar loan products: the Aquaculture Loan Program, launched in 2005 to help the Commonwealth’s aquaculture industry recover from losses due to red tide, and the November 2009 announcement of $100,000 in term working capital loans to Gloucester seafood businesses affected by the City’s boil water order over the summer.
“We are very happy to offer these loans to all Massachusetts farmers and work with MassDevelopment,” said Dorothy Suput, executive director of The Carrot Project, which coordinates the loan process for the fund. The deadline for the first round of applications is March 19.
The new program will provide otherwise unavailable financing to help farmers increase production. MassDevelopment has aided local agriculture in the past by supporting the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, which aids schools and colleges in purchasing Massachusetts agricultural products. Both programs strengthen the economic viability of the Commonwealth’s agriculture and protect open space. The Massachusetts House of Representatives recently passed legislation that the Departments of Agriculture and Elementary and Secondary Education would work with programs like Farm to School, developing a process for public schools to notify farmers of their interest in buying locally grown food.
Farmers who own or lease farms in Massachusetts are eligible, with a focus on farms that have 250 or fewer acres under cultivation, report annual revenues of less than $250,000, and use or are moving toward organic methods. Capital investments covered in the loan include those that improve efficiency and quality, and those that expand farm production or sales. Other eligible expenses include repairs necessary to maintain farm operations; term operating needs such as inventory, supplies, or labor for expansion; and emergency funds in case of fire, natural disasters, or other unforeseeable events.
In 2009, Strolling of the Heifers and The Carrot Project partnered to launch the Microloan Fund, to finance capital expenditures and operating expenses for farmers in Vermont and Western Massachusetts. The MassDevelopment/Strolling of the Heifers Small Farm Loan Program will serve farms throughout Massachusetts.
“There’s a clear need for a program of this kind to help bring new people into farming as well as to help support longtime family farms,” said Orly Munzing, executive director of Strolling of the Heifers. Munzing added that the fund was launched with the help of a benefit concert featuring legendary folksinger Pete Seeger, and that another folksinger, Richie Havens, has agreed to help raise additional funds.
Massachusetts has 7,691 farms, totaling 517,879 acres of farmland, according to the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture. The industry pulls in $6 billion in revenue, with cranberries, wild blueberries, squash, and maple syrup representing the largest crops. In a recent survey by the Farm to School Project, 205 school districts reported they purchased local foods during the 2008-2009 school year, with at least 80 of these districts purchasing some or all of their local foods directly from more than 60 Massachusetts farms. Forty-nine Massachusetts colleges and private schools reported they purchased local foods during the 2008-2009 school year.
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development authority, works with businesses, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2009, MassDevelopment financed or managed 229 projects statewide representing the investment of nearly $1.2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are supporting the creation of 1,488 new housing units and 8,232 jobs: 3,362 permanent and 4,870 construction-related.
Strolling of the Heifers, www.strollingoftheheifers.com, is a non-profit organization based in Brattleboro, Vermont. Aiming to help save and support family farms by connecting people with the food they eat, Strolling of the Heifers organizes a major parade and festival each year in June. It makes educational grants to farmers and teachers, and raises loan guarantee capital for the Microloan Fund.
The Carrot Project, www.thecarrotproject.org, is a non-profit organization based in Somerville, Massachusetts, dedicated to creating financing solutions for small- and mid-sized farms, limited-resource farms, and those using ecologically sound practices. Its program model is designed to incubate and establish alternative financing programs in combination with business technical assistance. The Carrot Project works collaboratively with private investors, lenders, and farm support organizations to help rebuild a farming system that offers stability to local farmers, provides healthful food for citizens, replenishes the environment, and is good for regional and local economies.
For a prequalification questionnaire, visit www.thecarrotproject.org/farm_financing. For more information, e-mail email@example.com or call 617-666-9637.
UDSA Helps Retiring Farmers Transition their Land to Beginning Farmers in New Farm Bill Program
WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 14, 2010 - Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced the Transition Incentives Program (TIP) - a new program under the Conservation Title of the 2008 Farm Bill - to encourage retired or retiring owners or operators to transition their land to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.
“Ensuring that our nation’s land is returned to production using sustainable methods is critical not only for our future food supply, but also for the economic future of our rural communities,” said Merrigan. “Access to land is one of the greatest challenges faced by new farmers. The Transition Incentives Program is one more tool in the USDA toolkit to protect family farms and support beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers.”
Producers who want to apply for the TIP can start signing up on Monday, May 17, 2010. If all program requirements are met, TIP provides annual rental payments to the retiring farmer for up to two additional years after the date of the expiration of the CRP contract, provided the transition is not to a family member. To learn more about program, producers interested in applying and participating in TIP should visit their USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.
· To be eligible, TIP requires that the retired or retiring farmer or rancher:
· Have land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) that is in the last year of the contract.
· Agree to allow the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher make conservation and land improvements.
· Agree to sell, or have a contract to sell, or agree to long-term lease (a minimum of 5 years) the land under CRP contract to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher by Oct. 1 of the year the CRP contract expires.
Supporting local economies and providing opportunities for beginning or socially disadvantaged Americans with a desire to farm or ranch is one of the many ways the Obama Administration and USDA are working to rebuild and revitalize rural America
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).
MDAR Grant Programs
Over the next couple of months, MDAR will be accepting applications from farmers who wish to participate in Department programs in Fiscal Year 2011. Interested farm operators are encouraged to review these options on MDAR’s web pages at www.mass.gov/agr/programs or by attending one of upcoming MDAR Grant Workshops announced below.
Farm Viability Enhancement Program
This popular business planning and technical assistance program provides management advice and grants of up to $75,000 to implement farm growth and sustainability strategies. Farm operators not only receive upfront cash awards for signing a 5 or 10 year Agricultural Covenant, but also receive valuable consultations and visits from a team of experts to discuss farm production and management, marketing, and business planning. Typical uses of funds from the Farm Viability Program include building or repairing farm structures, modernizing field equipment, purchasing delivery vehicles and tractors, improving marketing structures or food processing capacity, and establishing a farm website. The deadline for submitting applications is Thursday June 24, 2010.
Applications and program information are available on the MDAR web site www.mass.gov/agr, or calling the Farm Viability Program at 617-626-1723.
APR Improvement Program
The purpose of the APR Improvement Program (AIP) is to help sustain active commercial farming on land protected by the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program. AIP provides technical assistance and business planning to improve farm productivity with the goal of enhancing the significance of APR farm operations and their contribution to the state’s agricultural industry. The program assists with issues of economic viability, environmental sustainability, resource conservation, ownership control, modernization of infrastructure and other issues that may enhance the long term continued use of the agricultural resource. The AIP uses a process of providing services to participant farms including technical assistance, business planning, and access to capital. Responses must be received by June 30, 2010. AIP application are available on line or by calling the APR Improvement Program at 413-268-8269.
NEW - Grant Program for Beginning Farmers in MA
MDAR is pleased to announce an open application period for a pilot program aimed at providing farm viability funding to new and beginning farmers. The purpose of the Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture (MEGA) Program is to help with business expansion on new and beginning farms. MEGA will provide technical assistance and business planning help, and then provide funds for farm improvement strategies. Funding provided from this Program will be made available on a one to one matching grant basis and the maximum award shall be $10,000. MEGA applications and program information are available on line at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources website www.mass.gov/agr, or you can request a copy of the application by calling 617-626-1723. The deadline for submitting applications is June 15, 2010.
Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program
Applications for the Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP) will be available shortly. Please visit http://www.mass.gov/agr/programs/aeep/index.htm for updates or contact Laura Maul at 617-626-1739.
Agricultural Energy Grant Program
Applications for the Agricultural Energy Grant Program will be available shortly. For updates please see http://www.mass.gov/agr/programs/energy/index.htm or contact Gerry Palano at 617-626-1706.
MFBF Offers Medicare Supplement Insurance for Seniors
Any Farm Bureau member that is 65 years of age or older and has been approved for Medicare is eligible to enroll in the MFBF’s BlueCross Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Insurance plan. The plans that are offered are the Medex 2 (without prescription coverage) and Medex 3 (with prescription coverage).
The premiums for these plans are billed quarterly and the price for the Medex 2 is $745.62 per quarter, and the Medex 3 is $1,527.72 per quarter. If you are already 65 or older, you will not be eligible to enroll until April 1, 2011, unless your coverage is being dropped. If you will be turning 65, you can enroll the first day of the month that you turn 65. These rates are locked in until March 30, 2011. For further information, contact Kerry Reynolds at the MFBF office in Ashland (508-881-4766) or Kerry@mfbf.net.
A mid-spring freeze has taken its toll on some of our apple growers in the central and western parts of the state. In addition, one of our largest greenhouse operations lost a significant part of their product and greenhouse space in a fire on one of those same cold nights. Our thoughts go out to our members who have had losses. As we are all aware, the best laid plans are often no match for the unpredictability of Mother Nature.
In the last newsletter, I focused on Federal issues and wanted to provide a follow up. EPA has since gone back to the drawing board on new spray drift regulations. Many scientific and commodity organizations weighed in on the issue and I believe that cooler heads have prevailed. The existing regulations have served us well and will continue to do so for the time being. In addition, I received a call from USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan on May 14. The purpose of the call was to respond to a letter (actually several) which I had written regarding pending changes on food safety issues for vegetables and fruits. Dr. Merrigan indicated that she saw conflict between food safety, conservation practices, and a grower’s ability to afford onerous regulation. Over the past year, she has repeatedly mentioned that all growers, large and small, conventional and organic, must work to assure safe foods. I told her that we all agree with that statement, but not with the assumption that we all comply in the same way. Our conversation included GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) and the pending Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement. She promised follow up and a willingness to say involved.
The Massachusetts Fruit Growers, the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Associations, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, UMass Extension, and I have been working on a way to create a sustainability standard which could be used to address the food safety concerns of our customers. If we are going to lobby against requiring everyone to become GAP certified, we need a program that we can use to assure our customers that we take food safety seriously. A key component of this program will be the Best Management Practices documents for several crops that MFBF and UMass Extension worked to create. More details will follow as this program ramps up, likely for the 2011 growing season.
The MFBF Woman’s Committee has been working hard on gathering and updating the list of Century Farms in the Commonwealth. Information on this program follows in this newsletter. If you are a 100+ year old farm, please fill out the paperwork and get on the list. Kudos to Joyce Ripley and the Woman’s Committee for making this happen!
A. Richard Bonanno, Ph.D.
2010 Annual Meetings:
Plymouth, August 30
Berkshire, September 30, First Baptist Church, Pittsfield
Norfolk, October 12
Bristol, October 14
Cape & Islands, October 19
Middlesex, October 20
Worcester, October 26
Essex, October 28, 6pm
Hampden, October 27, 6:30 Monte Carlo, West Springfield
MFBF: Dec 2 & 3, Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, One Monarch Place, Springfield, MA 01144, 413-781-1010
John Ogonowski Award Information
We are encouraging County Farm Bureau’s to consider their Ogonowski award nomination .
Each County Farm Bureau can nominate one Farm Bureau member or Farm Bureau Family for
recognition of their distinguished service to the agricultural
· The applicant must be a Farm Bureau Member
· The applicant must have shown distinguished service to Farm Bureau
· The applicant must have shown distinguished
2009 Charlie & Ellen Proctor, Berkshire County
2008 Gordon Price, Essex County
2007 Leon Ripley, Hampden County
2006 Gordon Williams, Hampshire County
2005 Tony Andrews, Cape Cod & Islands
2004 Steve Verrill, Middlesex County
2003 Red Dargoonian, Essex County
2002 Dick Tryon, Berkshire County
Essex County Farm Bureau Scholarship Award Winner
Essex County Farm Bureau along with the Massachusetts Farm Bureau would like to congratulate Neal M. Lojek as this year’s Essex County Farm Bureau Scholarship Award winner. Neal was chosen over six other applicants. He will be attending the University of Vermont this fall and majoring in Biology.
Assistance Program for Orchardists and Nursery Tree Growers
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today said that orchardists and nursery tree growers can begin applying for benefits under the Tree Assistance Program, which was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. Signup begins Monday, May 10, 2010, at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices.
The Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides help to orchardists and nursery tree growers who produce trees, bushes and vines for commercial purposes, to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes and vines damaged or destroyed by natural disasters. The 2008 Farm Bill expanded eligibility to include Christmas tree and nursery tree growers that were ineligible under prior legislation. Trees grown for pulp or timber or not grown for commercial purposes are not eligible.
To be eligible for TAP, producers must have suffered more than a 15 percent death loss due to the natural disaster after adjustment for normal mortality. TAP is a cost-reimbursement program, with payments covering up to 70 percent of replant costs and 50 percent of pruning, removal and other salvaging costs for replacing or salvaging damaged trees.
Producers can receive assistance for up to 500 acres of trees, bushes or vines. Producers must also have purchased a policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, or for 2008, obtained a waiver of the risk management purchase requirement through the buy-in provision. Eligible losses must have occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2008, and before Oct. 1, 2011.
AFBF & Climate Change
Statement by Bob Stallman, President Regarding the American Power Act
Senate Climate Change Bill
The effects of climate legislation are real and substantial. For that reason, the American Farm Bureau Federation will continue to evaluate the American Power Act, the climate change bill introduced today by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.), for its effect on farmers and ranchers.
“As with other climate change bills, we have concerns about the economic impact on farmers and ranchers because of potentially higher fertilizer and energy costs. We do not want to see farmers driven out of business due to additional regulation and the potential for higher input costs. Agriculture also could be forced to shrink due to land moving out of production into trees to sequester carbon. We also believe it is imperative that any energy legislation must assure a greater supply of nuclear energy, renewable fuels and natural gas for American consumers. Further, we note the absence of renewable electricity standards in the bill and will work toward their inclusion in the future.
“We appreciate all the efforts by Sens. Lieberman and Kerry to address the concerns of farmers and ranchers and the agriculture sector as a whole. We will continue to work with them to see if further efforts can be made to minimize the harmful economic effects that occur for farmers and ranchers once policymakers decide to put a price on carbon. The American Farm Bureau will remain engaged in this debate to assure that any final legislation promotes, and does not diminish, American agriculture.”