Ag Notes Week of 12/14/2020

Staff Writer

OFU endorsed Fudge as ag secretary
While Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, was under consideration by Joe Biden as his choice for the position of Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture she drew the endorsement of The Ohio Farmers Union.
Biden reportedly announced last week his pick for the post is Tom Vilsack, who served as secretary of the department for eight years in the Obama administration and was a rural and agriculture policy adviser during Biden's presidential campaign. He’s also a former governor of Iowa
But Joe Logan, president of the OFU, noted Congresswoman Fudge has been a member of the House Agriculture Committee and has expertise in nutrition, local foods and the concentration of agricultural businesses.
“In recent years, our farm and food systems have demonstrated both their tremendous productive potential and their vulnerabilities to stressors such as a trade war and global pandemic. Both of these stressors have hurt farmers and the pandemic has exposed major vulnerabilities in our consolidated food system, hurting farmers, processing workers and consumers,” Logan said.
Those issues show there is a need to review and reconsider some assumptions underlying agriculture and food policy, he said, adding Fudge’s experience on the committee would position her to “work across the unique interests of numerous stakeholders in the agriculture and food community.”
“In the past 30 years, the farmer’s share of the food dollar has been reduced from 37 percent to 12 percent. Meanwhile, food processors have consolidated into giant, enormously profitable global corporations, whose workers are poorly paid and are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. All this while hunger and malnutrition are at all-time highs among citizens of our wealthy nation,” Logan said.

2021 EQIP Farm Program signup deadline
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service has set Jan.15, 2021, as the deadline to submit applications for Ohio’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
EQIP is a voluntary conservation program which helps producers make conservation work for them. NRCS provides agricultural producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements, or what NRCS calls conservation practices. Using these practices can lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better wildlife habitat, all while improving agricultural operations.
Through EQIP, producers can voluntarily implement conservation practices, and NRCS co-invests in these practices. Together, NRCS and producers invest in solutions that conserve natural resources for the future while also improving agricultural operations.
Financial assistance is now available in a variety of agricultural categories such as cropland, pasture operations and organic. Several special projects are also available which address water quality, forestry management, improving pollinator populations and wildlife habitat, pasture improvements and many more.
Applicants should be farmers, or farm or forest landowners and meet eligibility criteria. To participate in USDA conservation programs, contact a local NRCS conservationist as soon as possible. Be sure to check the status of your Service Center when reaching out. For offices with restrictions on in-person appointments, agents are still available by phone, email and through other digital tools. Find local service centers’ status at
Applications signed and submitted to NRCS by the Jan. 15 deadline will be evaluated for fiscal year 2021 funding. Visit Ohio NRCS website under “EQIP Funding Categories” for more details.
Contact Ottawa County NRCS contact Clint Geldine, 419-898-4041 or for more details.


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