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Youth encouraged to get outside and capture the fall colors in 4-H Fall Photo Challenge

September 22, 2020 —Step away from the screen and get outside! 4-H is challenging youth of all ages to grab a camera and head outdoors to capture the beauty of Minnesota’s changing seasons. 

The 4-H Fall Photo Challenge is a statewide effort to promote creativity, healthy living and outdoor exploration.

“Youth have such unique perspectives and we’re excited to see how those perspectives come out in the images they capture,” said Linda Houglum, Extension educator. “This challenge is the perfect opportunity for youth to expand their photography skills while looking for the beauty of in a Minnesota fall.”

Youth as young as kindergarten are welcome to join the challenge; this is a great first experience for those new to 4-H. Register for the fall photo challenge  at https://local.extension.umn.edu/local/article/mn-4-h-fall-photo-challenge

“This is another opportunity to learn more about the elements of photography and a chance to show one’s skills,” said Averie Mounsdon, an 11th grader from Douglas County. “It’s not as intimidating as it may seem. Anything and everything can make a beaufitul photo with the right angles and skills.”

Once registered for the challenge, youth can head outside any time during the month of October to focus on and capture the fall colors in their part of the state. Utilize lessons found on the Minnesota 4-H photography project page to learn how to use angles, light and composition to enhance your photography. Youth can submit up to three of their favorite photos to the challenge. 

Participants will be entered into a random prize drawing. Images will also be featured in a slideshow that will be posted on the Minnesota 4-H photography project page and social media.

The 4-H photography project is a youth development offering of University of Minnesota Extension: Learn more at: https://z.umn.edu/4h-photography. 


Naps (Second Harvest)

Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS), sponsored by Second Harvest Heartland distribution will be held at the office of A.C.E. of Southwest Minnesota – Murray County at 2989 Maple Rd., Slayton MN.   Distribution will take place on Thursday, October 8th, from 1:30 – 2:30 pm.  In Fulda distribution is Monday, October 19th from 1:15-1:45 pm at the Fulda Food Shelf at 305 S Lafayette Ave.  Remember if you cannot be there please, have your proxy pick your items up for you. For more information call Joyce at 507-836-8705.


USDA to Provide Additional Direct Assistance to Farmers and Ranchers Impacted by the Coronavirus

Expansion of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Began Sept. 21

USDA announced up to an additional $14 billion for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) will begin September 21 and run through December 11, 2020.

Background:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will use funds being made available from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and CARES Act to support row crops, livestock, specialty crops dairy, aquaculture and many additional commodities. USDA has incorporated improvements in CFAP 2 based from stakeholder engagement and public feedback to better meet the needs of impacted farmers and ranchers.

Producers can apply for CFAP 2 at USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices. This program provides financial assistance that gives producers the ability to absorb increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Producers will be compensated for ongoing market disruptions and assisted with the associated marketing costs.

CFAP 2 payments will be made for three categories of commodities – Price Trigger Commodities, Flat rate Crops and Sales Commodities.

Price Trigger Commodities

Price trigger commodities are major commodities that meet a minimum 5-percent price decline over a specified period of time. Eligible price trigger crops include barley, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers, upland cotton, and all classes of wheat. Payments will be based on 2020 planted acres of the crop. Payments for price trigger crops will be the greater of: 1) the eligible acres multiplied by a payment rate of $15 per acre; or 2) the eligible acres multiplied by a nationwide crop marketing percentage, multiplied by a crop-specific payment rate, and then by the producer’s weighted 2020 Actual Production History (APH) approved yield.  Dairy (cow’s milk) payments will be based on actual milk production from April 1 to Aug. 31, 2020. The milk production for Sept. 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020, will be estimated by FSA. Eligible beef cattle, hogs and pigs, and lambs and sheep payments will be based on the maximum owned inventory of eligible livestock, excluding breeding stock, on a date selected by the producer, between Apr. 16, 2020, and Aug. 31, 2020.

Flat-rate Crops

Crops that either do not meet the 5-percent price decline trigger or do not have data available to

calculate a price change will have payments calculated based on eligible 2020 acres multiplied by $15 per acre. These crops include alfalfa, extra-long staple (ELS) cotton, oats, peanuts, rice, hemp, millet, mustard, safflower, sesame, triticale, rapeseed, and several others.

Sales Commodities

Sales commodities include specialty crops; aquaculture; nursery crops and floriculture; other commodities not included in the price trigger and flat-rate categories, including tobacco; goat milk; mink (including pelts); mohair; wool; and other livestock (excluding breeding stock) not included under the price trigger category that were grown for food, fiber, fur, or feathers. Payment calculations will use a sales-based approach, where producers are paid based on five payment gradations associated with their 2019 sales 

Eligibility

There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined.

Applicants who are corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits when members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation. In addition, this special payment limitation provision has been expanded to include trusts and estates for both CFAP 1 and 2. Producers will also have to certify they meet the Adjusted Gross Income limitation of $900,000 unless at least 75 percent or more of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities. Producers must also be in compliance with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions.

Applying for Assistance

Producers can apply for assistance beginning Sept. 21, 2020. Applications will be accepted through Dec. 11, 2020. Additional information and application forms can be found at farmers.gov/cfap. Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested. All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap/apply. 

Customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP 2 application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages with the team at the FSA county office.

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Our program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers in the office, by phone and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.


New USDA Survey to Measure Areas for Improvement

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a new annual survey of farmers, ranchers and private forestland owners. The survey will help USDA understand what it is doing well and where improvements are needed, specifically at the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Risk Management Agency (RMA). 

A selection of 28,000 producers will receive the survey over the next few weeks, but all farmers are encouraged to take the survey at farmers.gov/survey.

This survey is part of the President’s Management Agenda. It requires High Impact Service Provider agencies across the federal government, including FSA and NRCS, to conduct annual surveys to measure and respond to areas needing improvement. 

The survey consists of 20 questions and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Responses are confidential, and individual responses will be aggregated. The survey will be open for at least six weeks and will be closed once USDA receives a 30% response rate.

Learn more and take the survey at www.farmers.gov/survey. 


Good News 

By: John Stenen 

Years ago a man and his wife were the ‘Lighthouse Keepers’ on Stanton Island. They were happy as they carried out their duties. Four years passed and the husband became critically ill. His wife sent for the doctor and it was determined that he was too ill to carry out his duties. As he was being carried to the boat that would take him to shore, his last  words to his wife were, “Mind the light.” He was faithful to carry out his responsibilities to the very end.

He never returned to the lighthouse. His wife stayed on to “Mind the light,” and carried out the duties so well that she was appointed keeper. For thirty years she stayed in that lonely spot, caring for the warning beacon to keep the ships from wrecking on the rocks. 

 “Mind the light.” As Christians our duty is to be ‘light bearers.’ We are to shine as lights in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation and do all we can to guide the lost to safety – to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Everyone born into this world will never cease to exist. Without Jesus, scripture tells us our eternal destiny will be the ‘lake of fire.’ (Rev. 20:11-15). The good news is that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. Receive Him, live for Him and you will have everlasting life filled with joy. (John 1:12,  Ps. 16:11). Time is running out for all of us, choose Christ. God bless.