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Ag and Extension Briefs

CLEAR30 pilot program offers 30-year enrollment FOR CRP contracts

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will open signup this summer for CLEAR30, a new pilot program that offers farmers and landowners an opportunity to enroll in a 30-year Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contract. This pilot is available to farmers and landowners with expiring water-quality practice CRP contracts in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay regions. The program signup period is July 6 to Aug. 21, 2020.

The pilot is available in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Eligible producers must have expiring Clean Lakes, Estuaries and Rivers (CLEAR) initiative contracts, including continuous CRP Cropland contracts with water-quality practices or marginal pasturelands CRP contracts devoted to riparian buffers, wildlife habitat buffers or wetland buffers.

The longer contracts will help ensure that practices remain in place for 30 years, which will help reduce sediment and nutrient runoff and help prevent algal blooms. Traditional CRP contracts run from 10 to 15 years.

Annual rental payment for landowners who enroll in CLEAR30 will be equal to the current Continuous CRP annual payment rate plus an inflationary adjustment of 27.5 percent, since CLEAR30 contracts will be for 30 years — much longer than the 10 to 15-year contracts for Continuous CRP offers.

Another unique program feature is that FSA will help producers maintain CLEAR30 contract acreage.

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. Anyone wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency is required to call to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus. 

Farm safety and health? Yeah, there’s an app for that

By Emily Krekelberg

University of Minnesota Extension

Technology plays a vital role in agriculture today, and it can even help us stay safe and healthy on the farm. There are a variety of applications — or apps — available for our smart phones that span a wide range of topics related to farm safety and health. Below is just a sampling of the apps available for farmers; the full list was compiled by Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH) and can be found online at icash.public-health.uiowa.edu. All these apps are available to download for free.

• American Red Cross First Aid: Step-by-step first aid advice. Easy-to-use Spanish language toggle to switch translation inside the app. Fully integrated with 911 so you can call for help at any time. Safety tips for everything, from severe winter weather to hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes to help you prepare for emergencies.

• NIOSH Sound Level Meter: Combines features of professional sound level meters and noise dosimeters into single app and provides up-to-date informational screens on what noises are considered hazardous, how to conduct a noise measurement, how to properly select a hearing protector and guidelines for preventing hearing loss.

• OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool: Real time heat index and hourly forecasts as well as occupational safety and health recommendations from OSHA and NIOSH.

• NIOSH Ladder Safety: Interactive easy-to-use ladder safety app. Uses visual and sound signals to assist the user in positioning an extension ladder at an optimal angle.

• Web Poison Control: Provides expert help for a possible poisoning. Helps users decide if the poisoning is dangerous and requires medical attention.

• Smart 911: Allows you to share important information with first responders when dialing an emergency.

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