Learning opportunities abound in Jan.

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By Steve Moore

The hard winter we’ve had so far certainly takes our minds off the next growing season, yet farmers are called upon to make many decisions during this time which will affect new plantings and growing intentions.  Following are an abundance of opportunities to learn about the latest varieties, technologies, and other production practices.  Contact the Henry County Extension Office at 845-2811 for additional information.

Jan. 3-4 — Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference
Embassy Suites Hotel, Lexington:  Pre-conference sessions are available for wine making and record keeping, as well as round table discussions on Jan. 2.  Cost: $30 per person.

Jan. 13-15 — Kentucky Cattleman’s Association
Lexington Convention Center.  General sessions and focused sessions on many issues and ideas pertaining to the Beef Cattle industry, including forages, reproduction, animal health, and animal care.

Jan. 14 — Kentucky Ag Industry Trade Show
Lexington Convention Center will host the Trade Show for the Cattleman’s Association, the Kentucky Horse Council, and the Burley Tobacco Growers Association.

Jan. 14 — Kentucky Horse Council  
Lexington Convention Center

Jan. 14 — Tobacco Expo hosted by the Burley Tobacco Growers Association
Lexington Convention Center

Jan. 15 —  Kentucky Small Ruminant Grazing Conference
Hardin County Extension Office will host this meeting dealing with grazing information for sheep, goats and other small ruminants.

Jan. 25-26 — Heart of America Grazing Conference
Holiday Inn, Hurstborne Lane. Kentucky and the Forage and Grassland Council host this national animal/forage conference.

Feb. 11 — Governors Office of Agriculture Policy Annual Conference
Sloan Convention Center, Bowling Green. GOAP will roll out the latest Phase I Cost Share Program rules and regulations and honor award recipients.

Feb. 24 — 31st Kentucky Alfalfa Conference

Fayette County Extension Office. Always on the cutting edge of alfalfa production and marketing, this conference will give information about your farm’s ability to cut feed supplement costs for livestock by growing high quality forage.

NRCS announces Jan. 28 ranking deadline
Each fiscal year, NRCS sets ranking period dates for applications taken for USDA Farm Bill programs.  Although ranking dates may vary from program to program, landowners may sign-up at any time for all conservation programs. The next ranking cut-off date is Jan. 28, 2011, and will include applications for both the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

The WHIP program can provide financial and technical assistance to develop upland, wetland, riparian and aquatic habitat areas on your property.  There is a 10-acre minimum per application for this program.

The EQIP program can provide financial and technical assistance to plan and design measures on your property such as but not limited to: grazing management (fencing and livestock watering systems); nutrient management (manure storage structures, planned nutrient applications); and erosion control (grade control structures, diversions, grassed waterways).  The EQIP program can also assist farms that are currently certified organic or transitioning to organic.

If you are interested in participating in one of these programs, you should sign-up as soon as possible. For more information, please contact Randy Van Matre, NRCS District Conservationist or Mikki Croxton, Henry County Conservation District Secretary, at 502-845-2890.

2011 Phase I Cost Share
I had the chance to meet with the Kentucky Agriculture Development Board last Friday in Frankfort, and can report the following changes to the Phase I Programs for 2011: Fertilizer and soil amendments for establishment of legumes and other perennial forage crops were added as eligible cost-share items; On Farm Fallen Animal Composting facilities were added;  Producer education programs for welding, farm safety and producer health are allowed with 50 percent County Phase I funds, up to $5,000 per program; and a Competitive Grant program was adapted for Farmers’ Market Infrastructure.

Timewise, no changes in the producers application period for Henry County were indicated.  2011 Phase I funding from the Tobacco Manufacturers won’t come to Kentucky until late April, and our CAIP Program for farmers will need to go through the application and approval processes in Frankfort after that time.  Having farmer applications in the month of June has historically been the earliest time frame, and we don’t see 2011 as being any different.  As the Henry County Agriculture Development Council and the administrative entity (Henry County Cattleman’s Association) meet and make policy in early 2011, we’ll keep you posted in this column.