Phase I applications available till Tuesday

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By Steve Moore

The 2013 Phase I Tobacco Funds for Henry County are now available to Henry County Landowners/Farmers through an application/Scoresheet process.  The applications are available now through Tuesday, June 18, at the Henry County Extension Office.  To be included in the funding process, applications must be turned in to the Extension Office by 4 p.m., June 18.

Everyone is eligible to apply.  The successful applicants are those who score highest on the Kentucky Uniform Producer Application, using the scoring criteria as established by the Kentucky Agriculture Development Board.  This year, the funding for the Henry County Phase I (County Agriculture Investment Program) amounts to $243,000.  Successful applicants approved in the program will be able to receive a maximum of $2,500 as 50 percent cost share reimbursement of a completed project.  The math tells us that only 97 farms will be approved if each one applies for and uses the full $2,500.  Traditionally, Henry County has had nearly 200 applications.

The application doesn’t usually take very long to complete, in fact, most folks fill it out right here at the office.  There are a few things to look up before you come in to complete the application.  Be clear on who is applying and who any check and Tax Form 1099 will be issued to.  If your farm has its own Tax ID, bring it, otherwise, you can use your Social Security Number.  Look up your Farm Serial Number (the one each farm has at the FSA office) and have it handy.  When Laraine is not here, the Extension staff are not privy to your past Phase I records, so be thinking about your past three years of participation in the CAIP program in order to answer the first two questions.  Since having a completed Ag Water Quality Act Plan on file at the Conservation District Office is worth a fair amount of points on the application, please go ahead and get that task done.

Phase I Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement Funds have now been available in Henry County since 2000, with nearly $4 million being invested in so many worthy areas directly on farms.  Better genetics, better forages, better handling facilities, better feed storage, better feed handling, increased small animal operations, more horticulture greenhouses, more fruits and vegetables, and more value added marketing are some of the investments now adding to the infrastructure on many Henry County farms.   

Fireflies:  Pretty and useful

I remember running around in the yard and fields catching fireflies and putting them in a canning jar Mom gave me (we let them go later).  Interestingly, fireflies do more than generate entertaining childhood memories like mine; they also help control some pests in the garden. On summer nights, glow worms (luminescent firefly larvae) often emerge from their underground homes to forage for food. A typical menu includes slugs, snails and caterpillars including cutworms. The larvae feed much like a spider by injecting a paralyzing toxin into their prey; then, injecting digestive juices to dissolve the prey and allow it to be more easily consumed. The adults probably feed on plant nectar to sustain their energy requirements.

There are several theories about why fireflies glow. One is that the flashing light is a homing beacon for the opposite sex. The male flies around flashing the signal to attract a female’s attention. A female on the ground or on low-growing foliage will signal back when a male visits her vicinity. To avoid confusion, each firefly species has its own specific signal to attract a mate.

Another theory is that firefly larvae use their luminescence to warn a potential predator that they taste bad. Larvae contain defensive chemicals in their bodies. When disturbed, larvae also increase their glow’s intensity and frequency.

Typical nighttime habitats for adults and larvae take place in rotting wood or other forest litter, or on the edges of water sources such as streams, ponds, marshes and ditches.

To attract fireflies to your property, reduce or eliminate lawn chemicals.  Add low, over-hanging trees, tall grass and similar vegetation to give adult fireflies a cool place to rest during the day. Reduce extra lighting on your property because this light interferes with fireflies’ luminous signals, making it harder for them to locate mates in the area. Fireflies also determine the time of night they’ll flash by the intensity of ambient or human activity lighting nearby. This is why you don’t see many fireflies flashing on clear nights with a full moon.