Take a pasture walk at Eden Shale

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By Steve Moore

The first in a series of four pasture walks hosted by the Eden Shale Grazing Network Initiative will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m., June 2, at the Eden Shale Research Farm in Owenton.  The grazing network, overseen by a committee of forage experts, is designed for participants who have an interest in managing their forages and pastures for improved profitability. The walks provide an opportunity to see how others manage their forages, pastures and livestock while providing a chance to critique and question the operator.

At the June 2 pasture walk, Dr. Ray Smith, forage extension specialist at UK, will review the newest variety trials for red clover, alfalfa, tall fescue and orchard-grass. He will address whether improved forage varieties are really worth the added cost; explain how to use the UK Forage Variety Reports to choose the best variety; discuss seeding clovers into tall fescue fields and seeding options for renovating pastures and winter feeding areas. Smith also will cover the advantages of using a no-till drill for over-seeding and show how to calibrate it to achieve the proper seeding depth and seeding rate.

Drought conditions during 2007, 2008 and 2010 have caused severe thinning of many pastures and hayfields in Kentucky. Over-seeding these fields on a regular basis will ensure that you have the most forage production for your livestock.

The Pasture Walks will be a new addition to the Master Grazer Program, funded through the Ky. Agricultural Development Fund in partnership with the Kentucky Beef Network.  If you are interested in attending and becoming part of this program, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 845-2811. There is no fee to attend. The remaining three pasture walks are scheduled for Aug. 4, Sept. 6 and Oct. 6.
Phase I deadline nearing

All Henry County farmers are reminded that the deadline for applying for 2011 KADF Phase I Cost Share Funds is nearing.  Applications are available at the Henry County Extension Office, and should be returned there no later than 4 p.m., Friday, June 10.  The application requires name, Social Security number or Farm Tax ID, and the Farm Service Agency number for the farm which must be located in Henry County. 
Every now and then, someone will ask who is eligible to apply.  Actually, anyone who has land in Henry County which has an FSA farm number is eligible.  However, there can be only one application per farm, sometimes requiring  families to decide up front who will receive the cost share funding should their application be successful.  

What is meant by a successful application?  An application selected for approval in the KADF Phase I Cost Share program will be complete (meaning all necessary information is given and all 9 questions about the farming operation are answered), turned in by the June 10 deadline, and will have scored highly enough to be ranked ‘in the money’.  All applications are ranked from highest to lowest score, with the highest ranking receiving funding until the funds are all spoken for.  Henry County will have about $300,000 in funds, with a successful application eligible to receive a maximum of $2,500 if at least $5,000 is spent on eligible cost share projects.  If everyone asks for the maximum amount of $2,500, then only the 120 top ranking applicants can be approved.  All applicants scoring lower than that 120th position will be sent a letter stating that their application could not be approved at this time, however that may not be the end of the story.

In our experience, not everyone who is approved for the $2,500 cost share will use all the funds set aside for them by the deadline given in their approval letter.  For example, farmer A buys a bull and does some fencing, with total receipts of $4,000.  The 50 percent cost share amount will be $2,000.  The remaining $500 of the original $2,500 he was approved for will be placed in a pool of ‘unused’ cost share funds until the next ranking farmer applicant can be fully funded, at which time they are notified of approval and given a time to do a project and turn in receipts for cost share funding.

I’ve probably confused some with this explanation, yet this policy and procedure has worked very well in Henry County for several years now.  We have been able to cost-share with many farmers, and have been successful in getting nearly every dollar of Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement funds into farmers hands every year.  Bottom line, make your application by the June 10 deadline and see how it plays out.