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News from Around the Farm World - Oct. 24, 2012
Authorities: Body found after mid-Michigan barn fire

BUSHNELL TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities said an unknown person’s badly burned body has been found after a fire inside a mid-Michigan barn owned by the parents of state Sen. Judy Emmons. The victim isn’t a relative of the Republican lawmaker from Sheridan. and WOOD-TV said authorities received a report of the fire early Oct. 16. The farm is in Montcalm County’s Bushnell Township, about 45 miles northwest of Lansing. The sheriff’s department is investigating the death, and authorities said they’re sending the victim’s body to Michigan State University for identification. They said the age and sex of the victim weren’t immediately clear.

A state fire marshal is assisting the investigation, and the cause hasn’t been announced. Emmons said her parents live about two miles from the barn.

Ohio drought workshop rescheduled to November

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Thomas Guevara, deputy assistant secretary for Regional Affairs at the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, joined Arkansas, federal and local officials Oct. 17 for a regional workshop to outline resources available to assist with drought recovery efforts.

The USDA is partnering with others to hold the workshops. More than 150 participants, including stakeholders, discussed the drought’s effects on water quality and quantity, community and economic impacts, forestry, and agriculture and agribusiness. Currently, more than two-thirds of the country is affected by the drought.

The next workshop will be in November in Ohio. It was originally going to be scheduled for later this month.

EPA extends comment period on Iowa livestock farms

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has extended the comment period on proposals by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to change regulations of livestock operations to be in compliance with federal Clean Water Act.

The Des Moines Register said the EPA has extended the period by two weeks, until Oct. 31. In July, the EPA said Iowa’s program is not sufficient to assess whether livestock confinements need to obtain federal waste discharge permits. It also said Iowa’s inspection program is inadequate and the state failed to act in nearly half of the water quality violation cases against cattle farms that the EPA reviewed.

The report was done in response to a petition filed in 2007 by three environmental groups that alleged Iowa fell far short of meeting enforcement requirements.

SURE signup for 2011 crop losses begins

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced the signup period for the 2011 crop year Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE) opened Monday and ends June 7, 2013.

The SURE Program authorizes assistance to farmers who suffered crop losses caused by natural disasters occurring through Sept. 30, 2011. Production losses due to disasters occurring after that date are not eligible for disaster program coverage, as the disaster provisions of the farm bill expired on that date.

Producers considered socially disadvantaged, a beginning farmer or a limited-resources farmer may be eligible for SURE without a policy or plan of insurance or NAP coverage. For more information, contact your local FSA office or visit

Iowa group that promotes agriculture loses funding

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — An eastern Iowa nonprofit that promotes agricultural education and preservation has lost most of its funding because of Congressional gridlock over the federal budget.
The Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area lost about three-quarters of its funding because the latest short-term budget resolution didn’t include money for the National Park Service to review the group. Organization President Don Short said he was surprised to learn his group had lost funding.

“It’s going to change the way we do business a little bit. But we are still going to be in business,” Short said.

Silos and Smokestacks helps more than 100 eastern Iowa farms, museums and nature areas. It also helps educate area students about farming and agriculture by organizing field trips and sponsoring internships.

Short said he hopes lawmakers will restore temporary funding for his organization, but the earliest that could happen would be after the November election. In fiscal 2012, $709,733 of the organization’s $816,000 budget came from federal funding.