Nebraska Extension and USDA Farm Service Agency in Nebraska will host a series of Farm Bill education meetings over the next two months to assist producers as they begin to make farm-bill related program decisions. T

The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law last December, reauthorized the existing Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage safety net programs that were in the 2014 Farm Bill, however producers will need to make new program enrollment decisions over the coming months.

While the ARC and PLC programs under the new farm bill remain very similar to the previous farm bill, a few program changes coupled with changes in market conditions and outlook could significantly impact producer decisions.

“These meetings will help producers understand the programs and recent changes, as well as the decisions to be made at sign-up now and in the coming years,” said Nancy Johner, state executive director for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Nebraska. “There are some changes, such as an optional PLC program yield update, and other tweaks to the ARC and PLC programs that producers should consider as they make their selections.”

Brad Lubben, policy specialist with Nebraska Extension, said producers face a familiar choice between ARC and PLC, but under very different circumstances now as compared to 2014.

“Understanding the program mechanics, analysis and available decision tools will help producers make sound enrollment decisions with FSA,” Lubben said.

The joint Nebraska Extension and Nebraska Farm Service Agency producer education meetings are scheduled at 28 locations across the state from late November to mid-December in advance of the coming ARC/PLC enrollment deadlines in early 2020.

The meetings are all free and open to the public. Advance registration is encouraged for planning purposes for materials and facilities. Attendees can register for any of the meetings conveniently on the web at farmbill.unl.edu or by calling or visiting their county FSA or Extension office. The educational programs are each set to run three hours in length, featuring information and insight from FSA specialists and Extension experts, as well as other relevant information from local agencies.

The meetings are available statewide with several locations in each region of the state. The tentative schedule is as follows:

Grand Island: 1 to 4 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 5, College Park.

Kearney: 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, Buffalo County Fairgrounds, Antelope meeting room.

Broken Bow: 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, Custer County Fairgrounds

Ord: 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, Valley County Fairgrounds, exhibit hall.

York: 9 a.m. to noon, Friday, Dec. 6, York County Fairgrounds, Cornerstone Building.

There also are resources available online that can educate producers in their ARC/PLC decision-making process. Links to these resources are available from FSA at www.fsa.usda.gov/ne under the Spotlights section or from Extension at farmbill.unl.edu.

Central Platte Community Wildfire Protection Plan complete; now available online

The Central Platte Community Wildfire Protection Plan for Buffalo, Hall, Hamilton, Howard, Merrick, Nance, Polk, Sherman and York counties, and the northeast part of Dawson County has been completed.

The plan was prepared with the collaboration of counties, emergency managers, fire departments, natural resources agencies and individuals.

This plan is intended to enhance collaboration and communication among the various agencies and organizations who manage fire in the Central Platte region of Nebraska, and to help them effectively prepare for and respond to wildfire.

Landowners in counties that adopted the plan will be eligible to apply for federal and state cost-share funds for vegetative fuels reduction and other hazard mitigation efforts in at-risk areas within the CWPP boundary. The plan may also provide increased opportunities for counties, municipalities, and rural fire districts to seek grant funding for activities related to fire protection.

The plan, part of a statewide network of Community Wildfire Protection Plans, provides information useful to both local emergency responders and those from outside the area who provide mutual aid. The CWPP consolidates and relays critical information needed for responders in unfamiliar terrain.

The final plan is available online at https://nfs.unl.edu/documents/CWPP/CentralPlatte.pdf.

Questions may be directed to sbenson4@unl.edu or (402) 684-2290.

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