USDA reaches out to farmers, ranchers

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture is hosting a Farmer & Producer Outreach Briefing today from 5:30pm to 7pm at the Northern Marianas College, Agriculture Building, J-15.

The briefings, which will be conducted by the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources and Conservation Service, will give farmers and agricultural producers updates on disaster assistance, as well as information about the 2018 Farm Bill.

CNMI FSA committee chair Ramon “RB” Camacho said that farmers who are not registered with the FSA might get covered with the new Farm Bill.

“It’s an opportunity for us, local farmers here,” Camacho said. “In this outreach, farmers who are not registered [under FSA] might get covered with this new Farm Bill, [as well as] the existing farmers that register in this program.”

FSA provides farmers under the program compensation for crop loss due to natural disasters.

Camacho urges farmers to attend the workshop and see how it will benefit them.

NRCS District conservationist Pamela M. Sablan said that they will be providing support based on what can be done on their side.

“We really didn’t have disaster assistance. It’s usually through [the FSA]. Whoever the [FSA] would have as new customers, or existing customers, they will check with us if we’re already working with them or not,” Sablan said.

Updates to the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program include the addition of potential resource concerns related to beneficial cost-effective operation changes; the increase in the cap for organic producers to $140,000 over six years; and the new enrollment option through incentive contracts to address priority resource concerns.

The update would also require an advance payment option to be offered to underserved producers, and authorizes direct program assistance to irrigation districts, including acequias and other entities, for purposes of improving water use efficiencies.

FSA and NRCS will also be conducting a similar Farmer & Producer Outreach Briefing on Rota tomorrow, Sept. 18, from 1pm to 2:30pm at the Rota Mayor’s Conference Hall.

For more information, contact the FSA Customer Service Center at (671) 472-7568 or (671) 300-8550.

Iva Maurin | Author
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at iva_maurin@saipantribune.com

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