National briefs: Farmers, ranchers hit by hurricanes get more time to claim losses

Wisconsin State Farmer


Irma hits Georgia's pecan, cotton crop; could boost peanuts 

Georgia's agricultural leaders say Irma's path through the state has left pecan and cotton crops vulnerable, but could signal a boon for another signature state crop. 

State Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black told WABE-FM that 50 percent of Georgia's pecan crop might be lost, which will have negative ramifications for an already struggling rural economy. 

Black says U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, a former Georgia governor, will tour the state Friday to assess the damage. 

The station reports that crop consultants estimate between 25 percent and 50 percent of the cotton yield is gone, as cotton is susceptible to high winds as it nears harvest. 

Georgia Agribusiness Council President Brian Tolar expressed concern over the state's timber industry, as well. 

However, Black says the storm's rain could boost Georgia's peanut crop. 


UVM, groups to update Vermont farmer image 

Who farms in Vermont? The University of Vermont and several groups are investigating and plan to update the image of the Vermont farmer. 

They have earned a three-year $90,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that requires them to raise the same amount to tell the story of Vermont's diverse farming community, with more women, young farmers and new Americans now involved. 

UVM, the Vermont Historical Society, the Vermont Folklife Center and the Vermont Farm to School Network will be collaborating on the project. They plan to document the stories of eight Vermont farmers from different backgrounds and areas of the state who vary in age, gender, racial background, and farming sectors. 

Their stories will be included in comic books and digital stories for middle school students. 


Monsanto Pledges $500K to Support Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts 

In response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and neighboring states, Monsanto Company announced that it will donate $500,000 to assist with disaster relief efforts in the region. 

The American Red Cross and Feeding America, through its partnership with Feeding Texas and other impacted food banks, will each receive $250,000 to assist with critical needs for families affected by the storm. The donations will enable the organizations to help those who have lost homes and businesses, and are in need of food and supplies now and during the rebuilding process. 

Prior to Hurricane Harvey making landfall, farmers and ranchers in the region worked around the clock to harvest crops, move livestock and equipment. Monsanto employs more than 800 people in Texas and has sites in several communities in the storm’s path, but to date, all employees are safe and facilities were not significantly damaged. 


Reba McEntire named Farm Bureau keynote speaker

Iconic entertainer Reba McEntire will join AFBF President Zippy Duvall during the Closing General Session of the 2018 AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, for a Q&A keynote touching on her rural roots, family, career and, of course, country music.  

Reba is no stranger to agriculture - she grew up in rural Oklahoma on her family’s 8,000-acre ranch. Now, this multimedia mogul and mom is a household name with a successful career that spans across music, television, film, theater and retail. 

Registration opens Oct. 2.


Big Colorado ranch on market for $100 million 

A 224,000-acre (90,650 hectare) ranch in northwest Colorado is being offered for sale with an asking price of $100 million. 

The Cross Mountain Ranch is owned by the family of the late real estate tycoon Ronald Boeddeker and is a working cattle and sheep ranch. 

With more than 20 miles of riverfront along the Yampa, Little Snake and Williams Fork rivers, the ranch's water rights and hay production can support 2,000 cows and 10,000 sheep. 

The ranch is part of an area that contains the largest concentration of sage grouse in Colorado. The ranch also has a large elk herd. 

The ranch includes several homes, including an 11,000-square-foot, nine-bedroom log lodge and a hunting lodge. 


Farmers, ranchers affected by hurricanes granted extra time to claim losses

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced special procedures to assist producers who lost crops or livestock or had other damage to their farms or ranches as a result of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Also, because of the severe and widespread damage caused by the hurricanes, USDA will provide additional flexibility to assist farm loan borrowers. 

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), is authorizing emergency procedures on a case-by-case basis to assist impacted borrowers, livestock owners, contract growers, and other producers. The measures apply only to counties impacted by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-determined tropical storm, typhoon, or hurricane, including Harvey and Irma that have received a primary Presidential Disaster Declaration and those counties contiguous to such designated counties.  

Financially stressed FSA farm loan borrowers affected by the hurricanes who have received primary loan servicing applications may be eligible for 60 day extensions.  Full details are available at

A more complete listing of all of the special farm program provisions is posted at