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Published March 26, 2012, 08:39 AM

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CRP signup deadline April 6

By: Agweek staff and wire reports, Agweek

CRP signup deadline April 6

• FARGO, N.D. — USDA’s North Dakota Farm Service Agency state executive director Aaron Krauter is reminding producers that FSA is conducting a Conservation Reserve Program general signup until April 6. “CRP has been an important part of our landscape for the last 25 years and has provided great environmental and economic benefits to North Dakotans,” Krauter says “This general signup is an opportunity for our producers to continue this voluntary program.” Landowners are encouraged to contact their local county offices to discuss enrolling land in CRP. Land offered during the general signup is ranked according to an environmental benefits index based on the relative environmental benefits of the land offered. Krauter expects the general signup to be competitive because there are more than 6.5 million acres expiring across the country in 2012. “In North Dakota alone, we’re looking at over 830,000 acres of CRP expiring this year, so there’s a lot of interest in getting land re-enrolled,” Krauter says. “There are several enhancements to offers that producers can make that will make their offer more competitive.”Producers are also reminded that if offered acreage is not accepted during the general CRP signup, land devoted to certain practices may still be eligible to be enrolled in CRP through the noncompetitive continuous CRP signup. Information: Local county offices or www.fsa.usda.gov.

Hoeven invites NRCS head to ND to meet with farmers

• WASHINGTON — Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., on March 22 met with Dave White, head of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to call for consistent and sensible rules governing compliance with wetland conservation requirements. Hoeven also invited White to come to North Dakota this spring to meet with area producers and find workable policies for determining wetlands designations. Since the 1985 farm bill, farmers need certifications from the NRCS to make certain improvements to their land that could affect wetlands. Recently the NRCS has begun the process of creating a new regional policy to ensure consistent implementation of existing requirements. White says the agency expects to issue new guidance in the coming weeks. Farmers have shared concerns with Hoeven that implementation of wetlands compliance laws have been unclear and inconsistent. They are concerned that the rules are being inconsistently applied from state to state and that heavy precipitation in recent years in much of North Dakota is resulting in wetlands being misdesignated. Hoeven pressed White to explain the agency’s policy on wetland determinations and emphasized that conservation programs have to be workable for North Dakota farmers and ranchers. Hoeven says North Dakota farmers are telling him that local NRCS officials are coming out to their farms and drawing new maps of their fields that seem to indicate a wetland area exists where none does. White indicated that the NRCS is working on guidance for wetlands determinations that he feels will be more consistent and workable. White says he is willing to come to North Dakota in the next few weeks to get input from area producers and to review these policies.

Texas drought losses higher than earlier estimated

• HOUSTON — Agriculture officials say losses from Texas’ historic drought are more than $2 billion more than previously thought. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service now estimates crop and livestock losses at $7.62 billion for 2011. The extension service’s preliminary estimate of $5.2 billion in August already topped the previous record of $4.1 billion in 2006. Extension service spokesman Blair Fannin gave the Associated Press the data on losses March 21 before it was publicly released. Texas has a long history of drought. Since 1998, it has cost the state’s agriculture industry more than $14 billion. Last year was the driest in state history.

Thune seeks to block rules on farm youth jobs

• PIERRE, S.D. — Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., has introduced a bill seeking to prevent the U.S. Labor Department from imposing rules that would limit the jobs children can do on farms. Thune says the proposed ruled would prohibit those younger than 18 from handling livestock in some circumstances or operating some farm machinery. The rules would exempt children working on their families’ farms from some of the restrictions. Thune says the proposed rules would unnecessarily restrict the participation of young people in agricultural activities. He says the rules would prohibit common practices on farms and would hamper the training of young people in agricultural work. Thune and fellow Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas introduced the bill seeking to block the rules. Thune says 36 other senators have signed on as co-sponsors.

Kraft Foods to rename snacks company Mondelez

• NORTHFIELD, Ill. — Kraft Foods Inc. says its new global snacks company will be named Mondelez International Inc. Mondelez was inspired by the suggestions of two Kraft employees. It is intended to evoke the idea of a “delicious world” as “monde” is derived from the Latin word for “world” and “delez” as an expression of “delicious.” Kraft announced in August that it would be splitting in two by the end of 2012 so both sides of the business could focus better on their priorities. The North American grocery business will continue to carry the company name as Kraft Foods Group Inc., selling products such as Maxwell House coffee and Oscar Mayer meats. Its larger global snacks business will take on the new name creation to sell Trident gum and Cadbury chocolates in fast-growing countries worldwide. Kraft says it asked employees from around the world to suggest names for the new company. More than 1,000 employees submitted more than 1,700 names for consideration.

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