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LA rice heads to Haiti

Rice farmers and a Lake Charles rice mill are donating rice for Haitians to eat after the massive earthquake hit last month.

The Louisiana Rice Growers Association (LRGA) has agreed to buy two tons of rice, and Farmer’s Rice Mill is donating five tons in addition to providing a 10 percent match to any other rice donated for the cause. Jeff Durand, LRGA chairman, says Louisiana rice farmers were blessed in 2009 with an abundant crop, and it’s only natural that growers would help the earthquake victims. He says farmers give rice to food banks and other charities every year.

Rice is a staple food in Haiti, Durand says, and the country has been a regular customer of the U.S. rice industry. Several rice farmers have individually bought rice to ship to Haiti, he adds.

Jamie Warshaw, manager of Farmer’s Rice Mill, says two large shipments of rice from the U.S. government, one for 4,500 tons and another for 6,500 tons, are being loaded on vessels at the Port of Lake Charles to sail for Haiti.

He says the rice donated by farmers and the mill is being barged to Haiti by Friend Ships International.

Steve Linscombe, director of the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station, says he’s not surprised by the generosity.

“Farmers are charitable by nature, and Louisiana’s rice farmers especially are eager to help those in need,” Linscombe says.


Langley addresses effect of new payment rules

USA Rice Federation VP Government Affairs Reece Langley told rice growers recently that the new rules on adjusted gross income (AGI) and payment eligibility announced by the USDA in early January should not adversely affect most producers.

Speaking at the joint annual meeting of the Louisiana Rice Council and Louisiana Rice Growers Association, Langley said that USDA has established a memorandum of understanding with the IRS so that producers who sign up for farm programs must first complete a consent form and send it to the IRS. Langley said the IRS will then conduct calculations for each individual to determine if they meet the new AGI limits in the Farm Bill and will send a report back to USDA, which will list those who are in compliance and those who may not be in compliance. Those on the non-compliant list will be required to visit their local Farm Service Agency office to document that they are, in fact, in compliance.

“Hopefully, this will take a lot of burden off people because the vast majority of people should be within the AGI limits and should not have an issue with the new requirements,” Langley says.


Firestone offers new line of agricultural tires

Firestone brand agricultural tires has unveiled a new class of farm tires for today’s larger, heavier machinery. The new line of Firestone farm tires features Advanced Deflection Design (AD2) technology, which allows greater sidewall flexibility.

The tires meet the North American Tire and Rim Association’s Increased Flexion (IF) standard. Compared with standard Firestone radials, Firestone tires with AD2 technology can carry heavier loads at the same pressure, or the same load at lower pressures. That’s important for farmers as they continue to operate larger, higher horsepower equipment, according to Tom Rodgers, director of marketing for Bridgestone Americas Agricultural Group, which produces Firestone farm tires.

Compared with standard Firestone radials, tires built with the AD2 technology, because of their unique construction, will offer several advantages to farmers. They can carry a load up to 20 percent greater than standard radials of the same size.

“That means the operator can carry heavier loads or add ballast to a tractor without having to raise air pressure in the tires,” Rodgers explains.

“Alternatively, they can carry the same weight at lower inflation pressures to reduce soil compaction.”

Tires with the AD2 technology have a footprint that is larger than that of a same-size standard radial tire. The larger footprint improves traction to help reduce both field time and fuel consumption, while reducing soil compaction.

The first Firestone farm tires with AD2 technology will be available during the first quarter of 2010 through Certified Firestone Farm Tire Dealers and as options from major tractor manufacturers.

The tires will come in five sizes, two for front-axle applications on MFWD tractors and three drive tires for MFWD and both axles on 4WD machines.

More information is available from Certified Firestone Farm Tire Dealers and on the Web at www.firestoneag.com.


Irrigation Drive Shaft Shield

Menard Manufacturing has designed an irrigation drive shaft shield that provides 360 degree protection. The unit features universal mounting brackets and has a side access door for maintenance and inspection. Our goal is to prevent clothing or personal contact with the rotating shaft and to contain the shaft should a u-joint fail. Protect your family and workers, install shields on all rotating shafts. We also manufacture stainless rice shovels.
Visit our website (www.menardsales.com) for more products!


Rice insects blog launched

LSU AgCenter entomologist Natalie Hummel has just launched a Louisiana rice insects blog. Read the blog at the following link: louisianariceinsects.wordpress.com.

“I plan to update every couple of days, or as frequently as appropriate, to inform you about new developments in the Lou-isiana rice Extension entomology program. I’ll keep each blog brief and to the point. Please provide comments if something is of interest to you, or if you have ideas for future programs/research,” Hummel says.


Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) will attend the Gin Show

The Mid-South Farm & Gin Show will host Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, at the Cook Convention Center, Memphis, Tenn., Saturday, Feb. 27, at 1:30 p.m.

“Times are hard for our farmers and, as the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I will use this opportunity to hear first-hand from industry and growers on the challenges they face as they plan for the future,” Lincoln says. “Together we will work to ensure that our agricultural producers can continue to meet our food and fiber needs, while providing much needed economic strength to our rural communities.”


LSU AgCenter recognizes 23 producers as master farmers

A group of 23 Louisiana farmers, including one married couple and a father and son, recently attained the status of master farmer – a title that means they have not only learned the latest in conservation practices, but they are implementing them on their farms.

“This group joins 92 others who’ve been certified for a total of 115,” says Ernest Girouard, coordinator of the Master Farmer Program for the LSU AgCenter, “This is an elite group.”

The Master Farmer Program, which began in 2001 as a way for farmers to learn up-to-date, research-based conservation practices in a comprehensive manner, is a partnership of five agricultural entities – the LSU AgCenter, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, Louisiana Cattleman’s Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), which has the authority by law through the Commissioner of Agriculture to approve the certification.

 

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