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Extension Update by Gary Zoubek [November 10, 2011]

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Extension Update by Gary L. Zoubek - Extension Educator

Coming Events

Nov. 12, 2011 – Power of Red Open House, East Campus Union, Lincoln http://casnr.unl.edu/openhouse

Nov. 15, 2011 – Landlord/Tenant Cash Lease Workshop, Sokol Hall, 5:00 p.m., Wilber

Nov. 18, 2011 – York County Corn Grower Banquet and LEAD Presentation, 6:30 p.m., Chances R, York

Nov. 30, 2011 – Farmers/Ranchers College, Dr. Dave Kohl, 1p.m., Opera House, Bruning

Dec. 15-16 – AgSMARTS Program, Extension Office, Seward

Cropping Update

Well,  this fall’s harvest is about in the books!  Over all, I would say it was a good harvest considering the wind, hail and heavy rains!  I’ve heard of some of the best yields ever as well as several situations where the dryland fields did about the same as the irrigated fields.  I guess that is what you’d expect in Nebraska, no year is what we can call average and after attending a “Climate Change” workshop, I think that will continue to be the norm, we’ll want to plan on more varied weather as well as extremes in temperatures and rainfall amounts.  I hope to share some of the information I gathered in future columns!

Now’s a great time to collect soil samples for residual nitrates on fields you are planning to plant to corn next season.  I’d suggest sampling depths of 0-8” and 8-24” or 8-36”.  It’s also a good time to sample for Soybean Cyst Nematodes (SCN) in soybean fields that may not have yielded as you had hoped.  We have SCN sample bags at our office.  The Nebraska Soybean Board is covering the cost for the analysis, so all you need to do is collect those samples!

For your information, soil temperatures have averaged 44.2° F for the week ending last Sunday, slightly below the long term average.

Corn Grower Banquet and LEAD Presentation Planned

Just a reminder, the annual York Count Corn Grower banquet is planned for Friday Nov. 18th at 6:30 p.m. at Chance R here in York.  Tickets can be purchased from us at the Extension Office located at 2345 Nebraska Avenue or from any of the Board of Directors.  Directors with tickets include: Clark Pickrel, Gale Gruber, Rick Gruber, Boyd Stuhr Jr., Ryan Wiens, Dale Moore, Dennis Scamehorn, Bryan Mason, Ron Makovicka, Dave Dickerson, Kim Shepherd, Tom Ritzdorf or Dan Stork!

It should be a great meal and a great LEAD presentation!  I hope you’ll plan to attend!  Reservations need to be made by noon November 16th!  Call us at 402-362-5508 or email me at gzoubek1@unl.edu.

Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Program

About a month ago I shared some information about the Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Program.  The goal of this EPA program is to prevent oil spills into water of the United States.  A key element of the SPCC program calls for farmers and other facilities to have an oil spill plan, called an SPCC plan.  These plans were to be required by Nov. 10, 2011.  I had a question about SPCC this week, so I went to the EPA website and found that on October 18th they amended the date by which the farms must prepare or amend the SPCC plans to May, 2013, so you have a little more time than just a couple days.

This is what I found on the website:  On October 18, 2011, the U.S. EPA amended the date by which farms must prepare or amend and implement their Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans, to May 10, 2013. If EPA receives no adverse comment by November 2, 2011, then the rule will become effective on November 7, 2011.

An overwhelming segment of the continental United States was affected by flooding during the spring and summer of 2011. Other areas were impacted by devastating fires. Many counties in many states were declared disaster areas by either the federal or state government or both. As a result, EPA believes that because of their unique nature farms were disproportionately affected and need additional time to prepare and implement a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan.

The amendment does not remove the regulatory requirement for owners or operators of farms in operation before August 16, 2002, to maintain and continue implementing an SPCC Plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations then in effect.  Such farms continue to be required to maintain plans during the interim until the applicable compliance date for amending and implementing the amended Plans.  Finally, the amendment does not relieve farms from the liability of any oil spills that occur.

Information from my previous column follows:  SPCC applies to a farm which:

  • Stores, transfers, uses or consumes oil or oil products, such as diesel fuel, gasoline, lube oil, hydraulic oil, adjuvant oil, crop oil, vegetable oil or animal fat; and
  • Stores more than 1,320 US gallons in above ground containers or more than 42,000 US gallons in completely buried containers; and
  • Could reasonably be expected to discharge oil to waters of the US or adjoining shorelines, such as interstate waters, intrastate lakes, river, and streams.

If your farm meets all these criteria, then your farm is covered by SPCC.

I’m not sure how many producers this may affect, but for counting purposes, only containers 55 US gallons or above are counted.  Also adjacent or non-adjacent parcels, either leased or owned, may be considered separate facilities for SPCC purposes.  Containers on separate parcels (that the farmer identifies as separate facilities based on how they are operated) do not need to be added together in determining when the 1,320-gallon applicability threshold is met.

If you have more than the 1,320 US gallons or the 42,000 US gallons for underground storage, you need to prepare and implement a SPCC plan.  If the storage that you have at any one location is between 1,320 and 10,000 gallons in aboveground storage containers and your farm has a good spill history, you may prepare and self certify your own plan.  If your farm has more than 10,000 gallons, or has had an oil spill you may need to prepare and SPCC plan certified by a PE.

My understanding is that these plans are not new.  The information you will I need to prepare an SPCC Plan for your farm includes:

  • A list of the oil containers at the farm by parcel (including the contents and location of each container);
  • A brief description of the procedures that you will use to prevent oil spills. For example, steps you use to transfer fuel from a storage tank to your farm vehicles that reduce the possibility of a fuel spill;
  • A brief description of the measures you installed to prevent oil from reaching water (see next section);
  • A brief description of the measures you will use to contain and cleanup an oil spill to water; and
  • A list of emergency contacts and first responders.

If you are eligible to self certify and no aboveground container on your farm is greater than 5,000 gallons in capacity, you may use a plan template that is available on the EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/osweroe1/content/spcc/tier1temp.htm

A couple other links with info about SPCC can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/oem/docs/oil/spcc/spccfarms.pdf

http://www.epa.gov/osweroe1/docs/oil/spcc/qualfac_fs.pdf

Landlord/Tenant Cash Lease Workshops

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension is hosting and a series of Landlord/Tenant Cash Lease Workshops that are sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board.  Those in our area will be held:

Nov. 15 – Wilber, Sokol Hall, Saline County Extension, 402-821-2151

Dec. 6 – Hastings, Adams County Fairgrounds, Adams County Extension, 402-461-7209

Dec. 7 — Central City, Community Room, Merrick County Extension, 308-946-3843

This is one of the topics that I receive many questions about.  Workshops begin with 5 p.m. registration and conclude at 9 p.m. at each location.  Discussion topics will include:

  • expectations from the lease, including goal setting for the rental property;
  • lease communication, determining appropriate information sharing for both the tenant and landlord;
  • tips for farm leases that include relatives;
  • irrigation system questions, as they pertain to setting lease rates; and
  • alternative cash lease arrangements and flexible provision considerations

These workshops are free, but registration is required to reserve a spot.  A meal and handouts are provided, but participation is limited. To register, contact the local Extension Office hosting the workshop.

2011 Ag SMARTS Program Offered in Seward
I mentioned it last week, but wanted to mention it again!  In today’s agriculture, risk management is the name of the game!  With that goal in mind, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension program called Husker Ag SMARTS, can help producers understand this risk and improve business skills.  This six day business management program is designed to do that and topics will include goal setting, business and marketing strategic planning, financial competency, personnel management and succession planning.  These intensive sessions will include interactive discussion, case study analysis, computer-based simulations, hands-on training and practice, and discussions with other successful individuals in the industry who use these skills and concepts.

The program consists of three, two-day work sessions and is limited to 20 participants.  The meeting dates in Seward will be: Dec. 15, Dec. 16, Jan. 10, Jan. 11, Feb. 7 and Feb. 8.

Registration is $600, if registered by November 15.  All educational materials, meals and breaks are included. Participants are responsible for lodging and travel expenses.  To register, a $100 deposit must be submitted when registering and the balance will be due at the end of the first session.  For more information and a registration form, visit: http://johnson.unl.edu/web/johnson/agsmarts.

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