Alabama specialty crop farmers who pass a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) certification program can apply for up to $500 in training reimbursements. Cost-share funds are available through the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis or until funds are depleted. Visit agi.alabama.gov to learn more.
-Hunter McBrayer, division director
Beef cattle farmers voted to continue the Alabama Beef Checkoff Program this fall with 97 percent voting “yes.” The checkoff is a voluntary self-help assessment program that funds beef promotion, youth development, cattle production research and producer education. The statewide referendum is held every five years.
-Brian Hardin, Governmental & Ag Programs Department director
China bought at least 500,000 tons of U.S. soybeans Dec. 12 in its first major purchase of the oilseed since President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart struck a trade war truce this month.
-Carla Hornady, division director
There is still time to sign up for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Facilitation Program, which provides direct payments to eligible producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs directly impacted by unjustified foreign retaliatory tariffs. Applications are due Jan. 15. Learn more at farmers.gov/manage/mfp.
-Guy Hall, division director
As demand for lumber continues to rise, the Tuscaloosa-based Westervelt Co. announced construction of a new lumber mill in Thomasville. This is the 134-year old company’s second lumber mill in the state. The Clarke County mill will create 125 jobs and produce around 250 million board feet of Southern yellow pine lumber annually when operations start in 2020.
-William Green, division director
The Alabama-Florida Peanut Trade Show is Feb. 7 in Dothan at the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds. Farmers can visit with more than 70 peanut industry exhibitors. The Alabama Peanut Producers Association annual meeting is the same day. Learn more at alpeanuts.com.
-Caleb Bristow, division director