RCS Alabama Announces Drought Funding

 

Eligible Landowners with Grazing Lands Encouraged to Apply

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2017 – USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist for Alabama Ben Malone announced that the agency is providing funding to assist landowners impacted by last year’s extreme drought. Agricultural producers statewide suffered losses from months with low rainfall. Eligible landowners are encouraged to apply by July 28, 2017. Alabama landowners living in counties identified as high priority will be assigned the highest priority for financial assistance because they were impacted the most by the drought.

Funding will be provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and will address fencing, water troughs, pasture, hay land re-establishment, wells, and prescribed grazing. In addition to others, these practices will not only help landowners recover losses from the drought, they will serve as a proactive step to help landowners in the event of future drought situations. Measures such as planting drought affected cool season grasses such as fescue and installing water tanks and fencing will make lands more sustainable.

“Landowners across the state have weathered the drought for months and these funds will assist them in replenishing losses and doing what they can to help their grazing lands recover,” said State Conservationist Ben Malone.

During the worst of the drought, USDA reported more than $30 million in disaster funds were distributed nationally for livestock feed programs and non-insured disaster support. In addition, because livestock feed was in short supply, cattle sales were 19% ahead of 2015. This impacted the value of livestock that was sold.

Alabama landowners who are interested in applying for drought funding should contact their local USDA NRCS service center in Tallapoosa County at 256-329-3084, Ext 2, Monday-Friday 7:30 – 4:00 and in Coosa County at 256-377-4750, Monday, Wednesday & Friday, 7:30 – 4:30 to learn more.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to:  USDA Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).

"Throw Away Day" – a County-wide cleanup – is Saturday, April 23rd

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The first ever “Throw Away Day”, a Tallapoosa County-wide cleanup, is scheduled for Saturday, April 23rd.  The Tallapoosa County Commission will place dumpsters in 12 locations throughout the county.  Residents are encouraged to bring their large items, such as sofas and mattresses,  that are too big for curbside garbage cans.  There is no charge for using the dumpsters.

This effort was put in place to discourage illegal dumping which has become a big problem throughout the county.  We also hope to encourage citizens to take action and help clean up and care for our communities.  Various groups ranging from church youth groups to city wide events are planned in conjunction with the “Throw Away Day” dumpsters.  Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of the dumpsters provided and to join clean up events in their neighborhoods and communities.

Tallapoosa County is beautiful and offers many natural resources that we do not want to take for granted.  We need to keep our county clean!

Dumpster Locations:

  • District 1 – Downtown Alexander City-next to City Hall
  • District 2 – Double Bridge area on Highway 63 near mile marker 25
  • District 3 – (3 locations)-Hackneyville Community Center, New Site County Shop and New Site Volunteer Fire Department
  • District 4 – (3 locations)-Across from Siggars Grocery on Gibson Road, Camp Hill Town Hall and County Shop in Dadeville
  • District 5 – (4 locations)-Red Ridge Methodist on Highway 34, Wall Street Nutrition Center in Tallassee, Reeltown Volunteer Fire Department and Union Volunteer Fire Department

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Roadside Clean Up Locations:

  • Pearson Rd.- led by New Providence Baptist Church
  • Hackneyville- led by Hackneyville Community Club
  • New Site along Sanford Rd.- led by Rocky Creek Baptist Church RAs and GAs
  • Downtown Alex City- led by City of Alex City, PATH and Young Professionals
  • Union Fire Department- led by Tommy Abernathy
  • Camp Hill- led by the Town Council
  • Frog Eye- led by Natalie Haynes

Organizers include Middle Tallapoosa Clean Water Partnership, Tallapoosa County Cooperative Extension and John Thompson. Funding for the event is provided by the Tallapoosa County Commission, Middle Tallapoosa Clean Water Partnership, Lake Martin Resource Association and Russell Lands.

We encourage everyone to participate in this first ever county wide event. For questions regarding the dumpsters or for more information on how to join a clean up event or schedule an event in your neighborhood, please contact John Thompson at jthompson@lmra.info /  334-399-3289 or Sabrina Wood at sabrinawood@live.com / 334-429-8832, or Shane Harris, Tallapoosa County Extension, at 256-825-1050.

Alabama Cottage Food Law: Food Safety Training Course

Food Safety and Preservation

Alabama Cottage Food Law – Start Your Home Base Business

Please contact the Bibb County Extension Office at 205-926-4310 for information on the next training to be held at the First US Bank, Brent, AL on Thursday, July 30, 2015, 10:00 A.M.—12:30 P.M..

The new Cottage Food Law went into effect June 1, 2014. This law will allows anyone to prepare nonhazardous foods at their home and sell directly to consumers. Nonhazardous foods specified by the new law include cakes, cookies, dried herbs, jams and jellies.

Janice Hall, Regional Extension Agent in Food Safety, Preservation and Preparation says that while these foods are not subject to inspection by the local public health department, the preparers of these foods are required to attend a food safety course. This food safety course, which is required by the new Cottage Food Law, teaches basic food safety steps with the goal of ensuring that the food sold to friends and neighbors is as safety as possible. The concepts taught in this class will apply specifically to foods prepared in the home. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the course.

The Cottage Food Law requires entrepreneurs to attend this prescribed safety course every 5 years. The cost of each course will be $25. The ServSafe certification that provided by Alabama Extension and other agencies can also be used to comply with the new law.

Under the new cottage food law, home prepared food cannot be sold to restaurants, novelty chops, grocery stores or over the Internet.Likewise, the law prohibits certain foods from being sold to directly to consumers, including baked goods with ingredients that require refrigeration. These include custard pies, Danish with creamed fillings and cakes with whipped toppings. Products that are also prohibited under the law include juices from fruits and vegetables, milk products, soft and hard cheeses, pickles, barbecue sauces, canned fruits and vegetables, garlic in oil and meats in any form.

The Cottage Food Law also requires entrepreneurs to include labels on their products bearing the following information: the name of the individual entrepreneur(s) or business; the address of the individual(s) or business; and the statement that the food is not inspected by the Department of Public Health.

Sales prescribed under the Alabama Cottage Food Law Cannot exceed $20,000.

 

 

Pre-release workforce training for inmates

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Since January 2014, Matt Hartzell and Sharlean Briggs with Alabama Extension have partnered with Dave Drake of the Alabama Career Center System’s Tuscaloosa office to provide workforce preparedness education for nearly 300 pre-release inmates at Bibb Correctional Facility in Brent.  These quarterly presentations cover the do’s and don’ts of applying for a job, interviewing, writing resumes, communicating with potential employers, and keeping a job once employed.  Most inmates indicated on post surveys they were better prepared to seek and obtain employment upon release due to these presentations, whose long term goal is to lower the rate of recidivism, and reduce costs to taxpayers and government.

Agri-Tourism in Alabama

Alabama Agri-Tourism Trail

Agri-tourism can take many forms. Roadside stands and farmers’ markets offer farm-fresh produce and interaction with growers. Farms may open to the public for wildlife watching and hunting. Ag tours, on farm bed-and-breakfasts, and dude ranches give tourists the fresh air, open space, and relaxation of country life.

U-pick operations, pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms, hay mazes, farm-animal petting zoos, wine tasting, ag heritage museums, festivals, and fairs all attract visitors. Do you have a farm, market, or attraction? Get your site listed on the Alabama Agri-Tourism Trail site!

Find your destination on the Alabama Agri-Tourism Trail today!

Community and Economic Development focus strongly on preparing youth and adults for careers

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Bibb County-based programs in Community and Economic Development focus strongly on preparing youth and adults for careers. Doing so is very important, because great opportunities exist at the nearby Mercedes-Benz, Inc. automobile production plant in Vance, as well as with Mercedes’ numerous private sector production suppliers.

Agents Sharlean Briggs and Cynthia Whittaker (shown in photo delivering Career Countdown at West Blocton Middle School) have helped the county Extension team provide workforce education for hundreds of youth and adults in Bibb County. These programs include ‘Get Ready For The Workforce’ for pre-release inmates at Bibb Correctional Facility, the Bibb County Career Fair for adults in Woodstock, Promoting Readiness for Employment Possibilities (PREP) for high school students and adults, a Job Fair in Centreville for a Mercedes supplier, and Career Countdown for 7th graders at West Blocton Middle School and Centreville Middle School.