Ag news briefs
Sales closing date nears for crop insurance TALLAHASSEE ? The United States Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency reminds farmers that Monday is the sales closing date for crop insurance. This applies to crop insurance policies for potatoes in Charlotte, Collier, Highlands, Indian River, Lee, Manatee and Okeechobee counties; oats in Alachua, Calhoun, Escambia, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Levy, Okaloosa, Walton and Washington counties; sugarcane in Glades, Hendry, Martin and Palm Beach counties; and wheat in all counties. The sales closing date is the last day to buy a new policy or change an existing policy's coverage level.It is sold and delivered through private crop insurance agents. Contact a local crop insurance agent for more information about the program. A list of agents is available at all USDA Service Centers or on the RMA website at www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agents/. Nominations sought for Ag Woman of the Year TALLAHASSEE ? Florida Department of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is now accepting nominations for 2013 Woman of the Year in Agriculture. This prestigious award is given to a woman leader who makes a significant contribution to Florida's agriculture industry. Last year, Putnam honored Imogene Yarborough from Geneva at the Florida State Fair during the Woman of the Year in Agriculture luncheon. To nominate someone, go online to http://forms.freshfromflorida.com/01597.pdf, fill out the application and mail to: Commissioner Adam H. Putnam, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Office of External Affairs, ATTN: Cheryl F. Flood, Florida Citrus Building, 500 3rd Street NW, Winter Haven, FL 33881. Wash. lumber company fined after worker injured TUMWATER, Wash. (AP)- State regulators have fined a south-central Washington lumber company more than $244,000 for dozens of safety and health violations after a worker got caught in machinery and was seriously hurt. The SDS Lumber Co. of Bingen has appealed the citations from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries. The agency said last Tuesday that a lack of training and proper safety procedures left a plywood plant worker with severe injuries last March when his arms became entangled in machinery while trying to clear a jam. L and I says its investigation found that supervisors were aware that workers routinely bypassed machinery safety guards to try and clear jams while machinery was still in motion. SDS President Jason Spadaro says the company "strongly disagrees" with that conclusion. Company lawyer Aaron Owada says the citation is not based on an impartial investigation, nor are the citations supported by the evidence. SDS says it has cooperated fully with the investigation. Labor and Industries says many of the violations were corrected during the inspections. Minn. crops far from mature as weather turns cool ST. PAUL, Minn.(AP) - The frost that arrived in northern Minnesota last week spared the state's prime farming regions, where major crops are far from mature. Just 5 percent of the state's corn crop has reached maturity, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said last Monday, and just 21 percent of soybeans have hit the leaf-dropping stage. An early frost is a greater-than-usual worry because Minnesota farmers got such a late start to the growing season, which started out cold and wet before it suddenly turned warm and very dry. "We had enough heat - we just didn't have enough rainfall to go with it. So we were praying for the wrong thing," Seth Naeve, a University of Minnesota soybean specialist, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Last week the USDA lowered Minnesota's projected soybean yield from 41 to 39 bushels an acre. Naeve said he wouldn't be surprised to see yields in the 37-39 bushel range. Corn yields were forecast at 166 bushels per acre - good but no record. "I have had a hard time finding a lot of soybeans that were excellent, but I've found a lot of soybeans that were pretty poor," Naeve said. Heavy rains hurt W.Va. pumpkin crop HUNTINGTON, W.Va.(AP) - The search for that perfect pumpkin may be a bit tougher this year. Heavy rains this summer ruined some West Virginia farmers' pumpkin crops. "I'm in low-lying ground, and it rained about 20 days after they were planted," said Kim Jackson of Kim's Greenhouse in Milton. "... It was pretty much a disaster this year on pumpkins. We lost most of them." That meant some pumpkin buyers had to look outside the state for their bulk purchases. Cabell County Circuit Judge Paul Farrell buys about 50 pumpkins to carve each year and said he found a farm in Athalia, Ohio, with a good crop. And employee Teresa Spurlock of Floyd's Fruit & Flowers in Barboursville said shipments have arrived from a grower in Crown City, Ohio. The West Virginia Pumpkin Festival is set for early next month and organizers said there won't be a shortage of jack-o'-lanterns. "Locally, there's probably a little shortage because we had a little rain and they rotted and vines didn't grow, but there are lot in North Carolina and Ohio and around," said Boyd Meadows of Meadows Produce in Milton. "The Pumpkin Festival has them already to bring in to give to the kids. They usually have several thousand." V&J Farms co-owner Vallery Withrow in Scott Depot said rain wasn't the problem for her pumpkin patch this year. Deer were. She told The Herald-Dispatch that her husband saw a dozen of them in their field at one point. While the couple planted more pumpkins than usual, "we're not going to be able to have anything," she said. "We didn't have this problem with deer before, but this year, it's been awful. "We took a big loss. We hope next year we'll be able to keep the deer under control."