Applications must be turned in by Nov. 16

Jim Wells County Farm Bureau President Bob Greer is urging residents wanting to take part in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to get their enrollment forms turned in soon.

"This is a very useful tool offered to agricultural producers from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)," Greer said. "It helps farmers and ranchers install conservation practices and management systems on their land. Not only does it help the producer, but it helps preserve our local resources and address potential problems before they become more serious environmental issues."

EQIP applications must be turned in by Nov. 16 to be eligible for funding.

To sign up for EQIP or to get more information, contact the NRCS office serving your county. Look in the phone book under "U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture," or find your service center on the Web at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.

You can also get information about Texas NRCS conservation technical assistance and programs at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.

Passage of Peru trade agreement key to U.S. agriculture

Jim Wells County Farm Bureau President Bob Greer is urging Congress to approve a pending trade agreement with Peru which would increase the value of U.S. farm exports by more than $705 million a year after implementation.

"Texas farmers and ranchers would benefit greatly from this agreement, which requires the elimination of all tariffs on all agricultural products exported by the United States to Peru," he said. "Of gains projected after full implementation, U.S. exports of the major grain, fiber and livestock products would exceed $475 million annually."

Congress not only needs to take prompt action on an agreement with Peru, but with agreements with Colombia and Panama as well, Greer said. The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates passage of these three agreements would increase U.S. agricultural exports by almost $1.5 billion per year by the time the agreements are fully implemented.

Bob Greer said Peru and Colombia received duty-free access to the U.S. market under the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA), but U.S. products entering those countries continue to face significant duties. He suggested ATPDEA is a disadvantage to U.S. farmers and ranchers if it is not balanced with passage of pending trade agreements with those countries.

"Congress quick passage of the Peru agreement, along with the Colombia and Panama agreements, would demonstrate their commitment to promoting U.S. agricultural trade," Greer said.

County Farm Bureau congratulates TDA on agency's 100th anniversary

The Jim Wells County Farm Bureau extends congratulations to the Texas Department of Agriculture on 100 years of service to the industry.

"TDA has been a constant through a century of remarkable developments in agriculture in this state," said Bob Greer, president of the Jim Wells County Farm Bureau. "We congratulate Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and the TDA on this milestone occasion."

The TDA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1907. Bob Greer says it's been led by 11 commissioners and has been a reliable partner of the state's farmers and ranchers.

"TDA's current programs include the Go Texan marketing program, which encourages consumers to buy Texas products, and direct marketing assistance to companies producing agricultural products," Greer said.

Bob Greer also cited the Boll Weevil eradication program as a primary factor in Texas becoming the nation's top cotton producing state.

"The relationship between TDA, Farm Bureau and the agricultural families of this state is an important factor in the industry's future success," Greer said.