Create a Crop'
Over the past five years, farmers in the northern plains states have battled
the weather and crop diseases. Wheat and barley scab, sunflower midge and
potato blight have hit farmers hard throughout the region. The Flood of
1997 took its toll in the Red River Valley.
Federal crop insurance benefits progressively worsened because they were
based on a ten-year crop production average. Farmers can't get bank loans
because they no longer can get crop insurance. Disaster programs were
phased out by the 1996 "Freedom to Farm" bill.
An innovative program was unveiled this morning to aid farmers in the
northern plains. "Create A Crop" is an Internet page set up to allow
farmers to help farmers.
"Create A Crop" is a creation of the local Rural Recovery Task Force, which
is made up of flood recovery personnel, county extension educators, county
commissioners in 12 counties in northwestern Minnesota and the University of
Minnesota Crookston. "Create A Crop is designed to help Upper Midwest
farmers who can't get Farm Service Agency operation loans," says Kay Hegge,
Flood Recovery Coordinator of the Northwest Regional Development Commission.
Hegge, one of the designers of Create A Crop explains the web page outlines
the plight of the Red River Valley farmers. "In order to save their farms,
they need donations, everything from cash, seed, fertilizer, fuel, feed,
chemicals, labor, custom combining, equipment, and transportation," Hegge
says. The web page includes information on how to take a donation. Farmers
taking assistance can also apply through the World Wide Web.
The website address is http://outreach.crk.umn.edu/cr8crop.
"This is the first time a farm assistance program of this type has been
initiated in this area," Hegge says. The concept of Create A Crop is
loosely based on the One Good Cow program introduced last spring in Montana.
Ranchers donated "one good cow" to help others whose herds were decimated by
blizzards, storms, and floods.
Hegge hopes that Create A Crop will have a wider ranging impact on
agriculture in the Red River Valley. "One of the goals of Create A Crop is
to encourage the use of alternative crops such as neutraceuticals, alfalfa,
corn, canola, crambe, flax, rapeseed, grain sorghum, oats, soybeans, organic
soybeans, edible beans, field peas, sugar beets, safflower and
midge-resistant varieties of sunflowers. Buckwheat and cultivated mustard
can be planted as late and June 15.
Any of these seeds and related needs could be donated and distributed to
farmers," she says. For those who have planted already using their bank
cards, Create a Crop could Finish the Crop. Transportation and handling
details for the donations are still being worked out.
Hegge emphasizes that immediate action is needed if Create A Crop is going
to benefit farmers this year. "Because of the relatively short growing
season, it's vital that farmers get their crop in by May 30," she says. All
donations to Create A Crop are tax deductible.
For more information on Create A Crop, call Kay Hegge toll-free at (877)
e-mail at email@example.com or the Northwest Regional Development Commission
To Unsubscribe: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
To Subscribe to Digest: Email email@example.com with the command
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at: