Delmarva Farmer

Bridge collapse will surely affect state’s ag industry (Keeping the Farm)



(Editor’s note: John Sullivan is the state executive director  for Farm Service Agency, Maryland.)

The only constant in life is change, and in agriculture there is no exception.
We are still waking up to a big change in the Port of Baltimore.
And though it will be a while before we know the full ramifications of the Key Bridge collapse, it isn’t hard to imagine shipping out of the Port of Baltimore will be affected.
We are fortunate in that there are other ports relatively nearby that will keep the flow of grain moving, but there may be additional costs that will affect the producers in our area’s bottom line.
The affects won’t just be on the outgoing side as the port also plays a role in bringing in other much needed material such as fertilizer and equipment.
In other parts of the country, Texas is dealing with an avian influenza (AI) outbreak in their dairy cattle.
This is the first time we have seen AI in dairy cattle. Though the milk supply remains safe, this can certainly lead to a drop off in appetite and production.
The cows generally recover within a week to ten days and do not need to be euthanized as we see in cases of AI within poultry.
With the amount of poultry in the Delmarva region, any case of AI is something to take seriously and though the outbreak is taking place out west, this is a good reminder to remain vigilant with your biosecurity measures on your own farm.
Finally I would like to take this time to remind our dairy producers the deadline for the Dairy Margin Coverage program is April 29.
DMC is a voluntary program that provides diary operations with coverage that will pay producers when the difference between the national price of milk and the average cost of feed falls below a certain level selected by the program participants.
In Maryland we have issued $28 Million over the life of this farm bill for DMC. Though it is preferable to not need this program, we are proud that we have been able to provide this much assistance.
Sign up is under way and we have already issued payments for January, but if you would like to participate and have yet to visit our office, keep that April 29th date in mind.
If you have any additional questions with regards to DMC, or any other FSA program, please visit your local county office.
The good news for our agricultural community is that change isn’t the only constant. The dedication and promise that your local FSA office will be here to help is also a constant.
Whether it be through disaster assistance or price support we are here to support the industry. And in a world where you can wake up to news that changes everything, that is good to know.

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