Women plea for Rose Hall to remain open

first_imgThe women of Rose Hall and surrounding villages in Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) are calling on the Government to rethink its decision to close the sugar estate. The women joined the picket line on Thursday as workers attached to the Rose Hall Sugar Factory intensified their protest action against the impending closure of the estate.Margret Persaud, a parent whose husband is bedridden, explained that her sales at the pay office market on Fridays are from the workers. If the factory closes, so too will that market, and finding an alternative may prove difficult.Persaud said she is begging for the factor to remain open so that workers can keep their jobs.Some of the women of Rose Hall, Berbice protesting the closure of the estateMeanwhile, another woman explained that as a domestic worker, there will be no need for her if the estate closes. She explained that persons who do domestic work will no longer be needed, as persons will no longer be able to pay them.Women in mainstream business are also worried.Sherry Beeepat, who operates a manufacturing store, also joined the protest on Thursday. She says the furniture manufacturing factory at Canefield, East Canje – which has been in existence for 31 years – will have to close if the estate does. The business is sustained by the estate’s workers.“The closure of the Rose Hall Estate means the closure of my business and I also head the East Canje Humanitarian which assists bedridden and disabled people. The closure of the estate means the closure of our organisation. We do out fundraising in the community… if the estate is closed, where would the people get money to support.”The women who joined their menfolk on the protest line on Thursday are calling for management of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and Government to meet and think of a better solution to the issues currently affecting the industry.They say many families are indebted to lending agencies and also have instalments to pay for household appliances.According to Tina Seepersaud, whose husband is likely to lose his job by year end, the family is indebted to a lending institution and the impending closure could be devastating for her family.“My husband works at the estate and when the estate closes, the property will be taken and we will be on the street. Please, Government see what can be done for the people of Berbice,” she appealed.The ‘white paper’ on sugar was presented to the National Assembly by Agriculture Minister Noel Holder on Monday.Former Agriculture Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy describes the document as a ‘non-paper’, saying it is another cruel and shameless attempt to change the narrative.The white paper, he says, conveniently ignored real questions about consolidation of estates. “Already, Uitvlugt has demonstrated that transportation of canes from Wales to Uitvlugt is filled with problems – transportation of cane to the factory has increased cost of production. The same will be true for canes from most of the Rose Hall cultivation to Albion. In spite of GuSuCO’s denial, Providence cane cultivation which is part of the Rose Hall estate was closed since the end of 2015. Albion which presently boasts the lowest cost of sugar production and the most efficient in terms of cane to sugar ratio will be transformed into a less efficient estate. It will be impossible to maintain Enmore/LBI cultivation since transport to any factory will be prohibitive.”Last year Government closed the Wales factory on the West Bank of Demerara leaving hundreds of persons unemployed. The closure of the Wales Estate is not yet settled, as some workers are still protesting Government’s withholding of their severance pay.Also, the operations of the La Bonne Intention Estate, on the East Coast of Demerara, were amalgamated last year with those of the Enmore Estate in order to make both estates more efficient, according to GuySuCo. The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union has noted that thousands of persons stand to be affected by the closure of these estates which employs persons in the field, factory, security, administrative and managerial sections. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img read more

USDA resources available for 2018 and 2019 disasters for farms

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced this week that agricultural producers affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, including Hurricane Dorian, can apply for assistance through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). Signup for this U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program begins Sept. 11, 2019.“U.S. agriculture has been dealt a hefty blow by extreme weather over the last several years, and 2019 is no exception,” Perdue said. “The scope of this year’s prevented planting alone is devastating, and although these disaster program benefits will not make producers whole, we hope the assistance will ease some of the financial strain farmers, ranchers and their families are experiencing.”More than $3 billion is available through the disaster relief package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in early June. WHIP+ builds on the successes of its predecessor program the 2017 Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP) that was authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. In addition, the relief package included new programs to cover losses for milk dumped or removed from the commercial market and losses of eligible farm stored commodities due to eligible disaster events in 2018 and 2019. Also, prevented planting supplemental disaster payments will provide support to producers who were prevented from planting eligible crops for the 2019 crop year. EligibilityWHIP+ will be available for eligible producers who have suffered eligible losses of certain crops, trees, bushes or vines in counties with a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or a Secretarial Disaster Designation (primary counties only). Disaster losses must have been a result of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms or wildfires that occurred in 2018 or 2019. Also, producers in counties that did not received a disaster declaration or designation may still apply for WHIP+ but must provide supporting documentation to establish that the crops were directly affected by a qualifying disaster loss.A list of counties that received qualifying disaster declarations and designations is available at farmers.gov/recover/whip-plus. Because grazing and livestock losses, other than milk losses, are covered by other disaster recovery programs offered through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), those losses are not eligible for WHIP+. General Eligibility and Payment LimitationsWHIP+ is only designed to provide assistance for production losses, however, if quality was taken into consideration under federal crop insurance or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy, where production was further adjusted, the adjusted production will be used in calculating assistance under this program.Eligible crops include those for which federal crop insurance or NAP coverage is available, excluding crops intended for grazing. A list of crops covered by crop insurance is available through USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) Actuarial Information Browser at webapp.rma.usda.gov/apps/actuarialinformationbrowser.Eligibility will be determined for each producer based on the size of the loss and the level of insurance coverage elected by the producer. A WHIP+ factor will be determined for each crop based on a producer’s coverage level. Producers who elected higher coverage levels will receive a higher WHIP+ factor.The WHIP+ payment factor ranges from 75% to 95%, depending on the level of crop insurance coverage or NAP coverage that a producer obtained for the crop. Producers who did not insure their crops in 2018 or 2019 will receive 70% of the expected value of the crop. Insured crops (either crop insurance or NAP coverage) will receive between 75% and 95% of expected value; those who purchased the highest levels of coverage will receive 95-percent of the expected value.At signup, a producer will be asked to provide verifiable and reliable production records. If a producer is unable to provide production records, WHIP+ payments will be determined based on the lower of either the actual loss certified by the producer and determined acceptable by FSA or the county expected yield and county disaster yield. The county disaster yield is the production that a producer would have been expected to make based on the eligible disaster conditions in the county.WHIP+ payments for 2018 disasters will be eligible for 100% of their calculated value. WHIP+ payments for 2019 disasters will be limited to an initial 50% of their calculated value, with an opportunity to receive up to the remaining 50% after Jan. 1, 2020, if sufficient funding remains.WHIP+ benefits will be subject to a payment limitation of either $125,000 or $250,000 per crop year, depending upon their verified average adjusted gross income. As under 2017 WHIP, the payment limitation for WHIP+ factors in the person’s or legal entity’s income from activities related to farming, ranching, or forestry. Specifically, a person or legal entity, other than a joint venture or general partnership, cannot receive more than $125,000 in payments under WHIP+, if their average adjusted gross farm income is less than 75 percent of their average adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2015, 2016, and 2017. The $125,000 payment limitation is single total combined limitation for payments for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 crop years. However, if at least 75% of the person or legal entity’s average AGI is derived from farming, ranching, or forestry related activities and the participant provides the required certification and documentation, the person or legal entity, other than a joint venture or general partnership, is eligible to receive, directly or indirectly, up to $250,000 per crop year in WHIP+ payments, with a total combined limitation for payments for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 crop years of $500,000. The relevant tax years for establishing a producer’s AGI and percentage derived from farming, ranching, or forestry related activities for WHIP+ are 2015, 2016, and 2017. For information regarding the payment limitation that applies to WHIP+, please contact your local USDA service center or visit farmers.gov/recover. Future insurance coverage requirementsBoth insured and uninsured producers are eligible to apply for WHIP+. But all producers receiving WHIP+ payments will be required to purchase crop insurance or NAP, at the 60 percent coverage level or higher, for the next two available, consecutive crop years after the crop year for which WHIP+ payments were paid. Producers who fail to purchase crop insurance for the next two applicable, consecutive years will be required to pay back the WHIP+ payment. Additional loss coverageThe Milk Loss Program will provide payments to eligible dairy operations for milk that was dumped or removed without compensation from the commercial milk market because of a qualifying 2018 and 2019 natural disaster. Producers who suffered losses of harvested commodities, including hay, stored in on-farm structures in 2018 and 2019 will receive assistance through the On-Farm Storage Loss Program. Enhanced assistance through Tree Assistance Program (TAP)TAP traditionally provides cost-share for replanting and rehabilitating eligible trees. WHIP+ will provide payments based on the loss of value of the tree, bush or vine itself. Therefore, eligible producers may receive both a TAP and a 2017 WHIP or WHIP+ payment for the same acreage.In addition, TAP policy has been updated to assist eligible orchardists or nursery tree growers of pecan trees with a tree mortality rate that exceeds 7.5% (adjusted for normal mortality) but is less than 15% (adjusted for normal mortality) for losses incurred during 2018. Prevented plantingAgricultural producers faced significant challenges planting crops in 2019 in many parts of the country. All producers with flooding or excess moisture-related prevented planting insurance claims in calendar year 2019 will receive a prevented planting supplemental disaster (“bonus”) payment equal to 10 percent of their prevented planting indemnity, plus an additional 5 percent will be provided to those who purchased harvest price option coverage.As under 2017 WHIP, WHIP+ will provide prevented planting assistance to uninsured producers, NAP producers and producers who may have been prevented from planting an insured crop in the 2018 crop year and those 2019 crops that had a final planting date prior to January 1, 2019. Other USDA disaster recovery assistanceWhen major disasters strike, USDA has an emergency loan program that provides eligible farmers low-interest loans to help them recover from production and physical losses.Livestock owners and contract growers who experience above normal livestock deaths because of specific weather events, as well as from disease or animal attacks, may qualify for assistance under USDA’s Livestock Indemnity Program. Producers who suffer losses to or are prevented from planting agricultural commodities not covered by federal crop insurance may be eligible for assistance under USDA’s Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program if the losses were from natural disasters.USDA’s Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program provides payments to producers of these commodities to help compensate for losses because of diseases (including cattle tick fever) and adverse weather or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, that are not covered by other disaster programs.USDA also provides financial resources through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program for immediate needs and long-term support to help recover from natural disasters and conserve water resources. Additionally, the Emergency Watershed Protection Program helps local communities immediately begin relieving imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods. In addition, the Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and help put in place methods for water conservation during severe drought.For more information on FSA disaster assistance programs, please contact your local USDA service center or visit farmers.gov/recover. For all available USDA disaster assistance programs, go to USDA’s disaster resources website. Eligible Ohio countiesGuernsey: 2019 onlyAdams: 2018 and 2019Allen: 2019 only Athens: 2018 and 2019Auglaize: 2019 onlyBelmont: 2018 and 2019Brown: 2018 and 2019Butler: 2019 only Clermont: 2019 onlyColumbiana: 2018 and 2019Coshocton: 2018 onlyCrawford: 2019 only Darke: 2019 only Defiance: 2019 only Erie: 2019 only Fairfield: 2019 only Fayette: 2019 only Fulton: 2019 only Gallia: 2018 and 2019 Greene: 2019 onlyHamilton: 2018 and 2019Hancock: 2019 onlyHarrison: 2018 only Henry: 2019 only Hocking: 2019 only Holmes: 2018 only Huron: 2019 only Jackson: 2018 and 2019 Jefferson: 2018 only Knox: 2019 only Lawrence: 2018 and 2019 Licking: 2019 only Logan: 2019 only Lucas: 2019 only Mahoning: 2019 only Marion: 2019 only Meigs: 2018 and 2019 Mercer: 2019 only Miami: 2019 only Monroe: 2018 and 2019Montgomery: 2019 onlyMorgan: 2018 and 2019Morrow: 2019 onlyMuskingum: 2018 and 2019Noble: 2018 and 2019Ottawa: 2019 onlyPaulding: 2019 onlyPerry: 2018 and 2019Pickaway: 2019 only Pike: 2018 and 2019Sandusky: 2019 only Scioto: 2018 and 2019Seneca: 2019 only Van Wert: 2019 onlyVinton: 2018 and 2019Warren: 2019 onlyWashington: 2018 and 2019Williams: 2019 onlyWood: 2019 onlyWyandot: 2019 onlylast_img read more