October 31, 2014

National FFA Convention Underway

The top National Chapter Award winners were named at the 87th National FFA Convention & Expo in Louisville, Ky., on Thursday.

The top winners are selected in the following categories: Student, chapter, community and outstanding middle school. The nation’s top ten three-star chapters compete for the award in each category.

All chapters that receive national three-star ratings are then eligible to compete for the National Model of Excellence Chapter Award.

The following 2014 awards were announced:

Ponchatoula FFA Chapter in Louisiana was named the Model of Excellence winner.

Oakleaf FFA Chapter in Florida was named the Model of Innovation winner in student development.

The Nation Ford FFA Chapter in South Carolina was named the Model of Innovation winner in chapter development.

The Shenandoah FFA Chapter in Indiana was named the Model of Innovation winner in community development.

The Altha Middle FFA Chapter in Florida was named the Outstanding Middle School winner.

The National Chapter Awards are sponsored by John Deere as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. It is one of the many ways FFA members accomplish the FFA mission and succeed in making a difference in their communities and the lives of others.


ACRE Payments on Corn

Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Aaron Krauter announced today that FSA has begun distributing Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) payments for revenue losses associated with corn grown in North Dakota. Discontinued by the 2014 Farm Bill, the ACRE program provided producers with protection from revenue losses for crops grown in 2009-2013.

Corn was the only crop eligible for October payments that was grown in North Dakota in the 2013 crop year.  2,359 producers on 4,551 farms in North Dakota enrolled 2.22 million acres in ACRE.  Payments to North Dakota producers through ACRE total more than 43 million dollars, however the Budget Control Act passed by Congress in 2011 requires these payments to be reduced by 5.1 percent.
For more information on ACRE, producers should contact their local FSA office or visit FSA’s website at www.fsa.usda.gov .


Rails Bracing for Winter

BNSF is telling its customers that it will go into the 2014-2015 winter season better prepared than ever before, especially if the United States experiences a return of the polar vortex. The 2013-2014 winter was one of the most severe winters the United States has experienced in decades with extreme temperatures that persisted for long periods and created special challenges for operating the railroad.

 “While we always prepare the operations for winter, the extreme cold experienced last year provided us some additional insight that we have incorporated into our future preparations and operating procedures,” said Steve Bobb, BNSF executive vice president and chief marketing officer.  “We know that customers depend on BNSF for reliable freight transportation. While unplanned events can always happen, we will go into this winter season with more resources and more preparation than ever before so that our people stay safe amid the harshest of weather conditions and our customers’ freight gets to its destination as promised.”

Given the extremes endured last winter, BNSF’s operating divisions evaluated this year’s winter action plans with the benefit of last year’s winter experience. Steps include:

·         Taken inventory of snow removal equipment and supplies, such as emergency generators and salt supplies.

·         Tested specialized snow removal equipment to make sure it works properly. For example, snowfall in excess of 8” will activate pushers and blade and salt trucks.

·         Reviewed winter weather operational procedures on when to adjust crew transportation procedures so that moving crew from one location to another  using crew vans is eliminated in favor of allowing crews to remain overnight at crew change locations as well as when to adjust train size, speed and other operating restrictions.

Source: BNSF