Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Last Weeks REINS Horse Owner Ed Workshop

Last Thursday (Feb. 17) we held our first in a series of four REINS Horse Owner Education Workshops entitled, "Is Your Truck & Trailer Roadworthy?" We had a small group of only 10 participants and our presenters were Sgt. Conrad, Sgt. Lanier, & Lt. Penley from the NC State Highway Patrol. It was a very informal, but highly educational question and answer session that went on for over an hour. Some of the highlights that the participants learned include:
  • A weighted tag includes the weight of the truck, trailer and what you are hauling (i.e. horses)
  • If you have a 4-horse trailer (or larger), you are required by state law to stop at the weigh stations
  • If you GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) is over 26,001, you will need a class A regular drivers license
  • If the gross weight of your trailer is over 4000 lb, you need to have it inspected yearly (just like yearly car inspections)
  • DO NOT use red die diesel! If you do and get caught, it is an automatic $10,000 fine!
  • Safety chains are required on horse trailers (state law)

Our next REINS training will be March 17th at 7 p.m. at the Gaston Citizens Resouce Center. The title of that workshop is "Myth-ology in Horse Nutrition - Debunking Feeding Myths." This session is free to the public, but pre-reistration is required. To register, call 704-9222112.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Planning the Future of Your Farm

On Thursday, March 3, 2011 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, Lincoln County Cooperative Extension will host Planning the Future of Your Farm – Ways to Transfer Land. This free seminar will feature Andrew Brannan, J.D., previously with the NC Farm Transition Network; Brad Rivers, Small Business Development Center; and Roxanne Smith, Catawba Lands Conservancy. Our speakers will be addressing different ways to transfer land within or outside of the family including wills, business plans, and conservation easements.

This class is designed to help landowners learn how to maintain their land in agricultural production, preserve family relationships, and enhance community development. Reservations are required by Tuesday, March 1.

In addition, Andrew Branan will be available for personal consultations on Friday, March 4th. These free consultations are by appointment only.

The seminar and personal consultations will be held at the James Warren Citizen Center, 115 West Main Street, Lincolnton, NC. Call 704-736-8452 to make reservations for both the seminar and consultations by Tuesday, March 1st.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Support Document on How to Report Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction for 2010

With the creation of The Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act of 2010, P.L. No. 111-240, self employed individuals are able to deduct their health insurance premium costs against net self-employment income for the purposes of calculating self-employment tax. For the 2010 filing season, which is currently the only tax year this deduction is allowed, questions are cropping up as to how to report and take this deduction. The following document from Rural Tax Education attempts to provide direction about the issue: http://www.ruraltax.org/files/uploads/SE%20health%20insurance%20deduction%20for%20SE%20tax%20%28RTE%202011-25%29.pdf

The Local Food Movement is Here!

The local food movement is a "collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies - one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place and is considered to be a part of the broader farm sustainability movement. It is part of the concept of local purchasing and local economies, a preference to buy locally produced goods and services. Those who prefer to eat locally grown/produced food sometimes call themselves locavores or localvores.

Unfortunately, there is a growing trend among U.S. Consumers spending less of their income on food than ever before. Furthermore, farmers are continuing to get less and less of the consumer food dollar and are going out of business at alarming rates. So what can local consumers do???
  • Buying food directly from local farmers reduces the portion of your food dollar going to corporate agribusiness and ensures that farmers get their fair share of your food dollar.
  • Local farmers will reinvest more of your food dollar in your region. Buying local food increases the circulation of your food dollars locally, in effect "creating" money and economic prosperity in your region.
  • Buying local products ensures that farm workers and producers elsewhere get a decent wage and enjoy safe living and working conditions.

Fortunately, for the Central Piedmont region of North Carolina, the local food movement is alive and well! Farmers, restaurants, businesses and institutions in our area are increasingly responding to consumer demand for local foods and making every effort to provide local foods. Below are just a few links to examples of what's happening on the local food movement front in our region:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Horse Industry Promotion Referendum

Horse and other equine animal owners/lessors will vote across the state on March 15, 2011 to determine whether to CONTINUE TO voluntarily assess themselves two dollars ($2.00) per ton of commercial horse feed in order to provide funds to promote the interests of the horse industry.

The vote in Gaston County will take place in the County Extension Center from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Any North Carolina resident who has reached his/her 9th birthday as of January 1, 2011 and who has complete or partial ownership or lease of an equine (horse, pony, mule, donkey or hinny) is eligible to vote. Individuals must sign a statement certifying eligibility at time of voting.

Since many horse owners work away from home during business hours, a provision has been made for absentee voting. Between February 25–March 14, horse owners may visit or phone the County Extension Center and request a ballot and absentee registration form. These must be turned in to the Extension office by March 14, and will be counted along with others on March 15.

If the vote is favorable on March 15, the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will continue to receive the assessment funds from manufacturers and/or distributors of horse feed, and will remit the money to the NC Horse Council. The Horse Council has indicated that the funds will be used for 4-H and other youth programs, REINS volunteer programs, trails advocacy, equine research, representation of horse interests in government, marketing programs, enforcement of horse laws, and improved public awareness of diseases and other threats to horses’ well-being.

Many other agricultural commodities have similar voluntary assessment programs. Horsemen may receive a refund of the assessment by writing to the NC Horse Council within a year of purchase and including proof of purchase.


February 22 is the date when corn growers will vote on continuation of the self assessment program for six years. The Board of Directors of the Corn Growers Association is asking that farmers assess themselves at a rate of three-fourths (3/4) cent per bushel on all corn marketed in North Carolina. The campaign to continue an assessment was announced on January 13 by President Darren Armstrong at the Joint Commodities Conference of Corn, Cotton, Soybeans and Small Grain Producers in New Bern.

Armstrong urged growers to continue the assessment program which is administered by the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina. “As farmers we must stay united and work together to survive in the farming industry,” Armstrong said. The Association is involved in the following areas: International and domestic marketing; research and education; grants to cooperative extension Offices and legislation that will be helpful to corn growers and other farmers. A 24-member Board of Directors, covering all the producing areas of North Carolina, governs the organization’s activities. This Board also gives support to issues of a local nature that they believe will benefit farmers.

Growers may vote at the local cooperative extension offices from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. All farmers currently engaged in the production of corn, including tenants, sharecroppers, or other persons sharing in the production of income of corn are eligible to vote. A 2/3 favorable vote is required to carry the referendum as authorized by Article 50, Chapter 106 of the General Statutes of North Carolina. If approved the assessment shall be collected by the first handler or purchaser of the commodity from the producer, and remitted to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, which remits the proceeds to the Association. Any corn grower may get a refund of levied assessments from the Corn Growers Association of N. C. A request for a refund should be made within 30 days from the date on which said assessment is collected.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

REINS Horse Owner Education Series ' "Is Your Truck & Trailer Road Worthy?"

When: February 17th, 2011 at 7 p.m.
Where: Gaston Citizens Resource Center, 1303 Dallas-Cherryville Hwy, Dallas, NC

This session is free but pre-registration is required. To register, contact Gaston County Cooperative Extension at 704-922-2112. If no one has registered by the Wednesday before the event, the session will be canceled.