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Here’s a look at local events and news with ties to Hancock County’s agricultural community.

Wickard receives certificate of distinction award

GREENFIELD – Greenfield resident Julia Wickard was awarded a 2022 Certificate of Distinction Award from the Purdue Ag Alumni Association.

The award was presented during the annual Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry on April 30 at the Blue Ribbon Pavilion of the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Wickard was among eight Hoosiers to receive the honor, which recognizes those who have contributed significantly to agriculture, forestry or natural resources through professional accomplishments, organizations, community service and other activities.

Wickard recently took on a second stint as Indiana state executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency. She also had the position from 2009 to 2017; in 2017 she was the government affairs director, then assistant commissioner at the Office of Program Support in the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Wickard has worked for the U.S. and Indiana departments of agriculture, the Indiana Beef Cattle Association and Indiana Farm Bureau Inc.

USDA to provide $6 billion in relief payments

WASHINGTON – The U. S Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disaster events in 2020 and 2021 will soon begin receiving emergency relief payments totaling approximately $6 billion through the Farm Service Agency’s new Emergency Relief Program to offset crop yield and value losses.

“For over two years, farmers and ranchers across the country have been hard hit by an ongoing pandemic coupled with more frequent and catastrophic natural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a press release. “As the agriculture industry deals with new challenges and stressors, we at USDA look for opportunities to inject financial support back into the rural economy through direct payments to producers who bear the brunt of circumstances beyond their control.”

For impacted producers, existing Federal Crop Insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) data is the basis for calculating initial payments. USDA estimates that phase one ERP benefits will reach more than 220,000 producers who received indemnities for losses covered by federal crop insurance and more than 4,000 producers who obtained NAP coverage for 2020 and 2021 crop losses.

Pre-filled application forms will be sent to producers where crop insurance and NAP data are already on file. This form includes eligibility requirements, outlines the application process and provides ERP payment calculations. Producers will receive a separate application form for each program year in which an eligible loss occurred. For more information, visit usda.gov.

Bottled gas company purchase by Co-Alliance

SHELBYVILLE – Shelby Bottled Gas customers became Co-Alliance customers. Co-Alliance purchased the business from Shelby Bottled Gas Corporation and immediately assumed servicing the business.

Shelby Bottled Gas Corporation was based out of Shelbyville and was a closely-held corporation specializing in residential, light commercial, and industrial propane service, installation and design.

Co-Alliance is a cooperative organization formally established in 2006 with roots dating back to the 1920s. Co-Alliance provides delivery of propane, heating oil, liquid fuels, lubricants and other petroleum products. Co-Alliance’s propane market geography is adjacent to the Shelby Bottled Gas trade area which will allow additional synergies, according to a press release from the company. Co-Alliance also operates divisions in agronomy, grain, and swine and animal nutrition.


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