The G.C. Farm Service (FSA) is in the process of migrating its photography resources from aerial flight photography (aerial slides/ paper) over to geographic information systems (satellite/computer/ GIS).
This changeover will take the better part of a year to accomplish and the GIS digital maps will not become official for program purposes until fiscal year 2005, which begins October 1, 2004. At that time, any adjustments required due to cropland changes will be integrated into current and future FSA farm programs.
All Grayson County farm owners and operators will be receiving a digital map of the agricultural land in which they have an interest. Along with the map will be a cover letter with a brief explanation of the GIS transition and appeal rights. It is important to note that the acreage figures on the maps are not subject to appeal. These figures are digitally calculated and are accepted as valid. The farm boundaries, however, are subject to appeal and can be corrected if they are wrong.
It is important to note that FSA programs are based on "cropland" figures and do not take into account the total acres in a farm, which would include all land other than cropland (woods, water, buildings, etc.). Therefore, insignificant discrepancies in farm boundaries that may occur in wooded areas are not of utmost concern.
Before FSA adjusts any current program contracts based on the new GIS cropland figures, it will make every effort to guarantee that every acre of available cropland is credited to the farm. Farm owners and operators do not need to appeal the boundaries of interior fields on their farm(s). These will be adjusted in time as crop acreage reports are filed and FSA makes routine annual reviews of cropland figures.
This GIS technology will allow FSA to do a more efficient and effective job in administering federal farm programs and, in time, it will allow FSA to offer more options to producers in their mapping resources. We appreciate your patience during this transition period.
National Volunteer Week
This week, April 18 to 24, is National Volunteer Week and on behalf of the 4-H Youth of Grayson County I would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to those of you that have helped 4-H over the past year. Without each one of you, Grayson County 4-Hers would not have been able to do many of their projects and activities.
In this time of increasingly tight budgets, volunteers expand the 4-H program many times beyond the reach of one staff person. The County 4-H Council directs our county 4-H program. These volunteers are the driving force behind our most important and successful programs. The 4-H Council Officers are: President-Jo Escue (Area 4-H Council Secretary); Vice President-Dale Powell; Secretary-Ruth Woodrum; Treasurer-Heidi Arnold. We are privileged to have the Past Area 4-H Council President, Jerry Fraim, as a council member, as well as Pam Blair, Maureen Darst, Amy Depoyster, Chris Durbin (Teen Representa-tive), Lori East, Shirley Hale, Beverly Haycraft, Shirley Higbee, Rebecca Powell (Teen Representa-tive), Jamey Smith, Londie Snow, Chuck Van Meter, Earlene Whitaker (Area Teen Council President), and Mike Young. Thanks also go out to members of our various advisory committees, Reality Store Volunteers, Camp Counse-lors, and many others. This list of 4-H volunteers is by no means complete.
Grayson County has many caring, concerned people willing to volunteer their time and talent to 4-H. Nothing illustrated this better than the recent success of the Lincoln Trail Area 4-H Variety Show, which was hosted by Grayson County 4-H Council at the Grayson County Middle School.
Well known actor Harry Belafonte was presented the Lenore and George W. Romney Citizen Volunteer Award at a past National Community Service Conference. The following quote is taken from his acceptance speech; "Do not look upon my volunteer work as some act of sacrifice. I'm having the best time of my life. There is no sacrifice here, only reward. It really is about what you think you were put here to do, and what you think you should give to life, and at the end of it all, what you can say you did to make the world a better place than when you found it."
The next meeting of the Grayson County 4-H Council will be on May 17 at 7 p.m. at the Grayson County Extension Office. Please feel free to attend to learn more about how you can volunteer or call 259-3492.
Safety tips for lawn mower use
By Jack Ewing, Grayson County Extension Agent for Agriculture & Natural Resources
With the arrival of spring comes the weekly chore of mowing the lawn. Each year, this simple task results in thousands of injuries to adults and children. Lawn mower injuries can include loss of fingers and toes, broken bones, cuts and eye injuries and can be devastating to a family.
Proper safety precautions can go a long way toward eliminating these injuries, said Larry Piercy, safety specialist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. Those safety precautions begin before the lawn mower ever cuts a blade of grass.
First, be sure all the safety equipment on the mower is in good condition. If it is in poor condition, replace the equipment prior to operation. "The start of the season is also a good time to check the lawn for any hazards such as metal, sticks or other items," Piercy said.
If youths will be using the equipment, be sure they are physically capable. If the handle of a push mower is too high, they will not have proper control and pushing will be difficult. Be sure to emphasize safety with youth and oversee their work until you are sure they are capable of safely handling the chore, he said.
The following tips are compiled from information from Piercy, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
What age is appropriate for youth to begin mowing is subject to the individual child but the AAP recommends children younger than 14 should not be allowed to use riding mowers and children younger than 12 should not be allowed to use push mowers.