Food Stamps Making Gains at Farmers Markets
Shoppers using food stamps in Illinois are finding ways to get more bang for their buck. Bob Roberts reports from a farmer's market in Chicagoland.
“The farmers accept the state issued cards for everything from snap peas to sweet breads. Special coupons known as nutrition incentives double their buying power. The group ‘Wholesome Waves’ says they are changing the eating habits of food stamp recipients: ‘They care about quality and supporting their local farmers. We have to challenge the myths that there is no demand and just because you are on a restrictive budget you don’t care about healthy food.’ Increased federal funding could equip other farmers markets, benefiting both farmers and recipients.”
Problems with Winter Wheat Continue
As if this year’s winter wheat crop didn’t have enough problems, relentless rains and a tropical system no less, have created another set of problems. NC State Extension Small Grain Specialist Dr. Randy Weisz:
"I don’t think I’ve seen a single combine rolling yet. There are several concerns; we have plots in Clayton where they have had ten inches of rain in the last few weeks and all of that wheat is starting to sprout in the head so we are concerned about delayed harvest and seed and grain quality”
Weisz says wheat grain moisture levels around the state are being reported in the 16 to 22% range. Weisz says producers should cut wheat at every opportunity, and if head scab has been a problem turn the blowers on the combine up to blow infected seeds out.
Heavy Rains Bring Threat of Army Worms
The heavy rains of this spring are bringing some problems the southeast hasn't seen in a while. Frank Jones, range and pasture specialist for the southeastern US for DuPont Pioneer:
“For the first time in a long time I have seen hay being harvested in May. We’ve had warm weather and rain and as that grass grows back it will be lush and green and weed free and it will be a nice environment for army worms to show up in these hay fields and pastures."
Jones explains that an infestation of army worms can decimate a pasture in a very short period of time:
“They will completely destroy yields and once you find army worms in your fields, you have about two days until they turn into nothing but stench. They are several varieties of army worms."
Farm Bill Now Has to Pass the House
Now that the Senate has approved its version of the farm bill – the House will have to pass its version so the two pieces of legislation can be merged in a conference committee and presented for the President’s consideration. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson expressed optimism that the House would be able to consider the farm bill next week thanks to the strong bipartisan support in the Senate. If everything stays on track – Peterson believes Congress could get a bill to the President before the August recess.