Vance-Warren FSA: Summer Crop Acreage Reports Due July 15

-information courtesy of the Vance-Warren County Farm Service Agency

Agricultural producers who have not yet completed their crop acreage reports after spring planting should make an appointment with the Vance-Warren County Farm Service Agency before the applicable deadline – Monday, July 15.

“In order to comply with USDA program eligibility requirements, all producers must file an accurate crop acreage report by the applicable deadline,” said Hattie D. Jordan, FSA’s County executive director in Vance-Warren County. “Once planting is complete, please call our office to make an appointment to report your acreage.”

An acreage report documents a crop grown on a farm or ranch, as well as its intended use and location. Filing an accurate and timely acreage report for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage, and prevented planted acreage, can prevent the loss of benefits.

To file a crop acreage report, producers need to provide:

  • Crop and crop type or variety
  • Intended crop use
  • Number of crop acres
  • Map with approximate crop boundaries
  • Planting date(s)
  • Planting pattern, when applicable
  • Producer shares
  • Irrigation practice(s)
  • Acreage prevented from planting, when applicable
  • Other required information

The following exceptions apply to acreage reporting dates:

  • If the crop has not been planted by the acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.
  • If a producer acquires additional acreage after the acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 30 calendar days after purchase or acquiring the lease. Appropriate documentation must be provided to the county office.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP-covered crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar days before grazing or crop harvesting begins.

Producers should also report crop acreage they intended to plant but were unable to because of a natural disaster, including drought. Prevented planted acreage must be reported on form CCC-576, Notice of Loss, no later than 15 calendar days after the final planting date as established by FSA and USDA’s Risk Management Agency.

FSA recently updated policy that applies to prevented planted acreage due to drought. To certify prevented planted acreage due to drought, all the following must apply:

  • The area that is prevented from being planted has insufficient soil moisture for seed germination on the final planting date for non-irrigated acreage.
  • Prolonged precipitation deficiencies that meet the D3 or D4 drought intensity level as determined by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
  • Verifiable information must be collected from sources whose business or purpose is recording weather conditions as determined by FSA.

Agricultural producers with perennial forage crops have the option to report their acreage once, without having to report that acreage in subsequent years if there are no applicable changes on the farm. Interested producers can select the continuous certification option after FSA certifies their acreage report. Examples of perennial forage include mixed forage, birdsfoot trefoil, chicory/radicchio, kochia (prostrata), lespedeza, perennial peanuts, and perennial grass varieties.

Once the continuous certification option is selected, the certified acreage will roll forward annually with no additional action required by the producer in subsequent years unless the acreage report changes.

Producers can access their FSA farm records, maps and common land units through the farmers.gov customer portal. The portal allows producers to export field boundaries as shapefiles and import and view other shapefiles, such as precision agriculture boundaries within farm records mapping.  Producers can view, print, and label their maps for acreage reporting purposes. Level 2 eAuthentication or login.gov access that is linked to a USDA Business Partner customer record is required to use the portal.

Producers can visit farmers.gov/account to learn more about creating an account. Producers who have authority to act on behalf of another customer as a grantee via an FSA-211 Power of Attorney form, Business Partner Signature Authority or as a member of a business can now access information for the business in the farmers.gov portal.

For questions, please contact the Vance-Warren County FSA office at 252-438-3134 ext2.

The FSA office is located at 853 S. Beckford Dr., Suite B, Henderson.

VCS Announces Principal, Central Office Changes

-information courtesy of VCS Chief Communications Officer Aarika Sandlin

Vance County Schools has announced several principal and central services changes for the upcoming school year.

Superintendent Dr. Cindy Bennett stated that each of the five has a strong record of success and impact. “I am sure VCS parents and the community at large recognize their commitment to our students and the profession. Acknowledging that we have a strong pool of internal candidates is truly an asset when we have leadership growth opportunities– a testament to the highly skilled professionals who call VCS their home.” 

Jeffrey Batten, Vance Virtual Village Academy Principal

Dr. Jeffrey Batten will serve as the new Principal of Vance Virtual Village Academy, located at the Center for Innovation (CFI). Dr. Batten’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Trinity University, a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy from Texas A&M University, and a Masters in School Administration from North Carolina State University. With NC certifications in Science (6-9, 9-12) and as a School Administrator: Principal, Dr. Batten began his career 20 years ago as a science teacher in Granville County. He was named the 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year at Hawley Middle School. After serving as an assistant principal at South Granville High School and Cedar Ridge High School, Dr. Batten joined Vance County Schools in 2022 as an Assistant Principal, later becoming the Principal of EO Young Elementary. His vast experience and dedication to education will be invaluable as he transitions to his new role.

 

Kristen Boyd, EO Young Elementary Principal

Kristen Boyd will take on the role of Principal at EO Young Elementary. Ms. Boyd’s academic credentials include a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from East Carolina University and a Master of Arts in Education Leadership from North Carolina State University. She holds NC certifications in K-6 Elementary Education, School Administrator: Principal, and Academically or Intellectually Gifted. Ms. Boyd has been an educator since 2001, serving as a 2nd and 3rd-grade teacher and later as an Assistant Principal and Principal at Aycock Elementary. She was named Teacher of the Year in 2006 and District Principal of the Year in 2017-2018. She is a graduate of Leadership Vance and the Teachers Executive Institute. Her leadership and passion for education will continue to benefit the students and staff at EO Young Elementary.

Donald Johnson III, Aycock Elementary Principal

Donald Johnson III will be stepping into the role of Principal at Aycock Elementary. Mr. Johnson earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and his Master’s in Educational Leadership from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. He holds NC certifications in Elementary Education K-6 and School Administrator: Principal. Mr. Johnson’s career in education began as a teacher and Assistant Principal in Granville County. Since joining Vance County Schools in 2021, he has served as the Assistant Principal at Aycock Elementary, earning the title of 2022 District Assistant Principal of the Year. He is also a Leadership Vance graduate. Johnson’s experience and dedication to student achievement make him an excellent fit for his new position.

Chelsa Jennings, Chief Officer of Human Resources

Chelsa Jennings will serve as Chief Officer of Human Resources. Ms. Jennings began her career in Warren County in 1995 as an Instructional Assistant and later an elementary teacher. She earned her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from North Carolina Central University, and an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership from East Carolina University. Jennings is currently pursuing her Ed.D in Educational Leadership from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She holds NC certifications in Elementary Education K-6, School Administrator: Principal and  Superintendent, and Curriculum Instructional Specialist. Jennings has served as Director of Testing and Accountability, Curriculum Facilitator, Principal, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Chief Academic Officer prior to joining Vance County Schools. She joined the district  in 2021 as the Executive Director of Elementary Education.

Dr. Jacqueline Batchelor-Crosson, Executive Director of Federal Programs and Elementary Education

Dr. Jacqueline Batchelor-Crosson will now serve as the Executive Director of Federal Programs and Elementary Education. Dr. Batchelor-Crosson earned her undergraduate degree from Fayetteville State University and both her Master’s and Doctorate from the University of Phoenix. She holds NC certifications in Elementary Education K-6 and School Administrator: Principal. Starting her career in 2002 as a teacher at Pinkston Street Elementary, she went on to lead the Pinkston Street Elementary 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC). Batchelor-Crosson later served as an Assistant Principal in Vance County Schools and then Pinkston Street Elementary Principal. She was named Vance County Schools Principal of the Year in 2022 before being named the Director of Federal Programs. Dr. Batchelor-Crosson’s extensive experience and dedication to education will be instrumental in her new role.

 

 

TownTalk: Fire Association Advocates For Keeping 8.9-Cent Fire Tax Level

Watkins Assistant Fire Chief Brandon Link, speaking to Vance County Commissioners during the Monday budget work session in his capacity as president of the county firefighters association, asked for the county’s fire tax to stay at its current level of 8.9 cents.

Commissioners are considering a $57 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which includes dropping the fire tax to a revenue-neutral rate of 5.9 cents per $100 valuation.

But Link said that amount simply won’t be enough.

“We’ve incurred a lot of costs…without an increase in funding, we’re going to sink,” Link told commissioners.

“Our number one goal is to provide the best service we can to all of our residents,” Link said on Tuesday’s TownTalk. He discussed in greater detail the challenges the county’s volunteer departments are facing.

Link said keeping the fire tax at its current level would generate roughly $2,634,000, which would allow for a boost in pay for part-time firefighters to $20 per hour and provide $165,000 per department to operate.

(In the recommended budget, the fire tax fund budget is $1,914,678 and proposes to take $79,392 from the fire tax fund balance. One penny = $296,933. The lower revenue-neutral rate of 5.94 cents would generate just more than $1.76 million. Three cents could mean an additional million dollars of fire tax revenue.)

With its current $15/hour part-time pay, Vance County is at the bottom of the market, Link said. Neighboring counties are offering more money and Link said Vance County is getting out-competed. Warren offers $16/hour, Franklin is between $15-$20/hour, Granville uses a tiered structure that offers between $16-$18/hour.

“Four departments are about to incur $3 million worth of debt from purchases that had to be made to sustain the service we provide,” Link said.

When you add up $30,000 in truck payments, along with $13,000 or more for financial audits and $15,000 for insurance – per department – and fire stations are facing some hefty debt. “…and we haven’t even paid the first light bill or put a gallon of $4 diesel in the tank,” he said.

 

WIZS News spoke with Board Chair Dan Brummitt earlier Tuesday, and he stated that he doesn’t think any changes in the fire tax will be made before the budget is adopted. He added, however, that he and fellow commissioners had not reached consensus.

The commissioners are scheduled to meet again on Thursday and Link said he is hopeful that there will be four commissioners that take his side to keep the fire tax rate at 8.9 cents.

“We know that 8.9 is not going to get us all the things we need, but it gets us close,” Link said.

He said firefighters appreciate the support they get from commissioners, but he would like to see a compromise reached.

 

CLICK PLAY!

 

TownTalk: Fentanyl Awareness Event This Saturday

Forgotten Victims of North Carolina and New Beginnings Recovery of Grace Ministries are joining forces to host an event on Saturday in Henderson to promote fentanyl awareness.

Forgotten Victims founder Patricia Drewes invites the community to participate in the event, which will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot outside the Vance County Courthouse, located at 156 Church St.

Drewes said guest speakers will come from across the state to talk about the dangers of fentanyl, which takes thousands of lives each year.

“Fentanyl affects us all,” Drewes said on Tuesday’s TownTalk. There will be more than 400 posters with the faces of young people who have died as a result of fentanyl.

“No one’s child is safe,” she said. Drewes’s daughter, Heaven, died from a fentanyl overdose.

She founded Forgotten Victims in 2021 after her daughter’s death so other parents wouldn’t have to face the same feeling of being alone. There are now eight chapters across the state, she said.

“Our motto is ‘No one stands alone in North Carolina,” she added.

Come out on Saturday and learn more about the dangers of illicit fentanyl, as well as information about recovery programs, area resources and get trained on how to administer naloxone, an antidote for opioid poisoning.

CLICK PLAY!

 

The Local Skinny! Elder Abuse Awareness Event Is Friday

Join the Kerr Tar Region K Elder Abuse Conference and Walk on Friday, June 14 in Oxford to learn more about how to help senior adults, get them connected to services and protect them from unscrupulous scammers.

Kim Hawkins, regional ombudsman for KTCOG, said the event will be Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the campus of the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford. June 15 is recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, an observance that promotes awareness and understanding of the many forms of elder abuse and resources available to those at risk.

Elder abuse is defined as “an act that knowingly, intentionally, or negligently causes or creates a serious risk of harm to an older person by a family member, caregiver, or other person in a trust relationship. Such harm may be financial, physical, sexual, or psychological.”

More than 20 different agencies from across the Kerr-Tar’s five-county service area will be on site to showcase their services and to share resources with the community. Home health agencies, long-term facilities, family care homes and adult day programs all will be represented.

“There’s a variety of resources on hand so you can learn what’s available to you,” Hawkins said on Tuesday’s segment of The Local Skinny!

The State Employees’ Credit Union will provide information about wills, trusts and estate planning, she said.

The agencies that are participating in the event are showing caregivers that they support the prevention of elder abuse, Hawkins said.

“We’re respecting them, keeping them safe and secure – it’s important to know who’s here on your side.”

There will be t-shirts, goodie bags and lunch provided, she said.

U.S. Attorney Michael Easley joins leaders from the local, state and national level to highlight the importance of awareness and education.

“Respecting our elders is a core American value,” Easley stated in a press release. “But too many crooks see our seniors as targets for financial scams. We are prioritizing cases with elderly victims to help stop the frauds and cheats trying to rob our seniors. Learn the signs of elder fraud and abuse. Together, we can give our older generation the respect they deserve.”

Visit the Elder Justice Initiative page to learn more about the Justice Department’s elder justice efforts.

For more information about the KTCOG event,
contact Tyeisha Hewett with Granville County DSS at 919.693.1511 or
Kimberly Hawkins with the Kerr-Tar Area Agency on Aging at 252.436.2050.

 

CLICK PLAY!

 

City Council Votes To Hike Property Tax Rate To 65 Cents Per $100 Valuation

It was not a unanimous decision, but the Henderson City Council voted to increase the property tax rate per $100 valuation to 65 cents at its Monday meeting, just before adopting the FY 2024-25 budget totaling more than $47 million.

In the budget recommended by City Manager Terrell Blackmon on May 13, the tax rate was 55 cents per $100 valuation, which was 10 cents above the revenue-neutral rate. The new property tax rate is 20 cents above the revenue-neutral rate.

Council Member Tami Walker made the motion to increase the tax, which she said would bring in more than $2.5 million in additional tax revenue. Council Member Ola Thorpe-Cooper seconded the motion. Council members Sam Seifert and Garry Daeke cast no votes, and Council members Lamont Noel, Michael Venable, Geraldine Champion, Sara Coffey voted yes with Walker and Thorpe-Cooper.

Thorpe-Cooper made a motion to accept the budget, which totals $47,827,763.

The motion was seconded by Coffey, who joined via Zoom. In addition to Thorpe-Cooper and Coffey, yes votes were case by Seifert, Venable, Walker and Champion.

Daeke and Noel cast dissenting votes.

In another split decision, Council voted 5-3 to accept a $1,500 bonus for each Council member – already included in the recommended budget. The matter had been discussed in earlier budget work sessions, but Daeke and Seifert said they recalled that the money was to be used to pay for training.

Mayor Melissa Elliott insisted that the sum was called a bonus, which, if offered as such, couldn’t have stipulations for its use.

Council Member Venable made a motion, seconded by Champion, to provide a $1,500 bonus to all Council members. Noel, Seifert and Daeke voted no. Coffey, Venable, Thorpe-Cooper, Champion and Walker voted yes.

In a unanimous vote, Council members voted to proceed with the purchase of the Falkner property that is owned by McGregor Hall. The sale price is $255,000 plus closing costs, but the budget line item is for $275,000, Blackmon stated.

TownTalk: S.A.F.E. Highlights Secure Firearm Storage

Gov. Roy Cooper’s recent proclamation to shine a light on gun safety awareness only lasted a week, but this weeklong public awareness observance serves to remind owners of firearms of the responsibilities they have to keep their guns out of the hands of children and criminals.

The N.C. Department of Public Safety hosted the second annual NC S.A.F.E. (Secure All Firearms Effectively) Week of Action from June 2-8 t in response to an increased number of gun thefts from vehicles and the alarming rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries of minors across the state.

The message from the S.A.F.E. call to action is straightforward: One simple step can make a lifesaving difference — lock up your firearms.

Capt. Chris Ball of the Henderson Police Department said licensed gun sellers and dealers are supposed to offer gun locks at the time of a firearms purchase, but anyone who needs one is welcome to stop by the police department and get one free of charge.

Distribution of gun locks is one of the things that this statewide initiative, now in its second year, provides to citizens through law enforcement agencies like the Henderson Police Department.

“It’s important that firearms are secured,” Ball said on Monday’s TownTalk. And you should never leave a firearm in your car, Ball said.

In 2022, more than 2,500 guns were stolen from vehicles across the state – those “smash-and-grab” crimes are bad enough, but gunowners who leave their weapons in their vehicles run the risk of having that weapon used in other crimes. Keep guns unloaded and ammunition stored away from where the firearms are stored, too, he added.

Record the serial number of your firearm, so the information will be readily available to share with law enforcement if you need to report the theft of or loss of a gun. Call 911 or the police department’s non-emergency number to file a report (252.438.4141).

Some gun safes use biometrics instead of traditional locks, and Ball said using a fingerprint instead of a key or punching in a combination may make access quicker.

Vance County Sheriff Curtis Brame agrees that guns should be “out of reach and out of sight – they all need to be in a secure location at all times,” the sheriff noted.

Coincidentally, he and two staff members were in Raleigh Monday for a gun safety training, but he took a few minutes to highlight the need for safe storage of firearms.

Brame said he and other sheriffs across the state are fighting to have a recent law repealed that takes the issuance of gun permits out of the hands of the sheriff’s office.

He said sheriff’s offices have access to mental health and criminal files that can provide pertinent information about people requesting the permits.

Visit ncsafe.org to find a safety checklist and other resources.