November 17, 2011

(7/12/1942 - 11/5/2011)

Betty L. Miller, 69, of Keokuk, formerly of Wyaconda, died Saturday, November 5, 2011 at the Lexington Square Care Facility in Keokuk.

She was born the daughter of Thomas M. and Violet Mary (Davis) Mortimer on July 12, 1942 in Keokuk, Iowa.

Betty married Lyle D. Miller, Sr. on January 8, 1958 in Keokuk. He preceded her in death on February 6, 1997.

Lyle and Betty had six children. The Millers lived in Keokuk before moving frequently, and finally settling in Wyaconda. She moved to Keokuk following Lyle's death. Betty enjoyed playing bingo, reading and being with her family.

She was preceded in death by her husband; parents; two brothers, Thomas and Fuller Mortimer, and a granddaughter, Ginger Yates.

She is survived by her daughters, Bobbie Thurman of Kahoka, Mary Hemingway and Bonnie Elder, both of Memphis; sons, Lyle Miller, Jr. of Keokuk, Bill Miller of Creston, Iowa, and Danny Miller of Arbela; her brothers, Laroy "Jack" Mortimer of Keokuk, Raymond and wife Sarah Mortimer of Monmouth, IL, and Robert D. and wife Bonnie Mortimer of Keokuk; sisters, Rosetta M. and husband Jim Worster and Janice "Peggy" and husband Robert Conover Sr., all of Alexandria; 14 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were at 2 p.m., Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at the Gerth Funeral Chapel in Wyaconda with Delbert Scobee officiating. Eric Stewart, Russell Heck, John Herring, Anthony Miller, Darrell Herring, and James Worster, Jr., were pallbearers. Burial was in the Wyaconda Cemetery.

Memorials are suggested to the Lexington Square Care Facility and can be left at or mailed to the Gerth Funeral Service, 115 S. Main St., Wyaconda, MO 63474.

Condolences may be sent to the Miller family by logging onto

Arrangements are under the direction of the Gerth Funeral Service from their Wyaconda chapel.

USA Football Grant Will Help SCR-I Buy New Helmets

helmet grant web

A grant from the USA Football organization will help outfit the Scotland County R-I junior high football team with new helmets in 2016.

Scotland County football coach Mikel Gragg announced the $1,000 grant this week.

The award can be used to purchase equipment through Riddell, the official  equipment partner of USA Football.

Gragg said he hopes to be able to replace all 20 helmets with the grant funding. The key equipment components can cost anywhere from $56 to $300 per helmet, with additional costs for chinstraps and maintenance components like replacement pads.

USA Football, along with the NFL Foundation, is committed to enhancing the football experience of all players at the youth and amateur levels. Organizations are awarded equipment grant credits based on need, merit and the organization’s involvement with USA Football programs.

Grantees are awarded credit amounts to purchase specific products within the Riddell grant program catalog, which includes helmets, shoulder pads and even uniforms. Prices are exclusive to the USA Football Grant Program. Grantees are welcome to purchase items beyond the amount of the grant, taking advantage of the prices listed in this catalog, which are below market value and only apply to the USA Football Grant program.

Swim Team Opens Season at River Country 10 and Under Event

The relay team of Keeley Brown, Cole Mazziotti, Autumn Huber and Lilly Frederick took first place in the Eight & Under freestyle relay at the River Country Swim League Invitational on June 18th in Kahoka. Photo by Emily Frederick

The relay team of Keeley Brown, Cole Mazziotti, Autumn Huber and Lilly Frederick took first place in the Eight & Under freestyle relay at the River Country Swim League Invitational on June 18th in Kahoka. Photo by Emily Frederick

The Memphis Swim Team opened the 2016 season with the River Country Swim League Invitational for swimmers age 10 and under in Kahoka on June 18.  Memphis swimmers placing in the top 10 and participating swimmers are listed below.

Girls 8 & under Freestyle relay, 1st Cole Mazziotti, Lilly Frederick, Autumn Huber, Keeley Brown

Mixed 9-10 Freestyle relay, 4th Aurelia Sterling, Payton Miller, Owen Brown, Carlee Smith

Boys 6 & under Backstroke, 1st Liam Browning

Girls 7-8 Backstroke -Keeley Brown, 6th; Cole Mazziotti, Lilly Frederick, Autumn Huber

Boys 7-8 Backstroke – Greyson Browning, 4th

Girls 9-10 Backstroke -Carlee Smith, 2nd, Aurelia Sterling, Payton Miller

Boys 9-10 Backstroke -Owen Brown

Girls 8 & under 50 Free -Keeley Brown, 4th

Girls 9-10 50 Free – Carlee Smith, 3rd

Girls 7-8 Breaststroke -Lilly Frederick, 5th

Girls 9-10 Breaststroke -Aurelia Sterling, 7th

Girls 9-10 Butterfly -Carlee Smith, 4th

Girls 6 & under 25 Free -Tracy Huber, 6th

Boys 6 & under 25 Free -Liam Browning, 1st

Girls 7-8 25 Free – Keeley Brown, 9th; Lilly Frederick, Cole Mazziotti, Autumn Huber

Boys 7-8 25 Free -Greyson Browning, 8th

Girls 9-10 25 Free -Aurelia Sterling, Payton Miller

Boys 9-10 25 Free -Owen Brown

Girls 10 & under 100 Individual Medley (IM) -Carlee Smith, 2nd

Silly Hats, Murals, and Empowerment

Artists Scout and Nik working on the new mural! Photo by Javi.

Artists Scout and Nik working on the new mural! Photo by Javi.

I can only imagine what the guests must have thought, walking into the Mercantile for pizza, to be greeted by a man whose long golden hair was braided with garlic bulbs. Next to him stood a woman with a pile of flowers on her head and a man with a crown made out of flip-flops.

A laughing lady with a stuffed pony perched on her head casually ate pizza with a young man whose head was lodged in a travel pillow adorned with silverware dangling on strings. “Do you need a fork?” he asked her with a straight face.

If I walked in on this scene never having been to Dancing Rabbit before, I would only imagine, “Yep, this must be a cult.” But no, it’s not; there’s a good reason for the strangeness.

Nik here at Dancing Rabbit, to tell you that if you missed Pizza Night at the Mercantile last Thursday, you missed Alline’s birthday, which most years means a Silly Hat Party in her honor. The dining room was packed like sardines in silly sardine hats, and between the singing, laughing and Alline’s rightfully famous salted-caramel cupcakes, I do think the guests got swept up in the silliness as well.

Pressing business called me away before most of the Silly Hat Awards could be doled out by Alline herself, but I did get to see the award for “Best Not-a-Hat Hat”, the “Most Sparkly Hat”, and the “Alline Likes Me Best” Award, which suspiciously goes to Kurt, her husband, every year. It was nightfall, and that meant I was off to work on Dancing Rabbit’s newest mural.

For the last few weeks, resident artists Scout and I have been designing and painting a new three-panel mural on the undecorated, yet prominent, sides of Bike World, in the outdoor kitchen/shed near the front of the village.

We’ve been starting at night, using a projector to trace out the original drawings onto the corrugated metal siding of the shed. On the other side of the building is Dancing Rabbit’s more well-known mural, painted back in 1999 by Artist in Residence Barbara Duperron, using native plant and animal motifs. That mural is still vibrant as ever! To see more or to follow the progress of the new mural, you can follow our Instagram account online.

Everyone who comes here for the first time must wonder what to expect. There are too many stories to count, but one that happened recently, the Women’s Empowerment Retreat, needs to be told. But I’m not the one to tell it.

We have our very own happy Rabbit, aka Katherine, on the ground with a first-hand account:

The Women’s Retreat was awesome!

We brought together the city folk with the farm women, early 20s to mid 50s, moms & not-moms alike.

The tri-communities were well represented, as Cynthia from Sandhill Farm taught a building workshop, and Alyson from Red Earth Farms opened a door for personal growth work.

The meet-and-greet set the intention for the weekend with a call and response song to identify ourselves. Mine went like this: “I am a hard woman (I am a hard woman). I am a fire woman (I am a fire woman). I am a loving woman (I am a loving woman).” To which the group responded, “And we are glad you’re here!”

Each woman who came to the ecovillage that weekend was already strong in her own right. I hope that we were able to provide a sense of community, that we have each others’ backs, and some take-home tools to spread the good work of Women’s Empowerment.

Women’s Empowerment: What does it mean? To me, knowing that I am just as capable as any man. To lift less weight does not mean that I am less, rather that I may feel strength in asking for help from my sisters.

Empowerment: To choose my own journey and inspire young girls that brains are attractive and that “no” is a perfectly acceptable answer. To dance, to sing, to read a book and then write your own! Your body is beautiful because you are the divine feminine, not a stereotype of what others tell you to be. To decide for yourself if unshaved legs are attractive (they are!). Remember your power. No one may give it to you, and no one may take it.

You are a woman, and I (Katherine) am glad you’re here.

And I (Nik) am glad you are here!

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and educational nonprofit outside Rutledge, MO, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. We offer public tours of the village on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, April-October; the next is Saturday, June 25th at 1 pm. Reservations not required. Tours are free, though donations to help us continue our educational and outreach efforts are gratefully accepted. For directions, call the office at 660-883-5511 or email us at To find out more about us, you can also check out our website:

Scotland County Commission Meeting Minutes

Thursday, June 16, 2016

PLACE OF MEETING: Scotland County Courthouse Commission Chambers

The meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m.

PRESENT WERE:  Presiding Commissioner: Duane Ebeling; Eastern District Commissioner, Danette Clatt; Western District Commissioner, David Wiggins; and County Clerk, Batina Dodge

Commissioner Clatt moved to approve the consent agenda; seconded by Commissioner Wiggins. Motion carried 3-0.

The minutes from June 15, 2016 were presented. Commissioner Wiggins moved to approve the regular session minutes; seconded by Presiding Commissioner Ebeling. Motion carried 3-0.

The Commission contacted Ron Watts, MoDOT liaison, regarding the Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) and BRO/soft-match balances.

A meeting of elected officials convened at 10:00 with the following in attendance:  Duane Ebeling, Presiding Commissioner; Danette Clatt, Eastern District Commissioner; David Wiggins, Western District Commissioner; Batina Dodge, County Clerk; Kathy Kiddoo, Treasurer; Dana Glasscock, Recorder of Deeds; Jim Ward, Assessor; Kathy Becraft, Collector; Anita Watkins, Circuit Clerk; Gary Dial, Circuit Judge, Jim Kigar, Juvenile Officer; and Kimberly Nicoli, Prosecuting Attorney.  Each office holder gave a short report of activity in their office. The next meeting date was set for September 15, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

Mike Simerl, FEMA representative, conducted an exit briefing of FEMA Declaration 4238.

Seeing no further business, Presiding Commissioner Ebeling adjourned the meeting at 12:00 p.m.

The Scotland County Commission adjourned to meet in regular session on Wednesday, June 22, 2016.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

PLACE OF MEETING: Scotland County Courthouse Commission Chambers

The meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m.

PRESENT WERE:  Presiding Commissioner, Duane Ebeling; Eastern District Commissioner, Danette Clatt; Western District Commissioner, David Wiggins; and County Clerk, Batina Dodge.

Commissioner Clatt moved to approve the consent agenda; seconded by Presiding Commissioner Ebeling. Motion carried 3-0.

The minutes from June 16, 2016 were presented. Commissioner Wiggins moved to approve the regular session minutes; seconded by Commissioner Clatt. Motion carried 3-0.

The Commission ordered solicitation of bids for propane.

Ryan Clark, Road and Bridge Supervisor, met with the Commission to discuss the progress of current projects and equipment.

Brett Peters, Altorfer salesman, presented Clark and the Commission with information for mulchers.

Bill Dees, Meeco Engineering representative, spoke with the Commission about engineering services.

Jordan Wood held a listening post for Senator Roy Blunt’s office between 10:00 and 11:00.

Seeing no further business, Presiding Commissioner Ebeling adjourned the meeting at 12:00 p.m.

The Scotland County Commission adjourned to meet in regular session on Thursday, June 23, 2016.

FAYE (WHITE) WATKINS (7/15/1921 – 6/21/2016)

Faye (White) Watkins, 94, of Lancaster, Missouri passed away on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at her daughter’s home in West Des Moines, Iowa.

The daughter of Fred Fay and Verna May (Coger) White, she was born on July 15, 1921 in Downing, Missouri.  On November 20, 1943 in Queen City, Missouri, she was united in marriage to Eugene Wilson Watkins and to this union two children were born, Jane A. and David L.

Survivors include her children, Dr. Jane A. Watkins of West Des Moines, Iowa and Dr. David L. Watkins and wife, Karen of Midland, Texas; two granddaughters, Jessica Nicole Watkins of Dallas, Texas and Katherine Elizabeth Watkins of Fort Worth, Texas; one grandson, Dr. Lucas Nathanial Watkins and wife, Samantha of Orlando, Florida; one niece and several nephews and other family members.

Her parents; her husband; one brother, Rolla White and one sister, Dorothy Lewis, precede Faye in death.

Faye was employed with the MFA in Lancaster, Missouri after high school and again in 1958 to 1981. She was also a member of the Lancaster Christian Church in Lancaster, Missouri since 1949 where she was an active member as long as her health permitted.  She was active in the Christian Women’s Fellowship (CWA) and was also a fifty-year member of the Order of Eastern Star.

Faye’s life centered on caring for her family and she loved to cook and garden.  She especially enjoyed when all her family was home and together!

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at the Lancaster Christian Church in Lancaster, Missouri with Sonny Smyser, Pastor of the Schuyler County Church of Faith in Lancaster, Missouri officiating. Music was provided by Maureen Watkins, organist, Cole Tippett, Jessi and Kate Watkins, soloists.  Special selections were “The Lord’s Prayer” and “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”. Pallbearers were Trent Snowbarger, Quinten Smyser, Geoffrey Harding, Robert Watkins, Phil Beeler, Matt Watkins and Stanley Martin.

Memorials have been established for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Burial will be in the Arni Memorial Cemetery in Lancaster, Missouri.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family by logging on to

Arrangements were under the direction of the Norman Funeral Home of Lancaster, Missouri.

JANE E. BOLL (12/6/1947 – 6/11/2016)

obit boll web

Jane E. Boll, 68, of  Quincy, IL died on Saturday, June 11, 2016 in the North Adams Home, Mendon, IL. She was born on December 6, 1947 in Downing, MO, a daughter of Emery and Myrtle (Smoot) St. Clair.

Jane graduated from Downing High School. She married Gregory Boll on June 14, 1969. He preceded her in death. Jane started her career at Pekin Insurance Co. and later worked for Klitz Insurance. Jane then worked for Winters Insurance Group for many years until her retirement.

Jane was of the Catholic Faith. She liked to sew and enjoyed traveling to the Lake of the Ozarks and the Lake of the Oaks. She loved spending time with her grandchildren.

She is survived by two children, Jason Boll of Quincy, IL and Ryan Boll and his wife Stacy of Quincy, IL; three grandchildren, Shelby Boll, Andrew Boll and Blaine Biggers; a sister, Betty Alexander and her husband Frank; and numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives also survive.

In addition to her husband, she was also preceded in death by her parents.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at at the Duker & Haugh Funeral Home, Quincy, IL. Interment was in Calvary Cemetery in Quincy, IL.

Memorials may be made to the Madonna House Shelter, Quincy, IL.

Condolences may left online at

How Does One Remain Happy?

This could be one of the most focused emotions which transcend age and locale. People..and we just happen to be some of those… are on constant prowl for the happies.  Is there a way, I wondered, to find such day by day?  Or, is such a state merely religious folklore?

For the longest time, this element seemed to run hot and cold.  Good mood one day, I was in a bad one the next.  Urggh!  And then things fundamentally shifted.  I’ll share what I think I know as long as you understand that I understand that I am not the expert.

Happiness is not just a matter of the mind; but of the heart.  Life seems to unfold according to the way we think.  Interruptions and disappointments do not negate this idea for a significant key to moving through such is dependent, not upon the troubles themselves, but rather upon our thinking about them.  Problems do not stop us in our tracks.  How we determine to view them does.  If we believe troubles rule us; then we are sunk.  But if we perceive these as stepping stones, then of course we are advantaged.

Consider the Beatitudes of Blessed are. Notice that the circumstances are not always positive; but one’s faith turns rough stuff into favor toward our days.  Blessed are the peacemakers and Blessed are those who are persecuted are not conflictive points.

The good day/bad day experiences are not determined by one’s circumstantial unfolding (could I just admire for a minute my wording circumstantial unfolding) as an enormous life-adjustment takes place when we realize that we are to/can be happy, even blessed, in the very center of any moment.

God is the difference maker.  It is God who can make something from nothing or give life to the dead (Romans 4:17).  It is God who takes the old and makes us new.

How does one not only get happy, but remain happy?  This equation is never…underline never… dependent upon the behavior of another for we are set to find blessings in the conflicting truths of peace or persecution.  We are about the joy of the Lord.

The world is looking, I believe, for followers of Jesus who aren’t so moody; so touchy, or so easily offended as if to appear that we don’t know God either.  The Cross that we are to take up is our signal of intended injury and pain… very personally, I might add. Therefore, we are to quit running from stresses in the form of sad-faced pouting.

Even in the struggles of the day, we are able to have the strength from Him to be happy.  We can do this….and many already do.  May we do our best to think on the Bright Side.



Battle of Fort Moultrie

The Battle of Fort Moultrie, June 28, 1776, was fought and won against a formidable British fleet… just six days prior to the Declaration of Independence and resulted  in a significant  American victory over the British. Earlier that year, a  crude log fort  had been built on Sullivan’s Island as a first line of defense for Charleston, South Carolina. A formidable British fleet,  under the command of Sir Peter Parker, attacked the small American force, led by Colonel William Moultrie, held its  position despite all day shelling. Moultrie later described the scene as’ “ one continual blaze and roar; and clouds of smoke curling over… for  hour’s together”. Even  though the British had far superior firepower at their disposal, the spongy palmetto  logs and sand that comprised the American fort absorbed most  of the enemy shells before they cold explode. During the bombardment, the fort’s flag—-a distinctive silver  crescent on a blue field—was shot down by the British. Ignoring heavy gun fire, Sergeant William Jasper retrieved the standard and replanted it on the fort’s rampart. At nightfall, the defeated British withdrew. The American victory  ensured the safety of the  port of Charleston and won many people over to the  patriot cause. Before this battle, General George Washington had had little success   in the North. The Americans’ triumph at Sullivan’s Island showed that the South could wage a successful campaign. It stood as a symbolic  Declaration of Independence from the British, preceding the signing of the actual document in lest than a week. The blue and silver crescent flag that Jasper replanted  during the battle later served as the inspiration for the South Carolina state flag.

From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution


Unless you are in school, the summer is not considered to be most people’s favorite time of year. We usually choose the spring or fall because of the comfortable temperatures and the changes that can be easily seen in the environment around us. In the spring the trees bloom, the plants grow, and the wildlife is preparing for new life. In the fall those same trees, plants, and wildlife prepare for the colder and dormant days of winter.

But what about the summer? As a child these were my favorite days. The hotter the sun got the better the swimming pool felt. I can’t ever remember complaining about the heat when I was young. Now, I am tempted to do it every day. It seems when I was young my tolerance for the extremes was greater. Not only was I unaffected by the heat but I loved to play for hours in the snow; and how mad some of my cranky neighbors would get when the neighborhood kids turned their roads into a giant slalom course (The cranky ones are always the ones that forgot what it was like to be a youngster).

Today, extremes are still something that we “adults” like to leave to the teenagers. We dare not take risk and we had rather live our lives in a consistent seventy degree temperature. Some of us will even move from north to south during the year just to follow this comfort.  Have you ever noticed how many of us will leave an air-conditioned house; drive in an air-conditioned car to an air-conditioned gym, in order to sweat? Anything else would be too extreme. It’s like saying, “I will only sacrifice under certain circumstances and within certain parameters.” I guess one could say that we have come a long way – or maybe we have stayed where we are a long time.

The truth is anyone can participate in the seasons of comfort. Anyone can climb out of their comfortable surroundings when they know the ones they are climbing into are just as comfortable. But in order to get the most out of our year, and our life, we must be willing to embrace the seasons that are extreme. They are the ones that will always call you out of your comfort, out of what you are sure of, and into an area that you have not dared enter since you were a child. Your childhood was not meant to be the only days for extreme living. It was meant to show you that if you only live your adult life in comfort, you will miss some of the greatest things God had planned for you.

Scotland County Nearly Shutout in Latest CRP Signup


In May the results of the 49th annual Conservation Reserve Program enrollment results were announced with more than 800,000 acres nationwide accepted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help farmers offset the costs of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and strengthen wildlife habitat.

Historically, Scotland County landowners have been able to get all the ground they wanted, into the program. During the last signup period in 2015, Scotland County had a 100% acceptance rate with all 45 enrollments entered into the CRP program.

According to Bob Garino, Missouri State Statistician with the USDA – National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Scotland County had more than 28,000 acres in CRP in 2015. That number is expected to drop below 27,000 this year when the new contract period opens November 1.

That is because in 2016 just four of the 73 enrollment signups were accepted. But Scotland County was not alone. According to Allen Powell of the Missouri Farm Service Agency, Midwestern states averaged just 17-19% acceptance rates.

“Typically for most past signups, MO had a 90% plus acceptance rate for general signup, but the CRP ceiling has been coming down from 29 million to 24 since the last farm bill passed,” said Powell.

According to the USDA, this was one of the most selective sign-up periods in CRP’s 30-year history, with a record high Environmental Benefits Index cut-off and the lowest-percentage of applications accepted.

Powell indicated the Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) score cutoff soared to 292 to earn enrollment, further reflecting how competitive the current sign-up period was, since previous cutoffs had been in the 230-250 range.

USDA officials say that means that the per-acre conservation benefits are being maximized and that acres enrolled address multiple conservation priorities simultaneously.

Farmers in Scotland County may not see it that way after 69 of the 73 applications for CRP in 2016 were denied by the USDA, leaving local farmers with just a 5.4% acceptance rate.

For local producers who wondered if the loss of a possible 30 extra points previously available to Scotland County as a Wildlife Protection Area, impacted the results, Powell offered some context.

“Producers didn’t automatically get those points when Scotland County was a WPA,” said Powell. “But we had one county whose producers did qualify for the 30 points for wildlife. They had 231 offers and only got one accepted.”

The squeeze has come threefold for local producers. A nationwide acreage limit was established for this program in the 2014 Farm Bill, capping the total number of acres that may be enrolled at 24 million for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. That is less than half the 45 million acre level first created in 1985 when the CRP program was created by the 1985 Food Security Act.

At the same time, USDA has experienced a record demand from farmers and ranchers interested in participating in the voluntary program. As of March 2016, 23.8 million acres were enrolled in CRP, with 1.7 million acres set to expire this fall.

Over three million acres have been offered for enrollment this year across the three main categories within CRP, with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) receiving over 26,000 offers to enroll more than 1.8 million acres during the general enrollment period.

Then you factor in the rapidly expanding number of special categories, such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and continuous CRP.

During this signup over 4,600 offers were made to enroll more than one million acres in the new CRP Grasslands program. Coming off a record-setting 2015 continuous enrollment of over 860,000 acres, more than 364,000 acres already have been accepted for 2016 in the CRP continuous enrollment, triple the pace of last year.

So, FSA accepted just 411,000 acres in general enrollment, the most competitive selection in the history of the program.

USDA selected offers by weighing environmental factors plus cost, including wildlife enhancement, water quality, soil erosion, enduring benefits, and air quality.

The results of the first-ever enrollment period for CRP Grasslands, FSA will also accept 101,000 acres in the program, providing participants with financial assistance for establishing approved grasses, trees and shrubs on pasture and rangeland that can continue to be grazed.  More than 70 percent of these acres are diverse native grasslands under threat of conversion, and more than 97 percent of the acres have a new, veteran or underserved farmer or rancher as a primary producer. FSA continues to accept CRP Grasslands offers and will conduct another ranking period later this year. Acres are ranked according to current and future use, new and underserved producer involvement, maximum grassland preservation, vegetative cover, pollinator habitat and various other environmental factors.

While the 49th sign-up period was the most competitive on record, experts are expecting much of the same next year.

That causes some concern for the local economy. In 2015 CRP generated a record high $2,877,203 of income for landowners in Scotland County.

That income level had remained fairly consistent, since 1985, with roughly $2.5 million a year coming into the county thru the CRP program.

The income level had remained fairly level despite already declining numbers of acres in the program. A record high 42,825 acres in Scotland County were in CRP in 2007. By 2014 that had dropped to 29,314 acres.

The overall revenue remained high as average rental raises rose from around $70 in 2010 to $98.15 in 2014.

Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $29 billion to help producers make conservation improvements, working with as many as 500,000 farmers, ranchers and landowners to protect land and water on over 400 million acres nationwide.

But in the 49th CRP sign-up, Missouri offered 121,307 acres in 2,649 separate enrollments, with only 472 offers and 20,867 acres being accepted.

Missouri producers aren’t alone in feeling the squeeze on CRP acres.

Shortly after the current signup results were released, the South Dakota congressional delegation officially requested USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack reevaluate the selection process after the state saw similarly dismal success rates to Scotland County in the most recent signup.

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) complained that out of 727 South Dakota applications for more than 42,000 acres, only 101 acres were accepted by USDA.

“Drastically restricting the number of general CRP contract enrollment acres in our state removes the option for most expiring large landscape CRP contract acres from being reenrolled in CRP,” the delegation wrote. “And as a result, because they are denied the option to enroll in general CRP contracts, tens of thousands of acres of marginal land in expiring CRP contracts will be returned to crop production, resulting in higher costs to taxpayers due to increased commodity crop base acres and payments, and increased crop insurance subsidy and indemnity payments. In addition, South Dakota’s already shrinking grassland landscape will dwindle at an accelerated pace.”

« Older Entries