UPDATED August 25, 2020, US Virgin Islands – The Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (VIDA) invites community members to a discussion regarding the regulations for livestock owners in the Territory on June 30, 2020 at 5:30 pm. This virtual meeting was held via Zoom.
This meeting is the first step in educating farmers on pertinent livestock regulations and enforcing with law. VIDA will be working with farmers and community members to follow best practices for raising healthy animals and producing a safe and wholesome food product. We will specifically cover the following subsections in preparation for enforcement:
- Proper feeding and care:
- Owners are responsible for providing the proper feed, shelter, water, and veterinary care for their animals at all times.
- Stray animals:
- “(1) that animals straying on public highways and other places private or public, constitute a danger to the public health, safety and convenience, are destructive of property, increase traffic hazards and expose such animals to inhumane suffering.”
- Identification and registration of animals:
- “(a)No person shall own, keep or harbor any donkey, horse, mule, sheep, cattle, hog, or goat, two months old or older, unless such animal is branded, tagged, [micro-chipped,] or tattooed …”
- “(a) Any animal found running at large, or tied on public property, or on private property without the consent of the owner of the property, shall be taken up by animal wardens …”
June 8, 2020, US Virgin Islands – The Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (VIDA) is urging farmers to practice water and soil conservation practices. The benefits of which are increased yields per unit of land, better production per unit of labor, and improved reliability of yields. We encourage farmers to utilize VIDA’s Conservation & Forestry programs or contact UVI’s Cooperative Extension Service for more assistance.
As an update, VIDA St. Croix will be suspending its Soil Giveaway Program beginning Monday, June 15, 2020 until further notice.
Additionally, due to the overwhelming demand on our water systems, the VIDA St. Croix campus will be implementing and enforcing the following water schedule and policies beginning on Monday, June 15, 2020:
- Water Tanks at the Rudolph Shulterbrandt Agricultural Complex
- Tuesday & Thursday, 7:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Saturday & Sunday, 6:00 am – 12:00pm
- Community Gardens
- Tuesday & Thursday, 7:00 am – 3:00 pm
- Saturday & Sunday, 7:00 am – 3:00 pm
- Farmers must have a Water Pass.
- Farmers will be restricted to a limit of 500 gallons per day.
- Water facilities will be CLOSED on Monday, Wednesday, & Friday.
In the St. Thomas district, Farmers are reminded that taps on existing water systems are illegal and will be removed at the Department’s discretion. Please DO NOT modify or change the direction of water flow without prior authorization.
For more information or questions, please contact the St. Croix Department of Agriculture at (340) 778-0997 or the St. Thomas Department of Agriculture at (340) 774-5182. Finally, consider reading the Food and Agriculture Organization’s document on the best conservation practices at: https://bit.ly/2ASb2mV
Are you a farmer or rancher whose operation has been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic?
The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program provides direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19.
For information, please visit: https://www.farmers.gov/cfap
The grant funding is $500 and is meant to lessen the immediate financial needs of farmers and their households. This means funds could cover expenses like food, medical bills, utility bills, etc. The funds are NOT meant to cover farm-related expenses. The IRS guidelines regarding direct assistance to farm families prevent us from granting funds to support the farm and its business costs. Your acceptance of this grant award signifies your understanding and agreement to these use requirements.
Application Due: June 15, 2020, 6 pm
Email a scanned copy of this application to Jarred White at firstname.lastname@example.org OR Mail your application (postmarked by June 15th) to:
- Farm Aid Grant
P.O. Box 640 Pittsboro, NC 27312
To fill out the application, please visit their website!
May 19, 2020, US Virgin Islands – The Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (VIDA) is urging livestock and horse owners to prepare their animals for an extended dry period this year. Due to concerns for advancing dry weather, livestock and horse owners should begin to implement steps now to reduce harmful effects to their animals. Commissioner, Positive T. A. Nelson is additionally encouraging “swift action to ensure that food and water are available for their animals during the dry weather.”
Dr. Bethany Bradford, Director of Veterinary Services explains that “extended dry weather presents serious health and welfare issues for animals that depend on forage and pasture. Especially at risk are sheep, goats, cattle, and horses who are at risk for malnutrition, disease, and death when pastures dry out. Animals will need additional clean water to stay hydrated. Salt and molasses can help to balance nutritional needs during dry weather. Supplemental nutrition will be required for pregnant, lactating, and growing animals. If possible, reduce your herd to a manageable and affordable size for the amount of land that you have and feed you can provide.”
Dr. Bradford advises farmers to focus on providing protein for pasture animals. Quality feed such as alfalfa cubes, rabbit pellets, fresh tan-tan and leguminous vines provide excellent protein for animals which results in better overall health. In these difficult times, it is important to spend money wisely on much needed protein and read product labels to ensure adequate nutrition.
VIDA additionally reminds farmers to protect pastures and alternate/remove animals before the grass is killed by overgrazing. Taking good care of your pastures now, allows you to use them for longer periods of time and can reduce your feed bill in the future.
Additionally, livestock and horse owners need to ensure fences are in good shape to keep animals in. During the dry season, animals will break down fences in order to find food and will wander on to roads and into yards and other farms causing crop damage and possibly vehicle accidents.
For more information on preparing for the dry weather contact the Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services St. Croix 778-0997, St. Thomas 774-5182, or St. John 776-6274.