Community News Archives for 2022-03

USDA encourages producers to enroll grasslands into special CRP signup

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages producers and landowners to enroll in the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) starting next week through May 13, 2022.  Grassland CRP provides a unique opportunity for farmers, ranchers, and agricultural landowners to keep land in agricultural production and supplement their income while improving their soils and permanent grass cover.   The program had its highest enrollment in history in 2021 and is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader effort to equip producers with the tools they need to help address climate change and invest in the long-term health of our natural resources.


Grassland CRP is a federally funded voluntary working lands program. Through the program, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides annual rental payments to landowners to maintain and conserve grasslands while allowing producers to graze, hay, and produce seed on that land.  Maintaining the existing permanent cover provides several benefits, including reducing erosion, providing wildlife habitat and migration corridors, and capturing and maintaining carbon in the soil and cover. 

“Grassland CRP is an important working lands conservation tool that offers a win-win to both our country’s producers and the environment by supporting and enabling grazing activities, while at the same time promoting plant and animal biodiversity and stemming rangeland conversion,” said Susan Houston, Acting FSA State Executive Director in Indiana. “We had a successful signup last year, and we look forward to broadening our base and working with new producers, particularly our historically underserved producers, to ensure they can access the program and its many benefits.”  


FSA provides participants with annual rental payments and cost-share assistance. The annual rental rate varies by county with a national minimum rental rate of $13 per acre for this signup. Contract duration is 10 or 15 years. 


Broadening Reach of Program 


As part of the Agency’s Justice40 efforts, producers and landowners who are historically underserved, including beginning farmers and military veterans, will receive 10 additional ranking points to enhance their offers. 


Additionally, USDA is working to broaden the scope and reach of Grassland CRP by leveraging the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program?(CREP) to engage historically underserved communities. CREP is a partnership program that enables states, Tribal governments, non-profit, and private entities to partner with FSA to implement CRP practices and address high priority conservation and environmental objectives. Interested entities are encouraged to contact FSA. 


More Information on CRP 

Landowners and producers interested in Grassland CRP should contact their local USDA Service Center to learn more or to apply for the program before the May 13 deadline.  Additionally, fact sheets and other resources are available


Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest voluntary private-lands conservation programs in the United States. The working lands signup announced today demonstrates how much it has evolved from the original program that was primarily intended to control soil erosion and only had the option to take enrolled land out of production. The program has expanded over the years and now supports a greater variety of conservation and wildlife benefits, along with the associated economic benefits.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit

Duke Energy upgrades underground power lines to improve service in Shelbyville

Duke Energy is strengthening part of its electric grid in Shelbyville to improve reliability and reduce power outages.


Crews are working to replace more than 1,800 feet of aged, underground power lines along Aaron Drive, Berwick Drive, Hickory Lane and Ruby Drive. The new underground cable lines will be more reliable and reduce the risk of prolonged power outages for homes in the area in the future. Work will begin in April and is expected to conclude by June.


Customers may see large electric utility equipment in the area of the underground cable line improvements, including utility trucks and digging and boring equipment.


“This important work is part of a smart, multi-layered energy grid improvement strategy to help improve electric reliability and strengthen the electric grid against severe weather and other impacts,” said Duke Energy government and community relations manager Jean Renk. “Making the right investments today means that the energy grid customers and their families depend on will be more reliable and more responsive in the future.”

Shelbyville's Girls Inc. receives Duke Energy Foundation grant

The Duke Energy Foundation announced it is awarding more than $300,000 in grants to 24 innovative K-12 education programs serving communities across Indiana.


The grants support a wide range of educational programming for K-12 students, including summer reading programs; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education; programs that support underrepresented, low-income or diverse populations; and efforts to reverse academic declines due to disruption caused by COVID-19.


Over the past three years, the Duke Energy Foundation has awarded 76 strategic charitable grants totaling more than $1.1 million to nonprofit organizations working to bolster education in Indiana communities. 


Among those receiving grants is Girls Inc. of Shelbyville & Shelby County.  $10,000. will be used to provide scholarships for girls from underserved communities to attend Girls Inc. of Shelbyville and Shelby County’s summer literacy program.





AMERICAN PICKERS to film in Indiana

The American Pickers are excited to return to Indiana! They plan to film episodes of The History Channel hit television series in May 2022.

AMERICAN PICKERS is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique “picking” on The History Channel. The hit show follows skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizeable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.

As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, the Pickers are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, they want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items. They hope to give historically significant objects a new lease on life while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way. The Pickers have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them.

We at American Pickers continue to take the pandemic very seriously and will be following all guidelines and protocols for safe filming outlined by the state and CDC. Nevertheless, we are excited to continue reaching the many collectors in the area to discuss their years of picking and are eager to hear their memorable stories!

The American Pickers TV Show is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send us your name, phone number, location, and description of  the collection  with photos to: or call (646) 493-2184, or through Facebook: @GotAPick .



Daylight Savings: Spring ahead this weekend

Sunday, March 13, marks an hour of lost sleep, but starts the long-awaited days of more sunlight ahead. Take the time this weekend to adjust your clocks and consider taking three key safety steps to protect against possible risks you and your family might face.


“Spring is a time of renewal and a good reminder to reassess our disaster readiness,” said Kevin M. Sligh, acting regional administrator, FEMA Region 5. “As we recommit to doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19, let’s also ensure our families know what to do in an emergency and verify our homes are as resilient as possible to all hazards.”


  1. Verify your carbon monoxide and smoke detector work. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for testing the equipment to ensure it is functioning appropriately. Invest in new detectors if they’re near or past the manufacturer’s recommended replacement age.   
  2. Help stop the pandemic by getting vaccinated. Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get the virus. Be sure to continue taking precautions in public places as well, including wearing a mask, staying six feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing your hands often. To learn more, visit  
  3. Confirm your insurance coverage & home inventory list are up-to-date. Review your insurance policies and meet with your agent to ensure you’re fully covered for the hazards that most threaten your area. Keep an up-to-date record of your household items and valuable belongings. Take photos and videos of appliances, fixtures, and the interior and exterior structure of your property. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. These documents are important when filing insurance claims.

WISE Women hosted Shelby County Chamber of Commerce is Wednesday


The Shelby County Chamber will host a new monthly event starting this Wednesday.  “WISE Women” is a new event offering that is geared for the women of Shelby County and the immediate area.  The “WISE” stands for:

Women in Shelby Empower”.  Benefits of these meetings include finding valuable long-term business contacts, hearing advice from peers and neighbors, sharing knowledge and experiences, while placing a strong emphasis on making connections and collaboration.  There will be no agenda, just great discussions.



Meet at The Bookmark Café, (9 Public Sq, Shelbyville, IN)located next to Three Sisters Bookstore in downtown.The meeting will be in the room adjacent to The Bookmark Café.  You are welcome to purchase coffee or breakfast from the café and join in the discussion and networking.



Wednesday, March 2 at 8:30 am.  Drop in anytime, stay for a short time or stay  the whole time!  This is a monthly meet-up, the first Wednesday of every month.



All Shelby County Chamber members are welcome, and women who are not Chamber members that would like to learn more about the benefits of being a member.  No one will be turned away!



“Empowered groups work together to make changes within themselves and their community,” said Donna Christian, Executive Director of the Shelby County Chamber.  “I can’t wait to hear some of the discussions.  What I am sure of, there will be laughter and great camaraderie,”  she said.