What's Up at the FSA Office?

by Jeremy Leitz, Allamakee County Executive Director (563) 568-2148

Upcoming Deadlines and Important Dates
• August 1: Last day to request a farm/tract reconstitution for 2018 crop year
• August 1: Last day to file County Committee Election Nomination Form
• August 17: CRP Signup 51

County Office Committee Election in LAA-2 – Deadline for Nominations is August 1!
The COC nomination period started June 15, and producers can nominate themselves or others. If you would like to run, or are nominated and agree to run, you will need to complete form FSA-669A, which you can pick up at our office or online at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections.  All nominations must be postmarked or received in our office by August 1.

Election ballots are then mailed to eligible voters in the electing LAA beginning November 5 and are due back no later than December 3.  All newly elected members take office January 1, and serve for three years, with a maximum of three terms.  So if you reside in LAA-3, and would like to run, stop in to pick up the nomination form and return it by August 1.

CRP Routine Grazing and Managed Harvesting
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) participants can utilize routine grazing and managed harvesting as outlined in their conservation plan. Managed harvesting and routine grazing are authorized under certain conditions to improve the quality and performance of the CRP cover.

Routine grazing is authorized every other year. Contracts approved prior to July 28, 2010, and still considered managed grazing can only participate in grazing one out of every three years. Managed harvesting for hay is authorized no more frequently than one in three years.

Under normal conditions, managed haying and routine grazing can be requested at the local FSA office by the landowner or producer on the CRP contract. The same acreage cannot be hayed and grazed.

CRP acres must be considered fully established before haying or grazing can be authorized. In addition, haying or grazing CRP acres is not authorized during the primary nesting season. For Iowa, the primary nesting season is May 15 through August 1. Producer must request approval before haying or grazing the acreage.

Approved haying/grazing dates are:

• Split grazing: April 1 - May 14 and August 2 - September 30
• Fall grazing: August 2 - September 30
• Haying: August 2 - September 30

All bales and livestock must be removed by September 30. Stop in the office within 5 days when done with the haying/grazing to ensure a timely and accurate CRP payment.

Routine grazing and managed harvesting will result in an annual rental payment reduction of no less than 25 percent based on the number of acres actually grazed or harvested. Producers who qualify as a beginning farmer or rancher, who are grazing CRP acres, will not be assessed a payment reduction. This waiver only applies to routine grazing.

All hayed and grazed acres are subject to FSA spot-check at any time during or after the authorization period.

It is important to contact your local FSA office prior to any haying or grazing activities on CRP acres to ensure your contract remains in compliance.

USDA Offers Targeted Farm Loan Funding for Underserved Groups and Beginning Farmers
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers that FSA offers targeted farm ownership and farm operating loans to assist underserved applicants as well as beginning farmers and ranchers.

USDA defines underserved applicants as a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of the group without regard to their individual qualities. For farm loan program purposes, targeted underserved groups are women, African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Hispanics and Asians and Pacific Islanders.

Underserved or beginning farmers and ranchers who cannot obtain commercial credit from a bank can apply for either FSA direct loans or guaranteed loans. Direct loans are made to applicants by FSA. Guaranteed loans are made by lending institutions who arrange for FSA to guarantee the loan. FSA can guarantee up to 95 percent of the loss of principal and interest on a loan. The FSA guarantee allows lenders to make agricultural credit available to producers who do not meet the lender’s normal underwriting criteria.

The direct and guaranteed loan program provides for two types of loans:  farm ownership loans and farm operating loans. In addition to customary farm operating and ownership loans, FSA now offers Microloans through the direct loan program. The focus of Microloans is on the financing needs of small, beginning farmer, niche and non-traditional farm operations. Microloans are available for both ownership and operating finance needs. To learn more, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/microloans.

To qualify as a beginning producer, the individual or entity must meet the eligibility requirements outlined for direct or guaranteed loans. Additionally, individuals and all entity members must have operated a farm for less than 10 years. Applicants must materially or substantially participate in the operation.

For more information on FSA’s farm loan programs and targeted underserved and beginning farmer guidelines, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/farmloans.

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