What's Up at the FSA Office?

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

Upcoming Deadlines and Important Dates
• September 3: Office closed in recognition of Labor Day
• September 28: ARCPLC Signup Deadline
• September 28: MPP-Dairy Premiums Due

Managed Haying Requests
For those who have stopped in to request managed haying on your CRP ground, make sure the bales are off that ground by September 30. 

USDA Microloans Help Farmers Purchase Farmland and Improve Property
Producers, Including Beginning and Underserved Farmers, Have a New Option to Gain Access to Land

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans are especially helpful to beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations.

The microloan program has been hugely successful, providing more than 16,800 low-interest loans, totaling over $373 million to producers across the country. Microloans have helped farmers and ranchers with operating costs, such as feed, fertilizer, tools, fencing, equipment, and living expenses since 2013. Seventy percent of loans have gone to new farmers.

Now, microloans will be available to also help with farm land and building purchases, and soil and water conservation improvements. FSA designed the expanded program to simplify the application process, expand eligibility requirements and expedite smaller real estate loans to help farmers strengthen their operations.

Microloans provide up to $50,000 to qualified producers, and can be issued to the applicant directly from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA).

CRP Participants Must Maintain Approved Cover on Acreages Enrolled in CRP and Farm Programs
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) participants are responsible for ensuring adequate, approved vegetative and practice cover is maintained to control erosion throughout the life of the contract after the practice has been established. Participants must also control undesirable vegetation, weeds (including noxious weeds),

insects and rodents that may pose a threat to existing cover or adversely impact other landowners in the area.

All CRP maintenance activities, such as mowing, burning, disking and spraying, must be conducted outside the primary nesting or brood rearing season for wildlife, which for Iowa is May 15-August 1. However, spot treatment of the acreage may be allowed during the primary nesting or brood rearing season if, left untreated, the weeds, insects or undesirable species would adversely impact the approved cover. In this instance, spot treatment is limited to the affected areas in the field and requires County Committee approval prior to beginning the spot treatment. The County Committee will consult with NRCS to determine if such activities are needed to maintain the approved cover.

Annual mowing of CRP for generic weed control, or for cosmetic purposes, is prohibited at all times.

Reporting Solar Panels Constructed on Cropland
Producers who have solar panels constructed on their farms should notify the local Farm Service Agency office. Any area that is no longer considered suitable as cropland (producing annual or perennial crops) should be designated in FSA’s records and aerial photography maps. When base acres on a farm are converted to a non-agricultural commercial or industrial use, the total base acres on the farm must be reduced accordingly. Non-cropland areas used for solar panels might impact payments calculated using base acres, such as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) annual rental payments.

Elections for the 2018 County Committee
Elections for USDA’s Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Allamakee County Committee is underway.

It is important that every eligible producer participate in these elections because FSA county committees are a link between the agricultural community and the USDA. The 2018 election in Name County will be conducted for the representative Local Administrative Area (LAA) 3: which includes Iowa, Lansing, Center, LaFayette, Paint Creek and Taylor townships.

County committee election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters on Nov. 5, 2018. The last day to return completed ballots to the Name County USDA service center is December 3, 2018.

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