What's Up at the FSA Office?

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

Upcoming Deadlines and Important Dates
May 15 - August 1: Primary Nesting Season.  No MCM activities on CRP acres.
June 3 - August 23: CRP Continuous Signup 52 
June 14: COC Nominations Begin
June 17 - Sept. 20: Dairy Margin Coverage Program Sign-Up
July 15: Last Day to Certify Crop Acres

Crop Reporting
Allamakee county farmers are reminded to report all spring planted crops to the FSA office by July 15 to remain eligible for FSA and other USDA programs. Please remember to bring planting dates with you. It is the producer’s responsibility to accurately report acres and producer’s shares in individual crops. Discrepancies found later may affect eligibility for all FSA-administered programs. Late-filed crop reports are assessed a $46 (per) farm visit fee.

Dairy Margin Coverage
The 2018 Farm Bill authorized the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program, a voluntary risk management program for dairy producers. DMC replaces the Margin Protection Program and continues to offer protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

Sign-up runs through September 20. Payments will be retroactive to January. Right now, we know the margin rates of January, February, March, and April. We should know the May margin by early July.

Dairy producers will select a coverage level ranging from $4.00 to $9.50 per cwt, in $0.50 increments and select a coverage percentage of the dairy operation’s production history ranging from 5 percent to 95 percent, in 5 percent increments. You have the option to receive a 25% discount on your annual premiums if you lock in for five years. You cannot change your coverage if you lock in.

FSA and the University of Wisconsin partnered on the development of a DMC decision support tool that helps producers determine the level of coverage under a variety of conditions that will provide them with the strongest coverage. Access the tool at https://dairymarkets.org/MPP.

County Committee Election
It’s that time of year when FSA begins the process of the county committee election. This year the election will be for LAA -1, which includes Waterloo, Union City, Hanover, French Creek, Union Prairie, and Makee townships. Essentially the NW portion of the county. Nomination period runs through August 1. You can nominate yourself or someone else by completing the appropriate form at our office or download it online. Once nominations are finalized, producers who reside in LAA-1 will cast ballots which will be mailed to you on November 4. These ballots are due back to the FSA office by December 2. The elected member will take office on January 1. We’ll be getting more information out, posting flyers around town, and folks in these townships will be getting a postcard in June. 

USDA Makes it Easier to Transfer Land to the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering an early termination opportunity for certain Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts, making it easier to transfer property to the next generation of farmers and ranchers, including family members. The land that is eligible for the early termination is among the least environmentally sensitive land enrolled in CRP.

Normally if a landowner terminates a CRP contract early, they are required to repay all previous payments plus interest. The new policy waives this repayment if the land is transferred to a beginning farmer or rancher through a sale or lease with an option to buy. With CRP enrollment close to the Congressionally-mandated cap of 24 million acres, the early termination will also allow USDA to enroll other land with higher conservation value elsewhere.

Acres terminated early from CRP under these land tenure provisions will be eligible for priority enrollment consideration into the CRP Grasslands, if eligible; or the Conservation Stewardship Program or Environmental Quality Incentives Program, as determined by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

According to the Tenure, Ownership and Transition of Agricultural Land survey, conducted by USDA in 2014, U.S. farmland owners expect to transfer 93 million acres to new ownership during 2015-2019. This represents 10 percent of all farmland across the nation. Details on the early termination opportunity will be available starting on January 9, 2017, at local USDA service centers. For more information about CRP and to find out if your acreage is eligible for early contract termination, contact your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office or go online at www.fsa.usda.gov/crp.

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