What's up at the FSA Office?

by Joyce Davidshofer, Allamakee County Executive Director

April 15, 2014 – January 30, 2015 sign-up for the LIP/LFP/ELAP/TAP programs.
July 15, 2014 – Crop certification deadline
New: Allamakee County Executive Director Joyce Davidshofer, starting June 4, will be on KNEI Radio at 9 a.m. every Wednesday to update producers on programs and deadlines.

Livestock Disaster Assistance Sign-Up Underway
Livestock disaster program enrollment opened  April 15, 2014. These disaster programs are authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill as permanent programs and provide retroactive authority to cover losses that occurred on or after October 1, 2011.
To expedite applications, all producers who experienced losses are encouraged to bring records documenting those losses to their local FSA Office. Producers should record all pertinent information of natural disaster consequences, including:
• Documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died, supplemented if possible by photographs or video records of ownership and losses
• Dates of death supported by birth recordings or purchase receipts
• Costs of transporting livestock to safer grounds or to move animals to new pastures
• Feed purchases if supplies or grazing pastures are destroyed
• Crop records, including seed and fertilizer purchases, planting and production records.

Eligible producers can sign-up for the following livestock disaster assistance programs:
Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP):
• LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses due to drought on privately owned or cash leased land or fire on federally managed land. Eligible producers must physically be located in a county affected by a qualifying drought during the normal grazing period for the county. Producers who suffered eligible grazing losses should submit a completed CCC-853 and supporting documentation by January 30, 2015.

Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP):
• LIP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather and attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law. Producers who suffered livestock death losses should submit a notice of loss and an application for payment to their local FSA office by January 30, 2015.
Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP)
• ELAP provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires. ELAP assistance is provided for losses not covered by LFP and LIP. Producers who suffered eligible livestock, honeybee or farm-raised fish losses during 2012 and 2013 program years must submit a notice of loss and application for payment to their local FSA office by August 1, 2014. For 2014 program year losses, the notice of loss and an application for payment must be submitted by November 1, 2014.
 For more information, producers can review the LFP, LIP and ELAP Fact Sheets on the Farm Bill webpage

New Farm Bill OffersIncreased Opportunities for Producers
The 2014 Farm Bill offers increased opportunities for producers including farm loan program modifications that create flexibility for new and existing farmers. A fact sheet outlining modifications to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Loan Programs is available.
The Farm Bill expands lending opportunities for thousands of farmers and ranchers to begin and continue operations, including greater flexibility in determining eligibility, raising loan limits, and emphasizing beginning and socially disadvantaged producers.
Changes that will take effect immediately include:
• Elimination of the 15 year term limit for guaranteed operating loans.
• Modification of the definition of beginning farmer, using the average farm size for the county as a qualifier instead of the median farm size.
• Modification of the Joint Financing Direct Farm Ownership Interest Rate to 2 percent less than regular Direct Farm Ownership rate, with a floor of 2.5 percent. Previously, the rate was established at 5 percent.
• Increase of the maximum loan amount for Direct Farm Ownership Down Payment Loan Program from $225,000 to $300,000.
• Elimination of rural residency requirement for Youth Loans, allowing urban youth to benefit.
• Debt forgiveness on Youth Loans, which will not prevent borrowers from obtaining additional loans from the federal government.
• Increase of the guaranteed percentage on Conservation Loans from 75 to 80 percent and 90 percent for socially disadvantaged borrowers and beginning farmers.
• Microloans will not count toward direct operating loan term limits for veterans and beginning farmers.
Additional modifications must be implemented through the rulemaking processes. Visit the FSA Farm Bill website for detailed information and updates to farm loan programs.

Dairy Indemnity Payment Program
The 2014 Farm Bill authorized the extension of the Dairy Indemnity Payment Program (DIPP) through September 30, 2018. DIPP provides payments to dairy producers and manufacturers of dairy products when they are directed to remove their raw milk or products from the market because of contamination.
Are you looking for answers to your FSA questions?  Then ASK FSA at askfsa.custhelp.com.
AskFSA is an online resource that helps you easily find information and answers to your FSA questions no matter where you are or what device you use. It is for all customers, including underserved farmers and ranchers who wish to be enrolled in FSA loans, farm, and conservation programs.
Through AskFSA you can:
• Access our knowledge base 24/7
• Receive answers to your questions faster
• Submit a question and receive a timely response from an FSA expert
• Get notifications when answers important to you and your farming operation are updated.
• Customize your account settings and view responses at any time