What's up at the FSA Office?

by Joyce Davidshofer, Allamakee County Executive Director

The Allamakee County Committee meeting will be  July 17 at 9 a.m.

April 15, 2014 – January 30, 2015 sign-up for the LIP/LFP
Note: LIP/LFP applications not paid by September 30, 2014 will incur a 7.2% sequestration reduction from October 1, 2015 – January 30, 2015 payment under these programs. Best to have application and all supporting documents in the Allamakee County FSA Office to avoid the 7.2 % reduction. Appointments will be made for LIP/LFP producers to complete applications starting July 16, 2014. If you have any questions give the Allamakee County FSA Office a call at 563-568-2148.
April 15, 2014 – August 1, 2014 – ELAP deadline.
Note: All documentation and signatures will need to be in before September 30, 2014 to avoid a 7.2% reduction
June 9, 2014 – September 30, 2014 – CRP Continuous CRP Signup 46
June 9, 2014 – August 8, 2014 – CRP contracts expiring September 30, 20414 can extend for one year.
Note: Please contact the Allamakee County FSA Office if you plan to extend for one year or not. Thank you.
No General CRP sign-up for 2014.
July 15, 2014 – Crop certification deadline.
July 16-20, 2014 Fair – NRCS/FSA booth will be in the Main building stop by and see us.
November 1, 2014 – December 30, 2014 – Forage, pasture, grasses certification due for spring 2015 crop year. Late file fee will apply, no waivers.

Farm Service Agency County Committee Nomination Period Began June 15
The nomination period for the Allamakee Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees began Sunday, June 15, 2014.
To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area where the person is nominated.
Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA-669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. Nomination forms for the 2014 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business August 1, 2014. Elections will take place this fall.
 While FSA county committees do not approve or deny farm ownership or operating loans, they make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to 11 members that are elected by eligible producers.
FSA will mail ballots to eligible voters beginning November 3, 2014. Ballots are due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by December 1, 2014. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office January 1, 2015.
The LAA 2 is up for elections which include the townships of Ludlow, Jefferson, Post, Franklin, Linton and Fairview. Donald McCormick, who is the present county committee member, will have met the term limit and cannot run for election. If anyone in the townships mention above are interested in running for the county committee seat can stop in the office or go online to obtain the nomination form. If you have any questions, please contact the Allamakee County FSA Office.

USDA Announces Changes to Fruit, Vegetable and Wild Rice Planting Rules
Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced fruit, vegetable and wild rice provisions that affect producers who intend to participate in certain programs authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014.  
Producers who intend to participate in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs are subject to an acre-for-acre payment reduction when fruits and nuts, vegetables or wild rice are planted on the payment acres of a farm.  Payment reductions do not apply to mung beans, dry peas, lentils or chickpeas.  Planting fruits, vegetables or wild rice on acres that are not considered payment acres will not result in a payment reduction. Farms that are eligible to participate in ARC/PLC but are not enrolled for a particular year may plant unlimited fruits, vegetables and wild rice for that year but will not receive ARC/PLC payments for that year. Eligibility for succeeding years is not affected.
Planting and harvesting fruits, vegetables and wild rice on ARC/PLC acreage is subject to the acre-for-acre payment reduction when those crops are planted on either more than 15 percent of the base acres of a farm enrolled in ARC using the county coverage or PLC, or more than 35 percent of the base acres of a farm enrolled in ARC using the individual coverage.
Fruits, vegetables and wild rice that are planted in a double-cropping practice will not cause a payment reduction if the farm is in a double-cropping region as designated by the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation.

Guaranteed Loan Eligibility
Changes to FSA regulations have removed Guaranteed Operating Loan term limits. Previous and current guaranteed loan borrowers who were not eligible for further guaranteed loans due to the previous 15 year eligibility term limit may now be eligible for further guaranteed loans through their commercial lender.

Direct Loan Changes
Changes were made to the interest rate charged on loans where FSA provides 50 percent or less on jointly financed purchases of real estate also called Direct Farm Ownership Participation Loans. The interest rate will be the greater of 2.5 percent or the current interest rate for direct Farm Ownership loans minus 2 percent, as a fixed rate for the duration of the loan. At present, the June direct Farm Ownership rate is 4.00 percent. Because the 2.5 percent floor is greater than subtracting 2 percent from the current direct farm ownership loan rate, the rate for Direct Farm Ownership Participation Loans in June is 2.50 percent.

Microloan Program
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) developed the Microloan (ML) program to better serve the unique financial operating needs of beginning, niche and small family farm operations.   
FSA offers applicants a Microloan designed to help farmers with credit needs of $35,000 or less. The loan features a streamlined application process built to fit the needs of new and smaller producers.  This loan program will also be useful to specialty crop producers and operators of community supported agriculture (CSA).   
Eligible applicants can apply for a maximum amount of $35,000 to pay for initial start-up expenses such as hoop houses to extend the growing season, essential tools, irrigation and annual expenses such as seed, fertilizer, utilities, land rents, marketing, and distribution expenses.  As financing needs increase, applicants can apply for a regular operating loan up to the maximum amount of $300,000 or obtain financing from a commercial lender under FSA’s Guaranteed Loan Program.
Individuals who are interested in applying for a microloan or would like to discuss other farm loan programs available should contact Winneshiek County FSA office to set up an appointment with a loan official.  Wednesday mornings the Winneshiek County Farm Loan Manager is in the Allamakee County FSA Office.

Loans for the Socially Disadvantaged
FSA has a number of loan programs available to assist applicants to begin or continue in agriculture production.  Loans are available for operating type loans and/or purchase or improve farms or ranches.  
While all qualified producers are eligible to apply for these loan programs, the FSA has provided priority funding for members of socially disadvantaged applicants.  
A socially disadvantaged applicant is one of a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of his or her identity as members of the group without regard to his or her individual qualities.  
For purposes of this program, socially disadvantaged groups are women, African Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
FSA loans are only available to applicants who meet all the eligibility requirements and are unable to obtain the needed credit elsewhere.

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