What's up at the FSA Office?

by Joyce Davishofer, Allamakee County Executive Director

The Allamakee County Committee meeting will be held Thursday, August 21 at a.m.

April 15, 2014 – January 30, 2015 sign-up for the LIP/LFP/ELAP/TAP programs.
June 9, 2014 – September 30, 2014 – CRP Continuous CRP Sign-up 46.
November 1, 2014 – December 30, 2015 – Forage, pasture, grasses certification due for spring 2015 year. Late file fee will apply, no waivers.
Wednesday mornings of every week, Allamakee County Executive Director Joyce Davidshofer will give an update on new and changed FSA programs at 9 a.m. on KNEI radio.
Anyone who has an email account can receive newsletters/bulletins from the Farm Service Agency. If the county office does not have your email on file, contact the County FSA Office. The current budget does not allow the FSA Office to mail newsletters through the post office.

CRP Early Contract Termination (“Early Out”) Provisions
The Agricultural Act of 2014 requires that the Secretary offer producers the opportunity for an “early out” for certain CRP contracts during FY 2015, if those contracts have been in effect for at least five years. June 5, 2014, USDA announced the intent to offer “early outs.”
The “early out” option will be available to CRP participants with acreage devoted to certain practices that meet eligibility criteria. The sign-up period for CRP participants to terminate acreage under the “early out” provisions is August 6, 2014 through January 30, 2015. Effective dates for “early outs” shall be no earlier than October 1, 2014.
Contracts must be in effect for at least five years to be eligible for termination under the “early out” provisions. Only CRP contracts with effective dates of October 1, 2009 or earlier are eligible for termination under the “early out” provisions.
The following practices are eligible for termination under the “early out” provisions:
• CP1, Establishment of Permanent Introduced Grasses and Legumes
• CP2, Establishment of Permanent Native Grasses
• CP3, Tree Planting
• CP10, Grass Already Established
• CP11, Trees Already Established.
All other practices are not eligible for “early outs.”
The following land is not eligible for termination under the “early out” provisions:
• land that is located within an average of 120 feet of a perennial stream or other permanent water body. A perennial stream is a stream that contains water throughout the year. Other permanent water bodies include a lake or pond that provides at least a seasonal flow of surface water from the water body off the farm.
• land with an erodibility index (EI) greater than 15
• land located within a federally designated wellhead protection area
• land that is covered by an easement under CRP
• land enrolled under CREP.
Example: The CRP participant has 40 acres enrolled under CRP contract as CP1, Introduced Grass. The entire 40 acres has an average EI of 18. Even though the practice is eligible, the contract is not eligible for “early out” because the land has an EI greater than 15.
The following are general provisions for acreage terminated under the “early out” provisions:
• CRP participants shall file CRP-41 to request terminations under “early out” provisions
• CRP participants may request to terminate all or any portion of the eligible acreage under CRP  contract under “early out” provisions.
Measurement service is available at the participants’ expense for partial acreage terminations under “early out” provisions. Practices not eligible for early out may be terminated. Refunds of all annual rental payments and C/S payments, plus interest and liquidated damages, shall apply.
• The effective date of the termination under “early out” provisions shall be no earlier than October 1, 2014, and no later than September 30, 2015.
• A prorated payment reduction will apply from the effective date of the termination through  September 30, 2015.
• Mid-contract management activities scheduled in FY 2015 are not required for contracts with approved CRP-41’s for “early out.”
• Payment reductions for noncompliance before the termination under “early out” provisions, if applicable, shall be reduced from the final annual rental payment.
• Early land preparation provisions may be requested along with land that will be terminated under the “early out” provisions.
• “Early out” will not affect the ability of the owner or operator that requested the “early out” to submit a subsequent offer to enroll the land that was subject to the CRP contract into CRP.
• After COC approval, CRP-41 is irrevocable.
Final payment on the acreage terminated under “early out” provisions shall be:
• prorated from the effective date of the termination through September 30, 2015
• disbursed after October 1, 2015, during the regular payment cycle for CRP annual rental payments.
County Offices shall instruct landowners requesting “early out” for agricultural purposes to meet with NRCS about proposed land use activities that may impact their eligibility for other USDA benefits.
Participants approved for “early out” must maintain an applied conservation system or haying or grazing plan until the effective date of the “early out.” 6-CP provisions apply on acreage terminated under “early out” provisions if the producer intends to receive certain other USDA benefits.
For FY 2015, participants shall report acreage terminated under “early out” provisions on FSA-578 based on the actual use, not as CRP acreage.
Crop acreage bases shall be reinstated effective the date of the “early out.”

Margin Protection Program for Dairy Producers
The 2014 Farm Bill authorizes MPP-Dairy, a new dairy program, to replace the MILC program no later than September 1, 2014. The MPP-Dairy program is a voluntary program that provides dairy operations with risk management coverage that will pay producers when the difference between the national price of milk and the average cost of feed falls below a certain level selected by the producers in a dairy operation.
The MPP-Dairy program offers dairy producers the following:
• Catastrophic coverage, at no cost to the producer, other than an annual $100 administrative fee
• Greater coverage at various levels for a premium in addition to the $100 administrative fee.
Eligible dairy operations:
• Share in the risk of producing milk
• Make contributions (including land, labor, management, equipment, or capital) to the dairy operation of the individual or entity, which are at least commensurate with the individual or entity’s share of the proceeds of the operation.
To participate in the MPP-Dairy program, an eligible dairy operation must:
• have a production history determined for the dairy operation
• register to participate during a sign-up announced by FSA
• pay a $100 administrative fee annually for the duration of the MPP-Dairy program
• select a coverage level ranging from $4.00 to $8.00 per cwt, in $0.50 increments
• select a coverage percentage of the dairy operation’s production history ranging from 25 percent to 90 percent, in 5 percent increments.
A dairy operation selection of a $4.00 coverage level is considered catastrophic level coverage at a 90 percent coverage percentage for only the administrative fee. However, a dairy operation selecting a coverage level above $4.00 must also pay a premium, in addition to the administrative fee, for the higher coverage on their selected percentage of dairy operation’s production history.

Repealing Standard Payment Reduction for Grazing by Livestock for Beginning Farmer or Rancher
Section 2004 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 reduced the standard payment reduction for beginning farmers or ranchers for conducting grazing. Prescribed grazing for the control of invasive species and routine grazing by livestock of a beginning farmer or rancher is authorized without any reduction in the rental rate if the grazing is:
• consistent with the conservation of soil, water quality, and wildlife habitat
• subject to appropriate restrictions during the nesting season.
Effective February 7, 2014, this provides policy that the standard payment reduction for beginning farmers or ranchers conducting prescribed or routine grazing shall not be assessed. Managed grazing will still have the 25% payment reduction. (Does not apply to CRP contracts approved prior to July 28, 2010.)
CRP participants who need to know if they have a prescribed or routine grazing plan for their CRP contract may contact the Allamakee County FSA office at 563-568-2148.