What's up at the FSA Office?

by Joyce Davidshofer, Allamakee County Executive Director

The next Allamakee County FSA Committee meeting will be announced at a later date.

December 19, 2014 – Extension deadline for Margin Protection Program - Dairy.
December 25 & 26, 2014 – Office Closed – Christmas.
January 19, 2015 – Office Closed – Martin Luther King Day.
January 29, 2015 – ISU/FSA meeting for landowners and operators on the ARC/PLC program at 1 p.m. at Farmers and  Merchants Savings Bank in Waukon.
January 30, 2015 – Deadline for 2012 Livestock Feed Program (LFP) and 2012 Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).
January 30, 2015 – Deadline for the “Early Out” on CRP (certain criteria must be met to qualify).
February 27, 2015 – Deadline for landowners to update yield history and/or reallocate base acres.
March 31, 2015 – Producers make a one-time irrevocable election of ARC or PLC for the 2014 through 2018 crop years.
After March 31, 2015 – Enrollment into 2014 and 2015 program.
Producers may contact the Allamakee County FSA office at 563-568-2148 for more information or make an appointment.

USDA Reminds Farmers of 2014 Farm Bill Conservation Compliance Changes
Reminder to producers that changes mandated through the 2014 Farm Bill require them to have on file a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification (AD-1026). The Farm Bill relinked highly erodible land conservation and wetland conservation compliance with eligibility for premium support paid under the federal crop insurance program.
For farmers to be eligible for premium support on their federal crop insurance, a completed and signed AD-1026 form must be on file with the FSA. Since many FSA and Natural Resource Conservation (NRCS) programs have this requirement, most producers should already have an AD-1026 on file. If producers have not filed, they must do so by June 1, 2015.
When a farmer completes the AD-1026, FSA and NRCS staff will outline any additional actions that may be required for compliance with the provisions. The Risk Management Agency, through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), manages the federal crop insurance program that provides the modern farm safety net for American farmers and ranchers.
Since enactment of the 1985 Farm Bill, eligibility for most commodity, disaster, and conservation programs has been linked to compliance with the highly erodible land conservation and wetland conservation provisions. The 2014 Farm Bill continues the requirement that producers adhere to conservation compliance guidelines to be eligible for most programs administered by FSA and NRCS. This includes the new price and revenue protection programs, the Conservation Reserve Program, the Livestock Disaster Assistance programs and Marketing Assistance Loans implemented by FSA. It also includes the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Conservation Stewardship Program, and other conservation programs.
For more information, contact the Allamakee County FSA Office at 563-568-2148.

Farm Storage Facility Loans
The following commodities are eligible for farm storage facility loans:
• Corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, oats, peanuts, wheat, barley or minor oilseeds harvested as whole grain
• Corn, grain sorghum, wheat, oats or barley harvested as other-than-whole grain
• Pulse crops - lentils, chickpeas and dry peas
• Hay
• Honey
• Renewable biomass
• Fruits (includes nuts) and vegetables - cold storage facilities.
An FSA farm storage facility loan must be approved by the local FSA county committee before any site preparation and/or construction can be started.
The following types of facilities and upgrades are eligible for farm storage facility loans:
• New conventional cribs or bins designed and engineered for whole grain storage having a useful life of at least 15 years.
• New oxygen-limiting structures and remanufactured oxygen-limiting structures built to original manufacturer’s specifications and other upright silo-type structures designed for whole grain wet storage having a useful life of at least 15 years.
• New flat-type storage structures, with permanent floors and bulkheads, designed for and primarily used to store whole grain for the loan term.
• New electrical equipment integral to the proper operation of the grain storage and handling equipment, excluding the installation of electrical service to the electrical meter.
• New safety equipment, as required by CCC and meeting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements, such as interior and exterior ladders and lighting.
• New equipment to improve, maintain or monitor the quality of stored grain, such as cleaners, moisture testers and heat detectors installed in conjunction with a proposed storage facility.
• New concrete foundations, aprons, pits, and pads, including site preparation, labor and material, essential to the proper operation of the grain storage and handling equipment.
• Renovation of existing farm storage facilities, under certain circumstances, if the renovation is for maintaining or replacing items that have a useful life of at least 15 years.
• New permanently affixed grain handling and grain drying equipment determined by CCC to be needed and essential to the proper operation of a grain storage system (with or without a loan for the storage facility).
• New structures that are bunker-type, horizontal or open silo structures, with at least two concrete walls and a concrete floor, designed for whole grain storage or other-than-whole-grain storage and having a useful life of at least 15 years.
• New structures suitable for storing hay built according to acceptable design guidelines and having a useful life of at least 15 years.
• New structures suitable for storing renewable biomass built according to acceptable industry guidelines and having a useful life of at least 15 years.
• New cold storage buildings, including prefabricated buildings, having a useful life of at least 15 years that are suitable for storing fruits and vegetables. Also may include permanently affixed cooling, circulating, and monitoring equipment and electrical equipment including labor and materials for installation of lights, motors and wiring integral to the proper operation of a cold storage facility.
• Scales, portable equipment, used bins, and used equipment are not eligible for financing.
• Facilities built for commercial purposes and not for the sole use of the borrower(s) are not eligible for financing.
The net cost for building or upgrading farm storage and handling facilities and equipment may include the following:
• Purchase price and sales tax
• Shipping and delivery charges
• Site preparation costs
• Installation costs
• Appraisal costs
• New material and labor for concrete pads, electrical wiring, and electric motors
• Off-farm paid labor
• New on-farm material approved by FSA
• Attorney or archaeological study fees
An eligible borrower is any person who is a landowner, landlord, leaseholder, tenant or sharecropper who:
• Produces an eligible facility loan commodity
• Has a satisfactory credit rating as determined by CCC
• Demonstrates the ability to repay the debt for the facility loan
• Possesses no delinquent non-tax federal debt
• Demonstrates a storage need based on the borrower’s three-year-average acreage and share of production, minus any current storage available
• Provides proof of multi-peril crop insurance from the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) or a private company for the life of the loan
• Provides proof of all peril insurance and, if applicable, flood insurance with CCC as a loss payee
• Demonstrates compliance with USDA provisions for highly erodible land and wetlands
• Demonstrates compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act
• Demonstrates compliance with any applicable local zoning, land use, and building codes
• Has not been convicted of a controlled substance violation
 The following are security requirements for farm storage facility loans:
 • All loans must be secured by a promissory note, security agreement and a UCC-1 describing the storage facility and accompanying equipment; and
• Severance agreements from all lien holders on the real estate where the facility will be located or from owners of real estate when the loan applicant is not the landowner, except when CCC holds the first lien on the real estate. Severance agreements will not be required if the borrower increases the down payment from 15 percent to 20 percent.
For loans that exceed $100,000 or the borrower’s aggregate outstanding loan balance exceeds $100,000, the borrower must be able to provide at least one of the following:
• A first lien on the real estate on which the facility is located;
• Real estate owned by the borrower other than where the facility is located, provided the real estate offered is sufficient to secure the loan; or
• A letter of credit from a financial institution in an amount sufficient to protect CCC’s interest for each year the loan has an outstanding balance.
The maximum loan amount through the Farm Storage Facility Loan Program is $500,000 per loan.
The following are the terms for farm storage facility loans:
• A 15 percent cash down payment is required; thus, CCC’s loan is limited to 85 percent of the net cost of the eligible storage facility and permanent drying and handling equipment (subject to the applicant’s storage needs test). The down payment cannot include any trade-in, discount, rebate, deferred payment or post-dated check.
• Loan terms available are seven (7) years, ten (10) years or twelve (12) years depending on the amount of the loan.
• Interest rate is fixed for the loan term based on the rate in effect during the month the loan is initially approved. The interest rate is equivalent to the rate of interest charged on Treasury Securities of comparable term and maturity.
• Loans are to be repaid in equal amortized installments.
• Loan will not be disbursed until the facility has been erected and inspected with the exception of one (1) qualifying partial disbursement.
Cost of Obtaining a Loan:
• Each applicant will be charged a nonrefundable $100 application fee.
• CCC will pay all collateral lien searches and recording fees for filing Form UCC-1 and credit reports.
• Applicants pay all other fees, such as severance agreements, attorney fees, real estate lien search fees, and instrument filing fees.
• For loans over $100,000, applicants will be required to pay the cost of obtaining a title search/opinion or title insurance.
The following persons are required to sign the loan agreement:
• For sole proprietorships and joint ventures, all individuals, including spouses, if applicable
• For general partnerships, any member unless the Articles of Partnership are more restrictive
• For corporations and limited partnerships, an individual with signature authority on file with FSA.
Loan applications should be filed in the administrative FSA Office that maintains the farm’s records.