What's up at the FSA Office?

by Joyce Davidshofer, Allamakee County Executive Director

The Allamakee County Committee meeting will be Thursday, February 12 at 9 a.m. at the Allamakee County FSA Office.

February 16 - Presidents’ Day - office closed.
February 27 - Deadline for yield updates and base reallocations for ARC/PLC program.
March 31 - Deadline for ARC/PLC program elections – ARC-CO, ARC-IC or PLC.
Postcards will be sent in the coming days to all eligible producers and landowners in Allamakee County as a reminder of the deadlines for the ARC/PLC program.
The yield updates and/or base reallocations have a deadline of February 27, 2015, after this date the current base and yield on the farm will kept.
The PLC, ARC-County and the ARC-Individual elections have to be selected by March 31, 2015. After this deadline the farm will default to the PLC program for 2015-2018 and the 2014 will not be paid if it triggers a payment.
If the PLC program is selected by the March 31, 2015 deadline, and if the 2014 payment triggers, then the farm will be paid for 2014 year.

Schedule Appointments
With the large workload with the new ARC/PLC program, the Allamakee County FSA Office is requesting producers to call for an appointment. When making an appointment let the employee know if you will be farming the same farms as last year or if there is an addition or loss of a farm.
The Allamakee County FSA cannot express the importance of the landowner and the operator working together on the updating of the yields on their farms. FSA has not updated yields since 2002; this is the time to update these yields for the future. Besides the yields, this is the time to reallocate bases. The landowner will be the one filling out this information for his farm(s). For more information or to set an appointment, call the Allamakee County FSA Office 563-568-2148.

Microloan Cap Increased
Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farmers that the FSA borrowing limit for microloans increased recentlyy from $35,000 to $50,000. Microloans offer borrowers simplified lending with less paperwork.
The microloan change allows beginning, small and mid-sized farmers to access an additional $15,000 in loans using a simplified application process with up to seven years to repay. Microloans are part of USDA’s continued commitment to small and midsized farming operations.
To complement the microloan program additional changes to FSA eligibility requirements will enhance beginning farmer’s access to land, a key barrier to entry level producers. FSA policies related to farm experience have changed so that other types of skills may be considered to meet the direct farming experience required for farm ownership loan eligibility. Operation or management of non-farm businesses, leadership positions while serving in the military or advanced education in an agricultural field will now count towards the experience applicants need to show when applying for farm ownership loans.
Since 2010, FSA has made a record amount of farm loans — more than 165,000 loans totaling nearly $23 billion. More than 50 percent of USDA’s farm loans now go to beginning farmers. In addition, FSA has increased its lending to socially-disadvantaged producers by nearly 50 percent since 2010.

Allamakee County FSA Crop Loan Rates for 2014
Corn - $1.87
Barley - $1.72
Oats - $1.43
Soybeans - $4.99
Eligibility for loans is as follows:
• Has the risk in the crop.
• Can be a measured farm loan, certified farm loan or warehouse storage receipts loan.
• All necessary Payment Limitation forms, lien searches have been conducted, and HELC form on file.
• Need to notify the Allamakee County FSA Office if you plan on selling the loan crop. Prior authorization from the Allamakee County FSA Office is needed or a penalty will be assessed.
• Subject to spot check during the nine month loan.
• Check condition of the commodity under loan.
For more information about the loan program contact the Allamakee County FSA office at 563-568-2148.