What's up at the FSA Office?

by Joyce Davidshofer, Allamakee County Executive Director

The Allamakee County Committee meeting will be held Thursday, March 26 in the Allamakee County FSA Office conference room at 9 a.m.

March 31 – Deadline for ARC/PLC program elections – ARC-CO, ARC-IC or PLC. Contact the Allamakee County FSA Office if you have any questions on this deadline.

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 Office will continue to have meetings for the producers in the FSA office conference room on the 2014 PLC/ARC program elections. The following dates are scheduled:
March 10, 1 p.m.
March 17, 1 p.m.
March 5, 1 p.m.
March 12, 10 a.m.
March 19, 10 a.m.
Please call to reserve a spot since seating is limited. 563-568-2148.

Beginning Farmer Loans
FSA assists beginning farmers to finance agricultural enterprises. Under these designated farm loan programs, FSA can provide financing to eligible applicants through either direct or guaranteed loans. FSA defines a beginning farmer as a person who:
• Has operated a farm for not more than 10 years
• Will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm
• Agrees to participate in a loan assessment, borrower training and financial management program sponsored by FSA
• Does not own a farm in excess of 30 percent of the county’s average size farm.

Additional program information, loan applications, and other materials are available at the Allamakee/Winneshiek FSA Service Center.  You may also visit www.fsa.usda.gov.

USDA Reminds Farmers of 2014 Farm Bill Conservation Compliance Changes
The 2014 Farm Bill implements a change that requires farmers to have a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification (AD-1026) on file.  
For farmers to be eligible for premium support on their federal crop insurance, a completed and signed AD-1026 certification form must be on file with the FSA. The Risk Management Agency (RMA), 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 most financial assistance such as the new price and revenue protection programs, the Conservation Reserve Program, the Livestock Disaster Assistance programs and Marketing Assistance Loans and most programs implemented by FSA. It also includes the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Conservation Stewardship Program, and other conservation programs implemented by NRCS.
Many FSA and Natural Resource Conservation (NRCS) programs already have implemented this requirement and therefore most producers should already have an AD-1026 form on file for their associated lands. If an AD-1026 form has not been filed or is incomplete, then farmers are reminded of the deadline of June 1, 2015.
When a farmer completes and submits the AD-1026 certification form, FSA and NRCS staff will review the associated farm records and outline any additional actions that may be required to meet the required compliance with the conservation compliance provisions.
FSA recently released a revised form AD-1026, which is available at USDA Service Centers and online at: www.fsa.usda.gov . USDA will publish a rule later this year that will provide details outlining the connection of conservation compliance with crop insurance premium support.  Producers can also contact the Allamakee County Service Center for information.  A listing of service center locations is available at offices.usda.gov.