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.

USDA Provides One-Time Extension of Deadline to Update Base Acres or Yield History for ARC/PLC
The final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres has been extended one additional month, from February 27 until March 31.  The final day for farm owners and producers to choose ARC or PLC coverage also remains March 31.  
If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by March 31, 2015, the farm’s current yield and base will be used. A program choice of ARC or PLC coverage also must be made by March 31 or there will be no 2014 payments for the farm and the farm will default to PLC coverage through the 2018 crop 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 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 17, 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.

Farm Storage Facility Loan Program
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
• Hay
• Honey
• 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.
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 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.
For more information about FSA programs, call the Allamakee County FSA office at 563-568-2148 or visit  http://www.fsa.usda.gov.