What's up at the FSA Office?

by Joyce Davidshofer, Allamakee County Executive Director

Attention CRP Producers
1. CRP producers who have a mid-contract management (MCM) practice or a wildlife food plot to complete in 2015 will need to have it completed by May 14, 2015. As you know, May 14, 2015 through August 2, 2015 is the nesting season. MCM practices and wildlife food plots cannot be done during this time. If you have any questions on this, contact the Allamakee County FSA Office at 563-568-2148.
2. CRP producers who have no MCM practice or wildlife food plot to complete and rent the remaining cropland to another producer can stop in the Allamakee County FSA to certify their 2015 CRP acres as required per CRP regulations.
3. CRP producers who have a MCM practice or wildlife food plot will need to have the practice completed and bills submitted before you certify your CRP acres.
4. CRP producers who have CRP acres and plant other crops will need to certify their acres when everything is planted or by July 15, 2015.
5. Reminders
a. Haying, grazing or planting of an agriculture commodity on CRP acres is not allowed.
b.  Wildlife food plots cannot be harvested.
c. If the CRP is being used for a roadway, hunting shacks or storing equipment, it will be considered in violation and subject to penalty or termination.
d. If there are other items not mentioned here, contact the Allamakee County FSA to see if it is allowed.
e. CRP grazing and haying which was released per office visit after August 2, 2015 will be randomly spot-checked.
f. Cannot cosmically clip or spray CRP acres during the nesting season from May 14, 2015 through August 2, 2015. If there are noxious weeds on the CRP, producers must come in to the FSA office and show on a map where the noxious weeds are located and request permission to do so. If a CRP producer does not have permission to clip or spray on file at the FSA office, this is a CRP violation.
g. All CRP producers need to certify their CRP acres every year in order to receive  CRPs payment in the fall.
Contact the Allamakee County FSA Office at 563- 568-2148 with questions on the items listed above.

Update Records
The Allamakee County FSA office would like to remind sellers and buyers of land to contact the office when the recorded deed has been filed. NOTE: If all or part of the land has a CRP contact active there will need to be a succession to the CRP contract. If the buyer does not want to succeed to the CRP contract, the seller will need to refund all payments received, plus interest. Inquire at the FSA Office on the policies of buying/selling CRP land.

Power of Attorney
For those who find it difficult to visit the county office personally because of work schedules, distance, health, etc., FSA has a power of attorney form available to designate another person to conduct business at the office. Contact the FSA office for more information.

Farm Storage Facility Loans
The U.S. Department of agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) provides low-interest financing for producers to build or upgrade farm storage and handling facilities. FSA is authorized to implement the program through the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).
The maximum loan amount is $500,000 per loan request. Loan terms are seven years, 10 years or 12 years depending on the amount of the loan. Each applicant will be charged a nonrefundable $100 application fee.
An eligible borrower is any person who is a landowner, landlord, leaseholder, tenant or share- cropper.
Eligible commodities are as follows:
• Corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, oats, peanuts, wheat, barley or minor oilseeds harvested for whole grain;
• Corn, grain sorghum, wheat, oats or barley harvested as other-than-whole grain;
• Pulse crops – lentil, chickpeas and dry peas;
• Hay;
• Honey;
• Renewable biomass;
• Fruits (includes nuts) and vegetables – cold storage facilities.
These loans must be approved by the local FSA state or county committee before any site preparation and/or construction can be started.
All loan requests are subject to an environmental evaluation. Accepting delivery of equipment, starting any site preparation or construction before loan approval may impede the successful completion of an environmental evaluation and may adversely affect loan eligibility.
For a listing of eligible facilities and upgrades, contact the Allamakee County FSA Office at 563-568-2148.

Microloan Cap Grows
Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farmers that the FSA borrowing limit for microloans increased recently 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.
For more information about this program, contact Vicky Hinsenbrock, Farm Loan Manager at 563-382-8777.