What's up at the FSA Office?

by Joyce Davidshofer, Allamakee County Executive Director

June 15 - September 30: ARC/PLC sign-up for 2014/2015 program.
July 1 - September 30: 2016 MPP (Dairy) Program sign-up period.
September 7: FSA Office closed for Labor Day.

State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement
This is your chance to seed down large areas of cropland to native habitats of Iowa.  The Gaining Ground for Wildlife initiative makes available a new continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) practice. It’s designed to restore native grasslands and wetlands where they will be the most beneficial for wildlife species. It’s specifically designed to increase populations of ring-necked pheasants, dickcissel, bobolink and eastern meadowlarks where their preferred habitats have been eliminated. As prairies and wetlands replace corn and soybean fields, these upland and wetland birds will have the nesting, brooding and winter cover needed to help sustain their populations.
The practice is available in portions of all counties near existing protected habitats. These areas are eligible and have a high priority, because wildlife species benefit most when there are large expanses of grasslands or wetlands.
Starting in August 2015, eligible producers can sign up at their local USDA Farm Service Agency. However, the sign-up is limited to 73,000 acres, “first-come; first-served.” The sign-up will end when all acres are under contract.
Eligible Practices:
Establish native grasses, restore wetlands and develop food plots. Enrollment is limited to habitat blocks with a minimum of 10 acres per tract if not adjacent to an existing (public or private) grassland/wetland complex. See NRCS office for eligible areas.
• Increase populations of ring-necked pheasant, dickcissel, bobolink and eastern meadowlarks;
• Improve, connect or create high quality grassland and wetland habitat;
• Provide nesting, brood and winter cover;
• Improve water quality;
• Reduce erosion
Rental Rate
• Based on maximum soil rental rate established for the three predominant soils within the contracted acres, plus an annual maintenance payment (Ask NRCS)
• 10 or 15 year contract length.
• Standard FSA 50% cost-share, plus 40% practice incentive payment to establish the practice = 90% Cost Share
• Sign-up bonus payment of an additional $100 per acre
• Land that was cropped or considered cropped four out of the six years from 2008 to 2013;
• Eligible cropland includes row crops, small grains and forage crops if in a rotation.
Contact the Allamakee County FSA Office if you have any questions.

Transition Incentives Program Reminder
The Agricultural Act of 2014 amendments to the Food Security Act of 1985, as amended, authorized $33 million for the voluntary transition of land enrolled under an expiring CRP contract from a retired or retiring owner or operator to a veteran, underserved, or beginning farmer or rancher to return the land to production for sustainable grazing or crop production.
To be considered eligible, veteran, underserved, or beginning farmers or ranchers and CRP participants must enroll in TIP during the period beginning one year before the CRP contract expiration date and September 30 of the year when the CRP contract is scheduled to expire.
If you have any questions on the TIP program contact the Allamakee County FSA Office at 563-568-2148.

2015 Marketing Assistance Loan (MAL)
Harvest is fast approaching and the Allamakee FSA Office will be administering the loan program. The following are the loan rates for the crop year 2015:
Corn - $1.87
Oats - $ 1.43
Barley - $1.70
Soybeans - $4.99
MALs provide producers interim financing at harvest time to help them meet cash flow needs when market prices are typically at harvest-time lows. MALs for covered commodities are nonrecourse because the commodity is pledged as loan collateral and producers have the option of delivering the pledged collateral to the CCC as full payment for the loan at maturity. For more information, contact the Allamakee County FSA office at 563-568-2148.