What's up at the FSA Office?

by Joyce Davidshofer, Allamakee County Executive Director

Reminders
• June 15 - September 30:  ARC/PLC sign-up for 2014/2015 program. The deadline is fast approaching and with the fall harvest the FSA Office does not want producers to miss this deadline. Some producers think they signed everything since they came to the FSA office several times. Give the office a call to see if you have everything signed or to set up an appointment.
After September 30, 2015 producers will not be able to sign up for the ARC/PLC contracts for 2014/2015.

USDA extends Dairy Margin Protection Program deadline
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the deadline to enroll for the dairy Margin Protection Program for coverage in 2016 has been extended until November 20, 2015. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.
“The fall harvest is a busy time of the year for agriculture, so this extension will ensure that dairy producers have more time to make their choices,” said Vilsack. “We encourage all operations to examine the protections offered by this program, because despite the very best forecasts, markets can change.”
Vilsack encouraged producers to use the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Agency Service (FSA) online Web resource at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool to calculate the best levels of coverage for their dairy operation. The secure website can be accessed via computer, smartphone or tablet.
He also reminds producers that were enrolled in 2015 that they need to make a coverage election for 2016 and pay the $100 administration fee. Although any unpaid premium balances for 2015 must be paid in full by the enrollment deadline to remain eligible for higher coverage levels in 2016, premiums for 2016 are not due until Sept. 1, 2016. Also, producers can work with milk marketing companies to remit premiums on their behalf.
Payments under the program may be reduced by a certain percentage due to a sequester order required by Congress and issued pursuant to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.  Should a payment reduction be necessary, FSA will reduce the payment by the required amount.
The Margin Protection Program for Dairy was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers to review available USDA crop risk protection options, including federal crop insurance and Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage, before the fall-seeded crop deadline of September 30, 2015.
Federal crop insurance covers crop losses from natural adversities such as drought, hail and excessive moisture. NAP covers losses from natural disasters on crops for which no permanent federal crop insurance program is available, including forage and grazing crops, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup, bioenergy, and industrial crops.
The following crops in ALLAMAKEE County have a NAP application deadline of:
September 30, 2015:  Alfalfa, Asparagus, Clovers, Grasses, Mixed Forages, and Strawberries.
November 20, 2015:  Apples, Aronia Berries, Blueberries, Cherries, Chestnuts, and Grapes.
December, 1, 2015:   Honey.
USDA has partnered with Michigan State University and the University of Illinois to create an online tool at www.fsa.usda.gov/nap that allows producers to determine whether their crops are eligible for federal crop insurance or NAP and to explore the best level of protection for their operation. NAP basic coverage is available at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production, with higher levels of coverage, up to 65 percent of their expected production at 100 percent of the average market price available, including coverage for organics and crops marketed directly to consumers. Crops intended for grazing are not eligible for additional NAP coverage.
Federal crop insurance coverage is sold and delivered solely through private insurance agents. Agent lists are available at all USDA Service Centers or at USDA’s online Agent Locator: http://prodwebnlb.rma.usda.gov/apps/AgentLocator/#. Producers can use the USDA Cost Estimator, https://ewebapp.rma.usda.gov/apps/costestimator/Default.aspx, to predict insurance premium costs.
For more information on NAP, service fees, premiums and sales deadlines, contact the Allamakee County FSA office at (563) 568-2148 or visit the web at www.fsa.usda.gov/nap.

USDA Commodity Loans available to Allamakee County producers
Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers that USDA offers interim financing at harvest time to help producers meet cash flow needs without having to sell commodities when market prices are at harvest-time lows. The programs, known as Marketing Assistance Loans (MALs) and Loan Deficiency Payments (LDPs), were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill for the 2014-2018 crop years.
A producer who is eligible to obtain a marketing loan, but agrees to forgo the loan, may obtain a loan deficiency payment if such a payment is available. The programs provide financing and marketing assistance for wheat, feed grains, soybeans and other oilseeds, pulse crops, rice, peanuts, cotton, wool and honey. For eligibility, producers must control the commodity or a title to the commodity until the loan is repaid.
Allamakee County loan rates are as follows:
Corn -  $1.87 per bushel
Oats  -  $1.43 per bushel
Soybeans - $4.99 per bushel
Barley - $1.70 per bushel.
FSA is now accepting applications for all eligible commodities. For expedited service, interested producers are encouraged to schedule an appointment. Other program restrictions may apply, including limits on total payments or gross income thresholds. Consult with the Allamakee FSA office for further details. For more information, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/pricesupport.

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