What's up at the FSA Office?

by Cindy Mensen, Acting Allamakee County Executive Director (563) 568-2148

Nov 15: Acreage intended to be used for forage and pasture in 2017 needs to be reported to FSA
Dec 16: New deadline for the 2017 MPP decision

Emergency Conservation Program
At the last FSA County Committee meeting, it was decided that the damage received from heavy rains and flooding warranted an application for Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funding.  There is no guarantee that the funding request will be granted, as it is subject to the availability of funds at the national level. 
At this point, an application period has not officially been announced.  However, the Allamakee County FSA office is now accepting information regarding losses that you have experienced for the following areas:

EC1    Removing debris from farmland
EC2    Grading, shaping, releveling, or similar measures
EC3    Restoring permanent fences
EC4    Restoring conservation structures and other installations

Important things to remember include:
1. Report your damage to the FSA office before you make repairs.  If possible, take dated photographs and bring them in.  This information is used to document your need for assistance.
2. Funding is not guaranteed for ECP.  You will be expected to pay for any and all repairs that are completed.  Do not incur expenses without understanding this funding restriction.
3. In most cases, $1000 is the minimum amount of damage that may qualify for ECP cost-share assistance
4. If ECP assistance is approved, the cost-share must not exceed 75% of the producer’s actual cost to perform the practice.
5. If your fence was destroyed, please repair it to ensure your livestock are safely contained and then come into the FSA office to fill out an application.  We will need to know the age, type and length of fence that was in place prior to the disaster.
6. ECP assistance is designed to rehabilitate cropland and conservation structures damaged by severe adverse weather events.  Cropland damage must be of such magnitude that it would be too costly for the producer to rehabilitate without Federal assistance. 
7. Structures (such as terraces) that are still under a maintenance agreement are not eligible for ECP funds during the time span of the maintenance agreement.

Potential Assistance for Grazing and/or Feed Losses Due to Flooding
The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish.  ELAP funding is authorized up to $20 million per fiscal year and eligible recipients may receive reduced payments should the national demand for ELAP exceed that amount in a fiscal year. 

Flooding is an eligible adverse weather event for harvested feed and/or forage losses.  If the crop has not been harvested, such as standing corn or alfalfa it is NOT eligible for ELAP.  Mechanically harvested forage and feedstuffs are potentially eligible.  Hay bales that were flooded or washed away and corn in a flooded bin or bag may be eligible if it were intended for use as feed for the producer’s eligible livestock.  In most cases soybeans would not be eligible, unless the participant could prove a history of roasting or grinding their own bean meal for their own eligible livestock.

Flooding is also an eligible adverse weather event for grazing losses.  An eligible producer must have owned/leased/purchased livestock within 60 days prior to the event.  Any livestock purchased or leased after the event would not be eligible.  Beef and dairy cattle under 500 pounds and feedlot livestock are not eligible.  Grazing and feed losses are only for those days that are lost during the normal grazing period not to exceed 150 days.

CRP, ARC-COUNTY and PLC Payments in October
The Allamakee County FSA office expects to be issuing payments by mid-October for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs.  The payment rates for the ARC and PLC programs will be finalized by the national FSA office in early October.  The payments for the ARC-County and PLC programs are calculated using 85% of the commodity base acres on each farm, not on the total cropland acres or the actual acres of the crops planted on each farm.  The ARC-Individual program does factor in the crops that were actually planted on the farm.  Any payments earned will be directly deposited into producers’ bank accounts.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) Application Deadlines Approaching
NAP is a risk management tool designed to reduce financial losses that occur when natural disasters cause a loss of production or prevented planting of non-insurable crops/commodities.
NAP provides coverage for non-insurable crops such as apples, honey, mixed forages and aronia berries.  FSA offers NAP coverage to landowners, landlords and tenants who share in the risk of producing a crop or agricultural commodity, and are entitled to a share in the commodity available for marketing.

Producers must apply for NAP coverage by the application closing date for each particular crop in the county.  Upcoming deadlines for applying for NAP coverage include:
• September 30, 2016 for mixed forages, clover or strawberries 
• November 20, 2016 for apples, aronia berries and grapes
• December 1, 2016 for honey

NAP provides basic coverage equivalent to the catastrophic risk protection level of crop insurance.  Basic coverage is equal to 50 percent of the yield at 55 percent of the average market price established by FSA. 

NAP also offers additional levels of coverage, which requires payment of a premium in addition to a basic service fee.  A certified report of planted acreage, notice of loss and application for payment must be timely filed by deadlines established by FSA.  To qualify for assistance under NAP, production losses must have occurred as a result of an eligible natural disaster such as drought, freeze, hail, excessive moisture, excessive winds or flood. 

For more information on NAP coverage or any questions related to FSA programs, please contact the Allamakee County FSA Office at 563-568-2148.