What's up at the FSA Office?

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

Oct. 10: FSA office will be closed for Columbus Day
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

CRP, ARC-COUNTY and PLC Payments in October
FSA will soon be issuing payments for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and also for the farm program Agricultural Risk Coverage–commonly known as ARC-CO or PLC.  The schedule for release of the payments is that the oldest CRP contracts – those contracted prior to 2008—will be issued first, beginning October 3rd.  Following that, we will issue the ARC-Co and PLC payments.  Those payments will be queued up the first week of October, pending no computer delays.  For CRP contracts that began after the 2008 Farm Bill, payments will not be issued for those contracts until after October 14th.  Patience is appreciated, as it will take a few days for the payments to be directly deposited into your bank accounts.

Mid-Contract Management (MCM) for CRP
Some CRP contract holders have just received a mailing about the need to complete a Mid-Contract Management (MCM) activity on their CRP land within the next year.  Options for MCM are specific depending on the type of seeding or conservation practice you have in your CRP fields.  They include spraying, disking, fire burn and/or inter-seeding.  If you have questions, please stop in and we will help you decide which option is better for your CRP and will explain the cost-share available for this activity. 

Farm Stored Facility Loans (FSFL)
Would you like to put a bin up or buy a piece of equipment that transports grain or hay or feed?  The FSFL program is an option for you.  Interest rates and terms vary depending on the amount borrowed and the useful life of the items.  A 3-year loan is at .875 % interest.  A 12 year loan is at 1.625%.  Recently rules were updated to allow us to loan on used items in addition to new equipment or bins.

Emergency Conservation Program (ECP)
If you have had flood related damage you cannot afford to repair without federal assistance, such as debris that needs to be removed from flooded cropland areas, you should stop in and report the damage to FSA.  Other types of heavy rain or flooding damage includes cropland fields suffering gully erosion, or terraces that were ruined by the heavy rains.  Conservation structures designed by NRCS may possibly be eligible for assistance if the maintenance agreement time period has passed.  Even though the Allamakee FSA has requested ECP assistance, there is no guarantee that the funding will be granted, as it is subject to the availability of funds at the national level.  Take note that a USDA employee needs to view the damage before you fix it.

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

Thank you, Rachel Bjerke!
Rachel Bjerke has recently accepted a permanent position with the Clayton County FSA Office. Rachel served the Allamakee County FSA Office as a temporary employee for two years.  Congratulations and best wishes to Rachel as she continues her FSA career.