What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
August 31: Dairy Margin Coverage Premiums Due
October 31: Organic Certification Cost-Share and Transition/Education Certification Program

Farm Loan Presence in Allamakee County
The USDA/FSA Farm Loan team will have a Loan Officer in our office every Tuesday during normal business hours (8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.).  If you would like to visit with the loan officer, please call or stop in.

County Committee (COC) Election
It’s that time of year when FSA begins the process of the county committee election.  This year the election will be for LAA-1, which includes French Creek, Hanover, Makee, Waterloo, Union City, Union Prairie townships. Essentially the NW portion of the county. The nomination period begins June and runs through early August.  You can nominate yourself or someone else by completing the appropriate form at our office or download it online. Once nominations are finalized, producers who reside in LAA-1 will cast ballots which will be mailed to you in November.  These ballots are due back to the FSA office by early December.  The elected member will take office January 1. Eligible households in these townships should have received an informational postcard.  

Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) and Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP)
For 2022, OCCSP will reimburse 50% of a certified operation’s allowable certification costs, up to a maximum of $500 per scope.  Scopes include crops, wild crops, livestock, processing/handling, and state organic program fees. The 2022 program year covers expenses paid between October 1, 2021 and September 30, 2022. In addition to the OCCSP program, the OTECP program will reimburse agricultural producers and handlers who are certified organic and crop and livestock producers who are transitioning to organic for eligible expenses incurred during fiscal year 2022.  Certification costs for crops, livestock, wild crops, handling, and state fees are eligible for up to 25% reimbursement (not to exceed $250). If you are a producer transitioning to organic, up to 75% (not to exceed $750) of your eligible expenses can be reimbursed.  These can include fees for pre-certification inspection, soil testing through USDA NOP, registration fees for educational events, and the development of organic system plans.  

CRP Reminders
The primary nesting season ended August 1, so contract-holders can complete and maintenance on CRP without prior approval from their FSA office. Please remember that cosmetic mowing of your CRP acres is always prohibited, as are the establishment of trails through your acres. Temporary deer stands are only allowed during the hunting season and must be removed immediately once the season is over. Volunteer trees and woody vegetation must be controlled and removed from CRP acres. Failure to control undesirable vegetation on CRP can result in financial penalties.

FSA Offers Drought Assistance for Livestock Producers Through Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP)
If you’ve suffered above normal expenses for hauling feed or water to livestock or hauling livestock to forage/grazing acres due to the impacts of drought, you may be eligible for financial assistance through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). For eligible producers in qualifying counties, ELAP provides financial assistance for:
• the transportation of water to livestock;
• the above normal cost of mileage for transporting feed to livestock,
• the above normal cost of transporting livestock to forage/grazing acres.*

*Hauling livestock one-way, one haul per animal reimbursement and no payment for “empty miles.”

Eligible livestock include cattle, buffalo, goats and sheep, among others, that are maintained for commercial use and located in a county where the qualifying drought conditions occur. A county must have had D2 severe drought intensity on the U.S. Drought Monitor for eight consecutive weeks during the normal grazing period, or D3 or D4 drought intensity at any time during the normal grazing period. Producers must have risk in both eligible livestock and eligible grazing land in an eligible county to qualify for ELAP assistance.

Water Transportation
For ELAP water transportation assistance, a producer must be transporting water to eligible livestock on eligible grazing land where the producer had adequate livestock watering systems or facilities in place before the drought occurred and where they do not normally require the transportation of water. Payments are for costs associated with personal labor, equipment, hired labor, equipment, and/or contracted water transportation fees. Cost of the water itself is not covered. The ELAP payment formula uses a national average price per gallon.

Above Normal Costs Of Transporting Feed
ELAP provides financial assistance to livestock producers who incur above normal expenses for transporting feed to livestock during drought. The payment formula excludes the first 25 miles and any mileage over 1,000 miles. The reimbursement rate is 60% of the costs above what would normally have been incurred during the same time period in a normal (non-drought) year.

Above Normal Costs Of Transporting Livestock To Forage/Grazing Acres
ELAP provides financial assistance to livestock producers who are hauling livestock to a new location for feed resources due to insufficient feed and/or grazing in drought-impacted areas. Assistance for Livestock transportation is retroactive to 2021 and available for 2022 and subsequent years. Please contact your county FSA office for additional details. For calendar year 2022 forward, producers must submit a notice of loss to your local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent; producers should contact their county FSA office as soon as the loss of water resources or feed resources are known. For ELAP eligibility, documentation of expenses is critical. Producers should maintain records and receipts associated with the costs of transporting water to eligible livestock, the costs of transporting feed to eligible livestock, and the costs of transporting eligible livestock to forage/grazing acres.

ELAP also offers assistance to producers impacted by wildfire. Contact your county FSA office for more information on ELAP resources for wildfire losses. In addition, beekeepers also can benefit from ELAP provisions and should contact their county FSA office within 15 calendar days of when a loss occurs or from when the loss is apparent.