FAQ: Will USDA agencies such as the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have exhibits at this year’s Farm Progress Show? Will FSA farm program specialists and NRCS conservation staff be there to answer my farm program and soil conservation questions?
Answer: The answer is “Yes.” You’ll find the experts with the answers at the Conservation Central tent.
USDA’s Iowa FSA and NRCS representatives look forward to meeting farmers at the FSA exhibit at the upcoming 2016 Farm Progress Show. In his column in Wallaces Farmer magazine this month, John Whitaker, state executive director of FSA in Iowa, previews some of the topics of interest the FSA staff will be prepared to discuss with visitors at the Show. Here’s a sampling:
“We have many USDA/FSA programs available to assist producers and some of these programs have been expanded or enhanced,” says Whitaker. “We look forward to talking to producers and answering questions at our FSA booth, located in the Conservation Central area at the show.”
What are some of the FSA programs producers can expect to learn more about when visiting with FSA staff during the Farm Progress Show?
1. ARC/PLC: By the time this article appears in print, producers should have completed their ARC/PLC enrolment for 2016 as the deadline was August 1. However, producers may have an interest in talking with staff about how ARC payments are calculated.
2. Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy): Producers might be interested in learning more about the Intergenerational Transfer Provision. Effective April 13, 2016. Any dairy operation already enrolled in the Margin Protection Program that had an intergenerational transfer occur will have an opportunity to increase the dairy operation’s production history during the 2017 registration and annual coverage election period. NOTE: Enrollment for 2017 MPP-Dairy coverage started July 1 and ends Sept. 30.
3. Farm Storage Facility Loans: FSA Farm Storage Facility Loans provide low-interest financing for producers to build or upgrade farm storage and handling facilities. The maximum loan amount is $500,000 per loan request. Loan terms are seven, 10 or 12 years depending on the amount of the loan. Each applicant will be charged a nonrefundable $100 application fee. New commodities eligible for storage loans include: Floriculture, hops, maple sap, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, eggs, meat/poultry (unprocessed), rye and aquaculture (excluding systems that maintain live animals through uptake and discharge of water). Milk bulk tanks might be of particular interest to some dairy producers.
4. MALs/LDPs/Commodity Certificate Exchange: As producers move into harvest and keep an eye on commodity prices, some may choose to consider a Marketing Assistance Loan. MALs and LDPs are marketing tools available to producers beginning at harvest or shearing. The MAL provides interim financing at harvesttime for producers to meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are typically at harvesttime lows, allowing the producer to delay the sale of the commodity until more favorable market conditions emerge.
The 2014 Farm Bill reinstated the use of commodity certificates as a loan repayment option. If using commodity certificates to repay the loan, the benefit is not counted against the payment limitation on Market Loan Gains (MLGs). LDPs offer similar income benefits to marketing loan gains but they apply against the payment limitation.
5. Managed haying and routine grazing options for CRP: As we move into fall, CRP contract holders might want to discuss haying and grazing options on CRP acres.
6. Options for expiring CRP contracts: Producers having CRP contracts that are expiring Sept. 1 have several FSA and other USDA agency conservation program options to consider for expired acreage that has not been re-enrolled into CRP. These options include but are not limited to the CRP State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program, Transition Incentives Program (TIP) CRP-Grasslands Initiative, etc.
7. Farm Loans: FSA offers a variety of guaranteed, direct, ownership and operating loan options. Talking to FSA staff at the Farm Progress Show will help you determine the credit option that best fits your needs whether you’re starting out new or you’re expanding or enhancing an existing operation. And, as the school year nears, now might be a great time to inquire about our youth loans for agricultural projects.
8. Disaster Assistance Programs: When Mother Nature deals a hefty blow to farmers and livestock producers, FSA offers programs to assist in recovery and provide relief. We have programs for low interest loans, removing debris and re-establishing conservation practices, livestock programs that assist with animal and forage losses and assistance for producers who have experienced destruction of physical property due to rains, high winds, tornadoes, etc. If you’ve suffered a qualifying loss, FSA can help.
“These are just a few of our services that address issues which might be on your mind when you visit us in late August at the Farm Progress Show,” says Whitaker. “But our FSA program portfolio is extensive so if your federal farm program needs are not outlined in what we’ve summarized in this column, just stop by and say, ‘hello.’ Odds are, we’ll have a program that can help you meet your farming and livestock production goals. See you at the show!”
Additional resources: For more information about programs offered by FSA, visit fsa.usda.gov.