What's up at the FSA Office?

by Joyce Davidshofer, Allamakee County Executive Director

The next Allamakee County FSA committee meeting will be Thursday, September 25 at 9 a.m. in the Allamakee County FSA conference room located in Waukon.

April 15, 2014 – January 30, 2015 sign-up for the LIP/LFP/ELAP/TAP programs
June 9, 2014 – September 30, 2014 – CRP Continuous CRP Sign-up 46
November 1, 2014 – December 30, 2015 – Forage, pasture, grasses certification due for spring 2015 year. Late file fee will apply, no waivers.

Early Contract Termination (“Early Out”) Provisions
The Agricultural Act of 2014 requires that the Secretary offer producers the opportunity for an “early out” for certain CRP contracts during FY 2015, if those contracts have been in effect for at least five years. June 5, 2014, USDA announced the intent to offer “early outs”.
The “early out” option will be available to CRP participants with acreage devoted to certain practices that meet eligibility criteria. The sign-up period for CRP participants to terminate acreage under the “early out” provisions is August 6, 2014, through January 30, 2015. Effective dates for “early outs” shall be no earlier than October 1, 2014.
Contracts must be in effect for at least five years to be eligible for termination under the “early out” provisions. Only CRP contracts with effective dates of October 1, 2009, or earlier are eligible for termination under the “early out” provisions.
Contact the Allamakee County FSA Office at 563-568-2148 or stop in at 635 9th Street NW, Waukon.

Save Time – Make an Appointment with FSA
As we roll out the Farm Bill programs administered by FSA, there will be related sign-ups and in some cases multiple management decisions that need to be made by you, the producer, in consult with FSA staff. To insure maximum use of your time and to insure that you are afforded our full attention to your important business needs, please call our office ahead of your visit to set an appointment and to discuss any records or documentation that you may need to have with you when you arrive for your appointment. The Allamakee County FSA Office will service all producers who walk in.
With all of the new programs and the new regulations appointments would be appreciated so office staff can gather all folders and forms to be ready to service you, the producer, in a timely manner.
The following programs will be on an appointment system:
Continuous CRP program - last day is September 30, 2014 with all paperwork completed and approved.
ARC/PLC program - 2014/2015 sign-up coming in the future.
LFP – Livestock Forge Program- deadline January 30, 2015.
LIP – Livestock Indemnity  Program- deadline January 30, 2015.
MPP – Margin Protection Program for Dairy producers- Deadline November 28, 2014.

FSA Wants You to be Better Prepared for Disasters
Based on the 2012 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Survey, 54 percent of the U.S. population do not believe their community will experience a natural disaster. Only 39 percent have a plan they have discussed with their family members, and almost 50 percent do not have supplies set aside in their home for use in a disaster. Unfortunately, a disaster will likely impact you at some point in your life, and when it does, you may only have seconds to respond. Your family, friends, and community are depending on you if a disaster happens. Are you ready to act?
As a proud supporter of America’s PrepareAthon, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) wants to share important information that will help you and your family be better prepared in case of a disaster.
America’s PrepareAthon is a nationwide, community-based campaign for action to increase emergency preparedness and resilience. Every spring and fall, organizations around the country will focus on preparedness during a national day of action. These national days of action drive participation in hazard-specific drills, group discussions, and exercises.
Visit www.ready.gov/prepare to learn more about America’s PrepareAthon and how you can improve your preparedness plan for your family and your community.

Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1
Producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses are encouraged to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible.
The Budget Control Act passed by Congress in 2011 requires USDA to implement reductions of 7.3 percent to the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) in the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2014. However, producers seeking LFP support who have scheduled appointments with their local FSA office before Oct. 1, even if the appointment occurs after Oct. 1, will not see reductions in the amount of disaster relief they receive.
USDA is encouraging producers to register, request an appointment or begin a Livestock Forage Disaster Program application with their county FSA office before Oct. 1, 2014 to lock in the current zero percent sequestration rate. As an additional aid to qualified producers applying for LFP, the Farm Service’s Agency has developed an online registration that enables farmers and ranchers to put their names on an electronic list before the deadline to avoid reductions in their disaster assistance. This is an alternative to visiting or contacting the county office. To place a name on the Livestock Forage Disaster Program list online, visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster-register.
Producers who already contacted the county office and have an appointment scheduled need do nothing more.
The Livestock Indemnity Program, the Tree Assistance Program and the Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program Frost Freeze payments will also be cut by 7.3 percent on Oct. 1, 2014. Unlike the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, applications for these programs must be fully completed by Sept. 30. FSA offices will prioritize these applications, but as the full application process can take several days or more to complete, producers are encouraged to begin the application process as soon as possible.
The Livestock Forage Disaster Program compensates eligible livestock producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire between Oct. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2014. Eligible livestock includes alpacas, beef cattle, buffalo, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, poultry, reindeer, sheep or swine that have been or would have been grazing the eligible grazing land or pastureland. Producers forced to liquidate their livestock may also be eligible for program benefits.
Additionally, the 2014 Farm Bill eliminated the risk management purchase requirement. Livestock producers are no longer required to purchase coverage under the federal crop insurance program or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program to be eligible for Livestock Forage Disaster Program assistance.
To learn more about USDA disaster relief program, producers can review the 2014 Farm Bill fact sheet at www.fsa.usda.gov/farmbill, the LFP program fact sheet, http://go.usa.gov/5JTk, or contact the Allamakee County FSA Office.

USDA Notifies Producers on Acreage History and Yields
Written notifications from USDA are underway to farmers that provide updates on their current base acres, yields and 2009-2012 planting history.
Please cross check the letter from USDA with your farm records. If the information is correct, no further action is needed at this time, but if our letter is incomplete or incorrect, contact your local FSA office as soon as possible.
Verifying the accuracy of data on a farm’s acreage history is a required early step for enrolling in the upcoming Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. Farmers and ranchers can update their crop yield information and reallocate base acres.
By mid-winter all producers on a farm will be required to make a one-time, unanimous and irrevocable election between price protection and county revenue protection or individual revenue protection for 2014-2018 crop years. Producers can expect to sign contracts for ARC or PLC for the 2014 and 2015 crop years in the spring of 2015.
Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (includes short grain rice and temperate japonica rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed, and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.
Visit www.fsa.usda.gov or the Allamakee County FSA office for information about FSA and the 2014 Farm Bill programs.