What's up at the FSA Office?

by Jeremy Leitz, Allamakee County Executive Director (563) 568-2148

Upcoming Deadlines and Important Dates
• September 1 - December 15: 2018 Margin Protection Program Sign-Up

CRP Participants Must Maintain Approved Cover on Acreages Enrolled in CRP and Farm Programs
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) participants are responsible for ensuring adequate, approved vegetative and practice cover is maintained to control erosion throughout the life of the contract after the practice has been established. Participants must also control undesirable vegetation, weeds (including noxious weeds), insects and rodents that may pose a threat to existing cover or adversely impact other landowners in the area.

All CRP maintenance activities, such as mowing, burning, disking and spraying, must be conducted outside the primary nesting or brood rearing season for wildlife, which for Iowa is May 15-August 1. However, spot treatment of the acreage may be allowed during the primary nesting or brood rearing season if, left untreated, the weeds, insects or undesirable species would adversely impact the approved cover. In this instance, spot treatment is limited to the affected areas in the field and requires County Committee approval prior to beginning the spot treatment. The County Committee will consult with NRCS to determine if such activities are needed to maintain the approved cover.

ARC/PLC Acreage Maintenance
Producers enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs must protect all cropland and noncropland acres on the farm from wind and water erosion and noxious weeds. Producers who sign ARC county or individual contracts and PLC contracts agree to effectively control noxious weeds on the farm according to sound agricultural practices.  If a producer fails to take necessary actions to correct a maintenance problem on a farm that is enrolled in ARC or PLC, the County Committee may elect to terminate the contract for the program year. 

Beginning Farmer Loans
FSA assists beginning farmers to finance agricultural enterprises. Under these designated farm loan programs, FSA can provide financing to eligible applicants through either direct or guaranteed loans. FSA defines a beginning farmer as a person who:

• Has operated a farm for not more than 10 years
• Will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm
• Agrees to participate in a loan assessment, borrower training and financial management program sponsored by FSA
• Does not own a farm in excess of 30 percent of the county’s average size farm.

Additional program information, loan applications, and other materials are available at your local USDA Service Center.  You may also visit www.fsa.usda.gov.

Communication is Key in Lending
Farm Service Agency (FSA) is committed to providing our farm loan borrowers the tools necessary to be a success. A part of ensuring this success is providing guidance and counsel from the loan application process through the borrower’s graduation to commercial lending institutions. While it is FSA’s commitment to advise borrowers as they identify goals and evaluate progress, it is crucial for borrowers to communicate with their farm loan staff when changes occur. It is the borrower’s responsibility to alert FSA to any of the following:

• Any proposed or significant changes in the farming operation;
• Any significant changes to family income or expenses;
• The development of problem situations;
• Any losses or proposed significant changes in security

In addition, if a farm loan borrower cannot make payments to suppliers, other creditors, or FSA on time, contact your farm loan staff immediately to discuss loan servicing options.

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