What's up at the FSA Office?

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

Upcoming Deadlines and Important Dates
• December 25: Office closed for Christmas
• January 1: Office closed for News Years Day

USDA Farm Service Agency Offers Text Alerts to Allamakee County Producers
Producers in Iowa can now receive notifications from their county office through text messages on their cell phone. Whether producers are in the field, on a tractor or even on horseback, this service enables FSA customers and stakeholders to receive notifications while on the go. Producers will receive text messages regarding important program deadlines, reporting requirements, outreach events and updates.

Producers can text IAAllamakee to FSANOW (372-669) to subscribe to text message alerts from Allamakee County. Standard text messaging rates apply. Contact your wireless carrier for details associated with your particular data plan. Participants may unsubscribe at any time.

Contact your local FSA office at (563) 568-2148 if you have questions regarding FSA’s email news service or the new text message option.

Marketing Assistance Loans
The FSA office would like to remind producers that marketing assistance loans are available through our office. The 2017 loan rates are $1.87 for corn, and $4.99 for beans. If you do take out a marketing assistance loan with us, we will need a copy of your driver’s license, as well as your spouse’s. You are also responsible for maintaining the quality of the grain for the life of the loan, and for requesting permission from us prior to moving or feeding any grain under loan. 

USDA Microloans Help Farmers Purchase Farmland and Improve Property
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans are especially helpful to beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations.

The microloan program has been hugely successful, providing more than 16,800 low-interest loans, totaling over $373 million to producers across the country. Microloans have helped farmers and ranchers with operating costs, such as feed, fertilizer, tools, fencing, equipment, and living expenses since 2013. Seventy percent of loans have gone to new farmers.

Now, microloans will be available to also help with farm land and building purchases, and soil and water conservation improvements. FSA designed the expanded program to simplify the application process, expand eligibility requirements and expedite smaller real estate loans to help farmers strengthen their operations. Microloans provide up to $50,000 to qualified producers, and can be issued to the applicant directly from the USDA Farm Service Agency.

Transitioning Expiring CRP Land to Beginning, Veteran or Underserved Farmers and Ranchers
Retired or retiring landowners or operators are encouraged to transition their Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres to beginning, veteran or underserved farmers or ranchers through the Transition Incentives Program (TIP). TIP provides annual rental payments to the retiring farmer for up to two additional years after the CRP contract expires, provided the transition is not to a family member.

Enrollment in TIP is on a continuous basis. Beginning, veteran or underserved farmers and ranchers and retiring CRP participants may enroll in TIP beginning one year before the expiration date of the CRP contract or August 15. For example, if a CRP contract is scheduled to expire September 30, 2018, the land may be offered for enrollment in TIP beginning October 1, 2017, through August 15, 2018. The August 15 deadline allows the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) time to complete the TIP sustainable grazing or crop production conservation plans. The TIP application must be submitted prior to completing the lease or sale of the affected lands.

New landowners or renters must return the land to production using sustainable grazing or farming methods.

For more information on TIP, visit https://www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation.

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