What's Up at the FSA Office?

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

Submit Loan Requests for Financing Early
The Farm Loan team in Allamakee and Winneshiek Counties are already working on operating loans for spring 2018 so it is important that potential borrowers submit their requests early so they can be timely processed. The farm loan team can help determine which loan programs are best for applicants. 

FSA offers a wide range of low-interest loans that can meet the financial needs of any farm operation for just about any purpose.  The traditional farm operating and farm ownership loans can help large and small farm operations take advantage of early purchasing discounts for spring inputs as well expenses throughout the year. 

Microloans are a simplified loan program that will provide up to $50,000 to eligible applicants. These loans, targeted for smaller operations and non-traditional operations, can be used for operating expenses, starting a new agricultural enterprise, purchasing equipment, and other needs associated with a farming operation. The staff at the

Allamakee or Winneshiek County FSA office can provide more details on farm operating and microloans and provide loan applications. Loans to beginning farmers and members of underserved groups are a priority.

Other types of loans available include:

Marketing Assistance Loans allow producers to use eligible commodities as loan collateral and obtain a 9-month loan while the crop is in storage. These loans provide cash flow to the producer and allow them to market the crop when prices may be more advantageous.  

Farm Storage Facility Loans can be used to build permanent structures used to store eligible commodities, or for storage and handling trucks, or portable or permanent handling equipment. A variety of structures are eligible under this loan, including bunker silos, grain bins, hay storage structures and refrigerated structures for vegetables and fruit. A producer may borrow up to $500,000 per loan. 

Breaking New Ground
Agricultural producers are reminded to consult with FSA and NRCS before breaking out new ground for production purposes as doing so without prior authorization may put a producer’s federal farm program benefits in jeopardy. This is especially true for land that must meet Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions.

Producers with HEL determined soils are required to apply tillage, crop residue and rotational requirements as specified in their conservation plan. 

Producers should notify FSA as a first point of contact prior to conducting land clearing or drainage type projects to ensure the proposed actions meet compliance criteria such as clearing any trees to create new cropland, then these areas will need to be reviewed to ensure such work will not risk your eligibility for benefits.

Landowners and operators complete the form AD-1026 - Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification to identify the proposed action and allow FSA to determine whether a referral to Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for further review is necessary.  

Mid-Contract Management (MCM) on CRP Acres
As we start to see warmer temps and melting snow, please start thinking about your MCM, if you are scheduled for this year.  Those that are scheduled for this year would have received a packet from our office this past fall detailing what needs to be done.  You do have until May 14, 2018 to complete the work, but now is a good time to start lining up contractors if you haven’t already done so, buy seed if needed, and get equipment ready.  If you have technical questions, need a seeding plan, or contractor list please contact the NRCS office.  Any other questions can be directed to FSA. 

Once you complete your MCM, please notify the FSA office, sign the FSA-848B form, and provide acceptable evidence of practice completion to determine proper cost share payment.

No MCM can be performed during the CRP nesting or brood rearing season of May 15 – August 2.  Participants with maintenance issues that require attention prior to the end of nesting season must contact the county FSA office for permission prior to performing any spot spraying or spot mowing on CRP acres.  Failure to contact the county FSA office prior to any maintenance on CRP acres during nesting season may result in payment reductions or possible contract termination.

Maintenance of CRP Acres
Please monitor your CRP acres that are in a grass practice, such as a CP1, CP2, or CP8A , for trees growing in them.  These trees need to be removed to stay in compliance, and be eligible for reenrollment, if a sign-up were to occur.  Trees in the proposed acres could negatively impact whether you qualify for another contract with FSA.

No matter your practice, it is always a good idea to routinely check your acres to make sure they are in compliance.

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