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Farm Service Agency

FSA County Committee Elections to Begin; Producers to Receive Ballots Week of Nov. 9

Farmers and Ranchers Have a Voice in Local Farm Program Decisions

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2015 – Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin mailing ballots to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country for the 2015 FSA County Committee elections on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Producers must return ballots to their local FSA offices by Dec. 7, 2015, to ensure that their vote is counted.

“County committee members represent the farmers and ranchers in their communities,” said Dolcini. “Producers elected to these committees have always played a vital role in local agricultural decisions. They are essential to the daily operation of nearly 2,200 offices across the country. It is a valued partnership that helps us better understand the needs of the farmers and ranchers we serve.”

Nearly 7,700 FSA County Committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. County committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs; conservation programs; indemnity and disaster programs; emergency programs and eligibility.

Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. Approximately 1.9 million producers are currently eligible to vote.  Farmers and ranchers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, also may be eligible to vote.

Farmers and ranchers will begin receiving their ballots the week of Nov. 9. Ballots include the names of candidates running for the local committee election. FSA has modified the ballot, making it more easily identifiable and less likely to be overlooked. Voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week can pick one up at their local FSA office. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 7, 2015. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1, 2016.

For more information, visit the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections.  You may also contact your local USDA Service Center or FSA office.  Visit http://offices.usda.govto find an FSA office near you.

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USDA Commits $2.5 Million to Expand New Farmer Education

Training Will also Help Returning Service Members, Underserved, and Urban Producers

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 22, 2015 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced that $2.5 million in grants is now available for projects to educate new and underserved farmers about more than 20 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency programs that can provide financial, disaster or technical assistance to the agricultural community.

The grants will be awarded to nonprofits and public higher education institutions that develop proposals to improve farmer education on topics such as financial training, value-added production, recordkeeping, property inheritance, and crop production practices.

“We want to partner with nonprofits, colleges and universities who share USDA’s priority of helping more Americans enter farming as a profession, whether they are new or underserved farmers, returning Service members, minorities, women, and urban producers or those who sell their crops locally,” said Harden.

USDA will conduct four evaluation periods to review applications, with the deadlines of Nov. 20, 2015, Jan. 22, 2015, Mar. 18, 2016, and May 27, 2016. Awards between $20,000 and $100,000 per applicant will be available. To learn more about the funding solicitation and the related Farm Service Agency programs, details can be found at www.grants.govwith the reference number USDA-FSA-CA-2015-001.  For nonprofits and public institutions of higher education that are considering participation, an online informational session will be conducted on Sept. 28, 2015.  Additional information is posted on the Web at www.fsa.usda.gov/outreach.  

This funding builds on historic investments made in rural America over the past six years and supports programs enacted by the 2014 Farm Bill, which achieved meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has progressively implemented each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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USDA Announces Restart of Biomass Crop Assistance Program for Renewable Energy

WASHINGTON, June 1, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that incentives will resume this summer for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners interested in growing and harvesting biomass for renewable energy. The support comes through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. BCAP provides financial assistance to establish and maintain new crops of energy biomass, or who harvest and deliver forest or agricultural residues to a qualifying energy facility.

Financial assistance is available through BCAP for costs associated with harvesting and transporting agriculture or forest residues to facilities that convert biomass crops into energy. Eligible crops may include corn residue, diseased or insect infested wood materials, or orchard waste. The energy facility must first be approved by USDA to accept the biomass crop. Facilities can apply for, or renew, their BCAP qualification status beginning today.  $11.5 million of federal funds will be allocated to support the delivery of biomass materials through December 2015. Last year, more than 200,000 tons of dead or diseased trees from National Forests and Bureau of Land Management lands were removed and used to produce renewable energy, while reducing the risk of forest fire. Nineteen energy facilities in 10 states participated in the program.

Farmers, ranchers and forest landowners can also receive financial assistance to grow biomass crops that will be converted into energy in selected BCAP project areas. New BCAP project area proposals will be solicited beginning this summer and accepted through fall 2015, with new project area announcements and enrollments taking place in early spring 2016.  The extended proposal submission period allows project sponsors time to complete any needed environmental assessments and allows producers enough lead time to make informed decisions on whether or not to pursue the BCAP project area enrollment opportunity. This fiscal year USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will allocate up to $8 million for producer enrollment to expand and enhance existing BCAP project areas. Additionally, in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill, underserved farmers are eligible for a higher establishment cost share. BCAP projects have supported over 50,000 acres across 74 counties in 11 different project areas. 

BCAP wasmade possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing, and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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Farm Service Agency County Committee Nomination Period Began June 15

The nomination period for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees began Monday, June 15, 2015.

“County committees are a vital link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” said Vilsack. “I hope that every eligible farmer and rancher will participate in this year's county committee elections. Through the county committees, farmers and ranchers have a voice; their opinions and ideas get to be heard on federal farm programs.”

Vilsack added, “We’ve seen an increase in the number of nominations of women and minority candidates, and I hope that trend continues.”

To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area where the person is nominated.

Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA-669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. Nomination forms for the 2015 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 3, 2015. Elections will take place this fall.

While FSA county committees do not approve or deny farm ownership or operating loans, they make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to 11 members that are elected by eligible producers.

FSA will mail ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 9, 2015. Ballots are due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by Dec.7, 2015. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office on Jan. 1, 2016.

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USDA Opens Enrollment Period for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Safety-Net Programs

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2015 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that eligible producers may now formally enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC)programs for 2014 and 2015. The enrollment period begins June 17, 2015, and will end Sept. 30, 2015.

"The extensive outreach campaign conducted by USDA since the 2014 Farm Bill was enacted, along with extending deadlines, is central to achieving an expected high level of participation,” said Vilsack. “We worked with universities to simplify these complex programs by providing online tools so producers could explore how program election options would affect their operation in different market conditions; these tools were presented to almost 3,000 organizations across the country. The Farm Service Agency also sent more than 5 million educational notices to producers nationwide and participated in over 4,880 educational events with more than 447,000 attendees. I am proud of the many committed USDA employees who worked hard over the last several months to provide producers support to help them make these important decisions.”

The new programs, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, trigger financial protections for agricultural producers when market forces cause substantial drops in crop prices or revenues. More than 1.76 million farmers have elected ARC or PLC. Previously, 1.7 million producers had enrolled to receive direct payments (the program replaced with ARC and PLC by the 2014 Farm Bill). This means more farms have elected ARC or PLC than previously enrolled under previously administered programs.

Nationwide, 96 percent of soybean farms, 91 percent of corn farms, and 66 percent of wheat farms elected ARC. 99 percent of long grain rice farms, 99 percent of peanut farms, and 94 percent of medium grain rice farms elected PLC.  For data about other crops and state-by-state program election results go to www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc.

Covered commodities under ARC and PLC 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 (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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USDA Reminds Farmers to Certify Conservation Compliance by June 1 Deadline

Producers May Need to Take Action to Remain Eligible for Crop Insurance Premium Support

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 16, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers that the 2014 Farm Bill requires producers to file a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form (AD-1026) with their local USDA service center by June 1, 2015, in order to become or remain eligible for crop insurance premium support.

Most farmers already have a certification form on file since it’s required for participation in most USDA programs such as marketing assistance loans, farm storage facility loans and disaster assistance. However farmers, such as specialty crop growers who receive federal crop insurance premium support, but may not participate in other USDA programs, also must now file a certification form to maintain their crop insurance premium support.

“USDA employees are working very hard to get the word out about this new Farm Bill provision,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “While many producers will not need to take action, we want to help make sure that those who are required to act do so by the June 1 deadline. We want all eligible producers to be able to maintain their ability to protect their operations with affordable insurance.”

Producers should visit their local USDA service centerand talk with their crop insurance agent before the June 1, 2015, deadline to ask questions, get additional information or learn more about conservation compliance procedures. Producers that file their form by the deadline will be eligible for federal crop insurance premium support during the 2016 reinsurance year, which begins July, 1, 2015. USDA will publish a rule outlining the linkage of conservation compliance with federal crop insurance premium support. Go to http://go.usa.gov/3Wy5Jto view a copy of the rule.

The Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form is available at local USDA service center or online at www.fsa.usda.gov/AD1026form. When a farmer completes this form, USDA Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service staff will outline any additional actions that may be required for compliance with highly erodible land and wetland provisions. USDA’s Risk Management Agency, through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, manages the federal crop insurance program that provides the modern farm safety net for America’s farmers and ranchers.

Today's announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has implemented many provisions of this critical legislation, providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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USDA Extends ARC and PLC Deadlines

Farmers Have Until April 7 to Update Yields, Reallocate Base Acres, and Make Final Selections

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today provided farm owners and producers one additional week, until April 7, 2015, to choose between Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), the safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill. The final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres also will be April 7, 2015.

“This is an important decision for producers because these programs help farmers and ranchers protect their operations from unexpected changes in the marketplace,” said Vilsack. “Nearly 98 percent of owners have already updated yield and base acres, and 90 percent of producers have enrolled in ARC or PLC.  These numbers are strong, and continue to rise. This additional week will give producers a little more time to have those final conversations, review their data, visit their local Farm Service Agency offices, and make their decisions,” said Vilsack.

If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by the deadline, the farm's current yield and base acres will be used. If a program choice of ARC or PLC is not made, there will be no 2014 crop year payments for the farm and the farm will default to PLC coverage for the 2015 through 2018 crop years.Producers who have an appointment at their local FSA offices scheduled by April 7 will be able to make an election between ARC and PLC, even if their actual appointment is after April 7.

These safety-net programs provide important financial protection against unexpected changes in the marketplace. As part of the strong education and outreach campaign launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in September, to date more than 5 million educational postcards, in English and Spanish, have been sent to producers nationwide, and more than 5,000 events with more than 430,000 attendees, including training sessions and speaking engagements, have been conducted to educate  producers on the programs. The online tools, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc, which allow producers to explore how ARC or PLC coverage will affect their operation, have been presented to more than 3,400 groups.   

Covered commodities under ARC and PLC 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 (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

Producers need to contact the Farm Service Agency by April 7. To learn more, farmers can contact their local Farm Service Agency county office. To find local offices, visit http://offices.usda.gov.

The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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USDA Finalizes Procedures for Sorghum Referendum

WASHINGTON, March, 19, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing procedures for the upcoming referendum regarding the continuation of the Sorghum Checkoff Program and is announcing the dates it will conduct the referendum.

The Sorghum Promotion, Research, and Information Order requires that a referendum be conducted no later than seven years after the start of assessments, which began on July 1, 2008. For the program to continue, a majority of those voting must favor the continuation of the order.

USDA will conduct the referendum beginning on March 23, 2015, through April 21, 2015, at county USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices for producers and the Agricultural Marketing Service office for importers. Ballots may be obtained in person, by mail or facsimile at county FSA offices, or via the Internet.

Any eligible person engaged in the production or importation of sorghum from January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2014, is eligible to participate. Individuals are required to provide documentation such as a sales receipt or remittance form that shows they engaged in the production or importation of sorghum.

The Sorghum Checkoff Program, and its 13-member board, is authorized by the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996. The Sorghum Checkoff is intended to be a national, coordinated, self-help marketing program designed to strengthen the position of sorghum in the marketplace, maintain and expand existing domestic and foreign markets and uses for sorghum, and develop new markets and uses for sorghum.

The final procedures were published in the Nov. 18, 2010, Federal Register. The notice announcing the dates of the referendum were published in the Feb. 19, 2015, Federal Register.

For more information, contact Craig Shackelford, Marketing Specialist, Research and Promotion Division, Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program, AMS, USDA, 22 Jamesport Lane, White, GA

30184; Telephone: (470) 315-4246; craig.shackelford@ams.usda.gov. Procedures and additional information about the referendum can be found at: www.ams.usda.gov/SorghumReferendum.

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USDA Provides One-Time Extension of Deadline to Update Base Acres or Yield History for ARC/PLC Programs

Farmers Now Have Until March 31 to Update Yields and Reallocate Base Acres; Deadline for Choosing Between ARC and PLC also Remains March 31

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2015 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that a one-time extension will be provided to producers for the new safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres has been extended one additional month, from Feb. 27, 2015 until March 31, 2015.  The final day for farm owners and producers to choose ARC or PLC coverage also remains March 31, 2015.  

“This is an important decision for producers, because these programs provide financial protection against unexpected changes in the marketplace. Producers are working to make the best decision they can.  And we’re working to ensure that they’ve got the time, the information, and the opportunities to have those final conversations, review their data, and to visit the Farm Service Agency to make those decisions,” said Vilsack

If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by March 31, 2015, the farm's current yield and base will be used.  A program choice of ARC or PLC coverage also must be made by March 31, 2015, or there will be no 2014 payments for the farm and the farm will default to PLC coverage through the 2018 crop year.

“These are complex decisions, which is why we launched a strong education and outreach campaign back in September.  Now we’re providing a one-time extension of an additional month so that every producer is fully prepared to enroll in this program, “ said Vilsack.

Nationwide, more than 2.9 million educational postcards, in Englishand Spanish, have been sent to producers, and over 4,100 training sessions have been conducted on the new safety-net programs. The online tools, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc, allow producers to explore projections on how ARC or PLC coverage will affect their operation under possible future scenarios.

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 (which includes short grain rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

To learn more, farmers can contact their local Farm Service Agency county office.  To find your local office visit http://offices.usda.gov.

The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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USDA Provides One-Time Extension of Deadline to Update Base Acres or Yield History for ARC/PLC Programs

Farmers Now Have Until March 31 to Update Yields and Reallocate Base Acres; Deadline for Choosing Between ARC and PLC also Remains March 31

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2015 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that a one-time extension will be provided to producers for the new safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres has been extended one additional month, from Feb. 27, 2015 until March 31, 2015.  The final day for farm owners and producers to choose ARC or PLC coverage also remains March 31, 2015.  

“This is an important decision for producers, because these programs provide financial protection against unexpected changes in the marketplace. Producers are working to make the best decision they can.  And we’re working to ensure that they’ve got the time, the information, and the opportunities to have those final conversations, review their data, and to visit the Farm Service Agency to make those decisions,” said Vilsack

If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by March 31, 2015, the farm's current yield and base will be used.  A program choice of ARC or PLC coverage also must be made by March 31, 2015, or there will be no 2014 payments for the farm and the farm will default to PLC coverage through the 2018 crop year.

“These are complex decisions, which is why we launched a strong education and outreach campaign back in September.  Now we’re providing a one-time extension of an additional month so that every producer is fully prepared to enroll in this program, “ said Vilsack.

Nationwide, more than 2.9 million educational postcards, in Englishand Spanish, have been sent to producers, and over 4,100 training sessions have been conducted on the new safety-net programs. The online tools, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc, allow producers to explore projections on how ARC or PLC coverage will affect their operation under possible future scenarios.

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 (which includes short grain rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

To learn more, farmers can contact their local Farm Service Agency county office.  To find your local office visit http://offices.usda.gov.

The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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USDA Farm Service Agency Announces Key Dates for New 2014 Farm Bill Safety Net Programs

Land Owners Can Update Yield History and/or Reallocate Base Acres through Feb. 27, 2015;

Producers Select the Safety Net Program Best for Their Operation

Beginning Nov. 17, 2014 through March 31, 2015

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing key dates for farm owners and producers to keep in mind regarding the new 2014 Farm Bill established programs, Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The new programs, designed to help producers better manage risk, usher in one of the most significant reforms to U.S. farm programs in decades.

“The ARC and PLC programs are a significant reform in the farm safety net,” said Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini. “FSA wants to keep producers well informed on all steps in the process. We will continue our outreach efforts and maintain resources online to help them understand the new programs before they come in to make decisions for their operations.”

Dates associated with ARC and PLC that farm owners and producers need to know:

  • Sept. 29, 2014 to Feb. 27, 2015: Land owners may visit their local Farm Service Agency office to update yield history and/or reallocate base acres.
  • Nov. 17, 2014 to March 31, 2015: Producers make a one-time election of either ARC or PLC for the 2014 through 2018 crop years.
  • Mid-April 2015 through summer 2015: Producers sign contracts for 2014 and 2015 crop years.
  • October 2015: Payments for 2014 crop year, if needed.

USDA leaders will visit with producers across the country to share information and answer questions on the ARC and PLC programs.

USDA helped create online tools to assist in the decision process, allowing farm owners and producers to enter information about their operation and see projections that show what ARC and/or PLC will mean for them under possible future scenarios. The new tools are now available at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc. Farm owners and producers can access the online resources from the convenience of their home computer or mobile device at any time. USDA provided $3 million to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri and the Agricultural and Food Policy Center (AFPC) at Texas A&M (co-leads for the National Association of Agricultural and Food Policy), along with the University of Illinois (lead for the National Coalition for Producer Education) to develop these online tools.

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 (which includes short grain rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

Today's announcement was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

Key Dates

Sept. 29, 2014 to Feb. 27, 2015

Nov. 17, 2014 to March 31, 2015

Mid-April through Summer 2015

October 2015

Land owners make base reallocation/yield updates

Producers make election between ARC/PLC

Producers sign contracts for 2014 and 2015 crop years

Payments for 2014 crop year, if needed

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Farm Bill Producer Meetings

The Greensville County FSA will have two very important sessions on the 2014 Farm Bill Program. The ARC-PLC Programs will be discussed.

  • January 28, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. at the Greensville Extension Office: Topics: Base and yield updates - Melvin E. Hill, Jr.
  • February 11, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. at the Greensville Extension Office: Topics: Election of ARC-PLC Programs and Election Tools Update. Melvin E. Hill, Jr. Greensville CED, Herbert A. Brown Jr., Brunswick CED and Dr. Jim Pease, Extension Economist, Virginia Tech.

Please attend both important sessions to meet upcoming deadlines.  For more information call (434) 634-2462, Ext. 2.

Reasonable accommodations will be made, upon request, for individuals with disabilities, vision impairment, or hearing impairment to attend meetings sponsored by the Farm Service Agency. If you require special accommodations to attend one of our meetings,please call the FSA County Office and we will be happy to make any needed arrangements.

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USDA Provides Greater Protection for Fruit, Vegetable and Other Specialty Crop Growers

Free Basic Coverage Plans and Premium Discounts Available for New, Underserved and Limited Income Farmers

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that greater protection is now available from the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for crops that traditionally have been ineligible for federal crop insurance. The new options, created by the 2014 Farm Bill, provide greater coverage for losses when natural disasters affect specialty crops such as vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup, and energy crops.

“These new protections will help ensure that farm families growing crops for food, fiber or livestock consumption will be better able to withstand losses due to natural disasters,” said Vilsack. “For years, commodity crop farmers have had the ability to purchase insurance to keep their crops protected, and it only makes sense that fruit and vegetable, and other specialty crop growers, should be able to purchase similar levels of protection. Ensuring these farmers can adequately protect themselves from factors beyond their control is also critical for consumers who enjoy these products and for communities whose economies depend on them.”

Previously, the program offered coverage at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production. Producers can now choose higher levels of coverage, up to 65 percent of their expected production at 100 percent of the average market price.

The expanded protection will be especially helpful to beginning and traditionally underserved producers, as well as farmers with limited resources, who will receive fee waivers and premium reductions for expanded coverage. More crops are now eligible for the program, including expanded aquaculture production practices, and sweet and biomass sorghum. For the first time, a range of crops used to produce bioenergy will be eligible as well. 

“If America is to remain food secure and continue exporting food to the world, we need to do everything we can to help new farmers get started and succeed in agriculture,” Vilsack said. “This program will help new and socially disadvantaged farmers affordably manage risk, making farming a much more attractive business proposition.”

To help producers learn more about the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and how it can help them, USDA, in partnership with Michigan State University and the University of Illinois, created an online resource. The Web tool, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/nap, allows producers to determine whether their crops are eligible for coverage. It also gives them an opportunity to explore a variety of options and levels to determine the best protection level for their operation.

If the application deadline for an eligible crop has already passed, producers will have until Jan. 14, 2015, to choose expanded coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. To learn more, visit the Farm Service Agency (FSA) website at www.fsa.usda.gov/nap or contact your local FSA office.  The Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers the program, also wants to hear from producers and other interested stakeholders who may have suggestions or recommendations on the program. Written comments will be accepted until Feb. 13, 2015 and can be submitted through www.regulations.gov.

These new provisions under the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program were made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America.  For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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Sign-up Now for 2015 Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Emporia, VA, October 2, 2014 – Virginia farmers and forest land owners can now apply for assistance to protect the health and productivity of their land under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

EQIP is one of USDA’s most popular Farm Bill conservation programs.  Under this program, NRCS offers technical and financial assistance to plan and install conservation practices on cropland, pastureland and non-industrial private forestland. In 2014, NRCS provided nearly $20 million in EQIP contracts to help Virginia farmers improve water quality, soil quality and wildlife habitat.

NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at specific times. Application cutoff dates for the first FY15 EQIP ranking period is November 21, 2014.

Wade Biddix, NRCS Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, noted it is important for farmers to get program applications in early to be eligible for limited funding. “Conservation plans must be developed for the area that is included in an EQIP contract,” he said. “When farmers develop a complete conservation plan for their farm, it speeds up the application process and oftentimes practices are applied more strategically.”

Eligible producers who sign up for the program may receive a payment based on the statewide average cost for installing planned conservation practices. Socially disadvantaged, limited resource and beginning farmers and ranchers are eligible for a higher payment rate. Veteran farmers who are also new or beginning farmers receive the higher payment rate and will be funded first.

Special pools are also available for On-Farm Energy, Specialty Crops and Organic, Longleaf Pine and Seasonal High Tunnel conservation practices, as well as a number of landscape based initiatives. All offer technical and financial assistance through the EQIP program.

  • On-Farm Energy:NRCS and producers develop Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP) or farm energy audits that assess energy use on the farm and recommend ways to reduce energy use. Funding is available for implementation after farmers get an approved energy audit.
  • Longleaf Pine:  NRCS has special funding dedicated to the establishment and management of longleaf pines within the historical range of that species in Southeastern Virginia.
  • Specialty Crops and Organic:NRCS helps certified organic growers working to achieve organic certification and farmers who have specialty crops install conservation practices to address resource concerns on their operations.
  • Seasonal High Tunnel (Hoop House):NRCS helps producers plan and implement high tunnels - steel-framed, polyethylene-covered structures that extend growing seasons in an environmentally safe manner. Farmers who completed a hoop house under the 2008 Farm Bill are also eligible to apply for a hoop house under the current 2014 Farm Bill.

The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) was rescinded by the 2014 Farm Bill.  However the wildlife concerns were included in the EQIP Program and a minimum of five percent of the available EQIP funding is to be used for wildlife purposes.  Landowners interested in establishing wildlife practices or pollinator habitat can apply under the EQIP program.

If you are interested in Farm Bill programs, contact your local NRCS office to identify and plan the conservation measures you would like to implement on your land.  NRCS staff will help you develop a plan, identify recommended practices, and pursue funding through one of the many Farm Bill program options available. 

USDA service center locations are listed online at http://offices.usda.gov or in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture. General program information is available on the NRCS Virginia website at www.va.nrcs.usda.gov.

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Cotton Transition Assistance Program Enrollment Begins Next Week

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7, 2014 — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan M. Garcia today announced that farmers can enroll in the Cotton Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) from Aug. 11, 2014 through Oct. 7, 2014.

The program, created by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides interim payments to cotton producers during the 2014 crop year until the Stacked Income Protection Plan, a new insurance product also created by the legislation, is available. Details on the plan will be released by mid-August.

“The Cotton Transition Assistance Program is another milestone in USDA’s ambitious timeline for implementing the provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill. Cotton producers now have a risk management tool in place,” said Garcia. “To help us provide the best service possible, cotton producers are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their local Farm Service Agency office early in this enrollment period,” added Garcia.

CTAP applications approved before Oct. 1, are subject to congressionally mandated automatic reductions of 7.2 percent for the 2014 crop year. Applications approved after Oct. 1 will be reduced the required 7.3 percent for the 2015 crop year. The Budget Control Act of 2011 requires USDA to implement these reductions to program payments.

CTAP and the Stacked Income Protection Plan were established by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

For more information about CTAP, visit a local FSA office or go online towww.fsa.usda.gov.

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USDA Sending Acreage History and Yield Reports to Help Producers Prepare for New Farm Bill Programs

Data will Help Farmers and Ranchers to Select the Coverage Options that Their Fit Needs

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2014 — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced today that farmers should start receiving notices updating them on their current base acres, yields and 2009-2012 planting history. The written updates are an important part of preparing agricultural producers for the new safety net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“We’re sending these reports to make sure that farmers and ranchers have key information as they make critical decisions about programs that impact their livelihood,” said Garcia. “It’s important that producers take a few minutes to cross check the information they receive with their own farm records. If the information is correct, no further action is needed at this time. But if our letter is incomplete or incorrect, producers need to contact their local FSA county office as soon as possible.”

Verifying the accuracy of data on a farm’s acreage history is an important step for producers enrolling in the upcoming Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. Later this summer, farmers and ranchers will have an opportunity to update their crop yield information and reallocate base acres.

“We’re working hard to prepare and educate farmers on the new programs created by the 2014 Farm Bill,” added Garcia. “I encourage producers to bring their USDA notice to any scheduled appointments with the local FSA county office. This will help ensure they have the information they need with them to discuss the available program options.”

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 early 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.

 

August 2014

Late Summer 2014

Winter 2014

Early 2015

Producers receive letters notifying them of current bases and yields and 2009 to 2012 planting history.

ARC and PLC online tools become available. Owners have opportunity to update yields and reallocate bases for ARC/PLC purposes.

ARC/PLC

one-time elections occur.

ARC/PLC sign-up for 2014 and 2015 starts.

Visit www.fsa.usda.govor the local FSA office for information about FSA and the 2014 Farm Bill programs.

Today's announcement was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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Nomination Deadline Nears for Farm Service Agency County Committees

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2014 — U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan Garcia reminds farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers that Aug. 1, 2014, is the deadline for local FSA county committee nominations.

County committees are an important link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers and ranchers elected to local committeesshare their opinions and ideas on federal farm programs.

“There’s still time for eligible farmers and ranchers to get involved in this year's county committee elections,” said Garcia."Nominate yourself or a candidate of your choice to serve on the local county committee. I especially encourage the nomination of beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as women and minorities. This is your opportunity to have a say in how federal programs are delivered in your county.”

While FSA county committees do not approve or deny farm ownership or operating loans, they work closely with county executive directors and make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues.

Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to 11 members that are elected by eligible producers.

To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area where the person is nominated.

To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA-669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. Forms for the 2014 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 1, 2014. Ballots will be mailed to eligible voters by Nov. 3 and are due back to the local USDA Service Centers on Dec. 1. The newly elected county committee members will take office on Jan. 1, 2015.

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USDA Provides 12-Week Progress Update on Disaster Assistance

106,000 Payment Helping Farmers in 40 States Recover from Losses;

Producers reminded sign-up deadline approaching for ELAP

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2014 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack provided a 12-week progress report on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs today, announcing that USDA has processed 106,000 payments to farmers in 40 states across the country who suffered livestock and grazing losses between October 2011 and passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Farmers and ranchers who waited two and a half years for a Farm Bill are now getting some relief,” said Vilsack. “We met the very ambitious goal to get these programs up and running in just 60 days. Now, thanks to our dedicated staff in offices across the country, we’ve provided more than 106,000 payments to farmers and ranchers in 40 states who suffered drought, blizzard, and other weather related losses.”

A quick implementation of the disaster assistance programs has been a top priority for USDA. In February, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) announcedthat enrollment for four disaster assistance programs would begin April 15, 2014, 60 days from the date the programs were reestablished by the 2014 Farm Bill.  After the 2008 Farm Bill, it took over one year for the programs to get up and running.

Since then, dedicated full-time FSA staff, as well as temporary employees hired to expedite the application process, have processed over $1.2 billion in payments to qualifying farmers and ranchers. The first payments were sent out to farmers and ranchers within two weeks of enrollment. USDA estimated that roughly $2.5 billion would be provided in disaster relief to cover losses from October 2011 through September 2014. If those estimates prove accurate, it would mean nearly half of all disaster payments have already been provided.

While disaster relief is a critical lifeline that can prevent farmers and ranchers who do not have access to crop insurance from being wiped out by weather-related losses beyond their control, most producers only receive support equal to 60 percent of their actual losses.

USDA disaster programs include:

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program(LFP) and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provides payments for grazing losses due to drought and livestock deaths due to adverse weather.

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program(ELAP) provides assistance for livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish losses due to disease (including cattle tick fever), weather, wildfires and colony collapse disorder, or for losses not covered under other disaster assistance programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill.

The Tree Assistance Program(TAP) provides financial assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes and vines that were lost or damaged by natural disasters.

Specific program deadlines are as follows:

  • 2011-2013 ELAP – Friday, Aug. 1, 2014
  • 2011 -2014 LFP – Friday, Jan. 30, 2015
  • 2011-2014 LIP – Friday, Jan. 30, 2015
  • 2011-2014 TAP – Monday, Feb. 2, 2015

Producers affected by adverse weather should contact their FSA county office to make an appointment and learn if they are eligible for disaster assistance. For more information, producers may review the 2014 Farm Bill Fact Sheet, and the LIP, LFP, ELAP and TAP fact sheets online, or visit any local FSA office.

Vilsack also highlighted that more than $270 million in disaster assistance has been paid to farmers and ranchers in USDA StrikeForce counties experiencing chronic poverty. “Farmers and ranchers in these counties have extraordinary challenges. Through USDA’s StrikeForce initiative, we can get federal support to areas that need it the most,”said Vilsack. 

The StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity initiative works to address the unique set of challenges faced by many of America’s rural communities. Through the Strike Force, USDA is leveraging resources and collaborating with over 400 community organizations, businesses, foundations, universities and other groups to support 80,300 projects with more than $9.7 billion in USDA investments into rural America. StrikeForce currently serves 20 states that include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

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Farm Service Agency County Committee Nomination Period Begins June 15

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2014 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the nomination period for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees begins Sunday, June 15, 2014.

“County committees are a vital link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” said Vilsack. “I hope that every eligible farmer and rancher will participate in this year's county committee elections. Through the county committees, farmers and ranchers have a voice; their opinions and ideas get to be heard on federal farm programs.”

Vilsack added, “We’ve seen an increase in the number of nominations of women and minority candidates, and I hope that trend continues.”

To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area where the person is nominated.

Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA-669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. Nomination forms for the 2014 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 1, 2014. Elections will take place this fall.

While FSA county committees do not approve or deny farm ownership or operating loans, they make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to 11 members that are elected by eligible producers.

FSA will mail ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 3, 2014. Ballots are due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by Dec. 1, 2014. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office on Jan. 1, 2015.

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USDA Seeks Comments to Amend Soybean Request for Referendum Procedures and Announces Dates of the Soybean Request for Referendum

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking comments on proposed amendments to procedures for soybean producers to request a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Order as authorized under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act. USDA also announces the Request for Referendum will be held May 5, 2014, through May 30, 2014, in county USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices.

The Act requires that a request for referendum be held every five years following the initial referendum. The previous request for referendum was held in 2009. Only eligible soybean producers wishing to request a referendum on the Order participate. Those producers who do not want a referendum on the Order would not participate. Participating in the request of referendum is voluntary. Eligible producers participating in the request for referendum must certify that they or the entity they are authorized to represent paid an assessment at some time during January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2013. USDA would conduct a referendum only if at least 10 percent of all eligible soybean producers, no more than one-fifth of which may be soybean producers in any one state, requested a referendum.

This action would amend the procedures to request a referendum by removing the specific number of producers eligible to request a referendum. The number of producers eligible to request a referendum would be replaced with language that allows the Secretary of Agriculture to update this number based on information provided by FSA. For the purposes of the 2014 Soybean Request for Referendum, the number of eligible soybean producers identified through FSA soybean acreage reports for crop years 2011 and 2012 is 569,998. Additionally, this rule would replace specific USDA and FSA Web site and office addresses with more flexible language.

The 70-member United Soybean Board, authorized by the Act, administers a coordinated soybean promotion and research program designed to expand uses of soybeans and soybean products in domestic and foreign markets.

The proposed amendments to procedures will be published in the March 4, 2014, Federal Register. Persons wishing to comment on the proposed rule should go to www.regulations.gov. Comments must be received by April 3, 2014. For more information, contact James Brow, Agricultural Marketing Specialist, Research and Promotion Division, Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program, AMS, USDA, STOP 0251, Room 2610-S, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-0251; tel. (202) 720-0633, e-mail James.Brow@ams.usda.gov; or fax (202) 720-1125. 

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USDA’s Farm Service Agency Officially Announces Sign-Up Date for Disaster Assistance Programs

Enrollment Begins April 15 for Livestock, Honeybee, Farm-Raised Fish Programs

 WASHINGTON, April 7, 2014 - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced today that farmers and ranchers can sign-up for disaster assistance programs, reestablished and strengthened by the 2014 Farm Bill, beginning Tuesday, April 15, 2014.   “President Obama and Secretary Vilsack made it a priority to begin enrollment for these programs,” said Garcia. “For farmers and ranchers who have been awaiting disaster assistance, help is on the way.”

The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Enrollment also begins on April 15 for producers with losses covered by the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) in 2011, when the programs expired, through 2014  “Local employees are receiving training this week in preparation for sign-up and will be ready when sign up begins,” states Calvin Parrish, State Executive Director.  “Office employees are eager to assist farmers and will be ready when sign-up begins.”

ELAP provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, such as wildfires. TAP provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters. LIP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather and attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law. LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire.

“To expedite applications, all producers who experienced losses are encouraged to bring records documenting those losses to their local FSA county office,” said Parrish.  Producers also are encouraged to contact their county office ahead of time to schedule an appointment.

For more information, producers are encouraged to review the 2014 Farm Bill Fact Sheet, check out the LIP, LFP, ELAP and TAP fact sheetsonline or visit any USDA Service Center.

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Livestock Producers Affected by Severe Weather Urged to Keep Good Records

WASHINGTON, March 6, 2014 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia, today repeated his appeal to livestock producers affected by natural disasters such as the drought in the West and the unexpected winter storm in the upper Midwest to keep thorough records.  This includes livestock and feed losses, and any additional expenses that are a result of losses to purchased forage or feed stuff.  

"The 2014 Farm Bill provides a strong farm safety net to help ranchers during these difficult times,” said Garcia. “We’ll provide producers with information on new program requirements, updates and signups as the information becomes available. In the meantime, I urge producers to keep thorough records. We know these disasters have caused serious economic hardships for our livestock producers. We’ll do all we can to assist in their recovery.”

In addition to western drought and the early-winter snowstorms, there are a variety of disasters from floods to storms to unexpected freezes.  Each event causes economic consequences for farmers and ranchers throughout the United States. FSA recommends that owners and producers record all pertinent information of natural disaster consequences, including:

  • Documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died, supplemented if possible by photographs or video records of ownership and losses;
  • Dates of death supported by birth recordings or purchase receipts;
  • Costs of transporting livestock to safer grounds or to move animals to new pastures;
  • Feed purchases if supplies or grazing pastures are destroyed;
  • Crop records, including seed and fertilizer purchases, planting and production records;
  • Pictures of on-farm storage facilities that were destroyed by wind or flood waters; and
  • Evidence of damaged farm land.

Visit www.fsa.usda.gov or an FSA county office to learn more about FSA programs and loans.  For information about USDA’s Farm Bill implementation plan, visitwww.usda.gov/farmbill.

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