Statewide Iowa — As farmers wait for their fields and crops to dry, perhaps some paperwork is in order. The Farm Service Agency has some reminders for farmers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) says that dairy producers can enroll now for 2018 coverage in the Margin Protection Program (MPP-Dairy). They tell us that Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue has utilized additional flexibility this year by providing dairy producers the option of opting out of the program for 2018.
To opt out, a producer should not sign up during the annual registration period. By opting out, a producer would not receive any MPP-Dairy benefits if payments are triggered for 2018. Full details will be included in a subsequent Federal Register Notice. The decision would be for 2018 only and is not retroactive. Dairy operations enrolling in MPP-Dairy must meet conservation compliance provisions and cannot participate in the Livestock Gross Margin Dairy Insurance Program.
Producers can mail the appropriate form to the producer’s administrative county FSA office, along with applicable fees, without necessitating a trip to the local FSA office. Enrollment ends on December 15, 2017, for coverage in calendar year 2018.
USDA does have a web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under MPP-Dairy that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool.
The FSA is also telling people about their Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program, which provides low-interest financing to producers to build or upgrade storage facilities and to purchase portable (new or used) structures, equipment and storage and handling trucks.
The low-interest funds can be used to build or upgrade permanent facilities to store commodities. Qualified facilities include grain bins, hay barns and cold storage facilities for eligible commodities.
Producers do not need to demonstrate the lack of commercial credit availability to apply. The loans are designed to assist a diverse range of farming operations, including small and mid-sized businesses, new farmers, operations supplying local food and farmers markets, non-traditional farm products, and underserved producers.
To learn more about the FSA Farm Storage Facility Loan, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/pricesupport, or call your county FSA office.
Also, the FSA is cleaning up their producer record database. They ask that if you have any unreported changes of address or zip code or an incorrect name or business name on file they need to be reported to your FSA office. Changes in your farm operation, like the addition of a farm by lease or purchase, need to be reported as well. Producers participating in FSA and NRCS programs are required to report in a timely manner, any changes to their farming operation. Call your local FSA office if you need to update your records.