The USDA is issuing approximately $8 billion in payments under the ARC and PLC programs for the 2016 crop year, and $1.6 billion under CRP for 2017.
The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and offers a safety net to agricultural producers when there is a substantial drop in revenue or prices for covered commodities. Over half a million producers will receive ARC payments and over a quarter million producers will receive PLC payments for 2016 crops, starting the first week of October. If you are enrolled in one of these programs and do not receive your payment by Oct. 28, please contact the Ashland FSA Office so we can research the issue.
Payments are being made to producers who enrolled base acres of barley, corn, grain sorghum, lentils, oats, peanuts, dry peas, soybeans, wheat and canola. In the upcoming months, payments will be announced after marketing year average prices are published by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service for the remaining covered commodities. Those include remaining oilseeds and chickpeas, which will be announced in December. The estimated payments are before application of sequestration and other reductions and limits, including adjusted gross income limits and payment limitations.
Also, as part of an ongoing effort to protect sensitive lands and improve water quality and wildlife habitat, USDA will begin issuing 2017 CRP payments in October to over 375,000 Americans.
Signed into law by President Reagan in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation program in the United States. Thanks to voluntary participation by farmers and landowners, CRP has improved water quality, reduced soil erosion and increased habitat for endangered and threatened species. In return for enrolling in CRP, USDA, through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation, provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Participants enter into contracts that last between 10 and 15 years. CRP payments are made to participants who remove sensitive lands from production and plant certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and increase wildlife habitat.
For more details regarding ARC and PLC programs, go to www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc. For more information about CRP, contact your local FSA office or visit www.fsa.usda.gov/crp.
Upcoming acreage reporting deadlines
Effective last year, USDA now requires Ohio’s perennial forage crops — all hay and pasture — to be reported to FSA by Nov. 15. All 2018 perennial forage crops must be reported by Nov. 15, or a late-file fee will be assessed. Appointments will not be automatically scheduled for our producers. If you intend to keep a hay crop from 2017 as a 2018 crop, you must call the office to schedule an appointment prior to Nov. 15 to report your acreage.
Just a reminder, that all 2018 wheat, barley, rye, speltz and any other fall seeded small grains must be reported to FSA by Dec. 15. Producers must also report crop acreage they intended to plant, but due to natural disaster, were prevented from planting. Prevented planting acreage must be reported on form FSA-576, Notice of Loss, no later than 15 calendar days after the final planting date as established by FSA and Risk Management Agency (RMA).
County committee elections
Watch your mailbox for your official county office committee election ballot starting early next month. Ballots will be mailed to all eligible voters on Nov. 6, 2017. If for some reason you don’t receive a ballot, feel free to notify the Ashland County FSA office.
Completed and signed ballots must be returned to the county office by close of business on Dec. 4, 2017. Dairy producers can enroll for 2018 coverage
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that dairy producers can enroll for 2018 coverage in the Margin Protection Program (MPP-Dairy). 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.
MPP-Dairy enrollment ends on Dec. 15, 2017, for coverage in calendar year 2018. Participating farmers will remain in the program through Dec. 31, 2018, and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee for 2018 coverage. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level from the previous coverage year during open enrollment.
Dairy operations enrolling in the program 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. If electing higher coverage for 2018, dairy producers can either pay the premium in full at the time of enrollment or pay 100 percent of the premium by Sept. 1, 2018. Premium fees may be paid directly to FSA or producers can work with their milk handlers to remit premiums on their behalf. For more information, visit FSA online at www.fsa.usda.gov/dairy or stop by a local FSA office to learn more about the MPP-Dairy. Marketing Assistance Loans The Farm Service Agency offers Marketing Assistance Loans (MALs) that provide interim financing to assist producers with cash flow options so they are able to market commodities when prices are more favorable. MAL’s are available for producers who share in the risk of producing an eligible commodity. To be eligible, a producer must maintain continual beneficial interest in the eligible commodity. Commodity loan eligibility also requires compliance with conservation and wetland protection requirements; beneficial interest requirements, acreage reporting, and ensuring that the commodity meets Commodity Credit Corporation minimum grade and quality standards.
In addition to loans on an assortment of grains, FSA also offers MALs on honey, wool and other approved agricultural commodities.
FSA will host an informational producer meeting on Nov. 8 at 3 p.m. in an attempt to educate local producers on the Marketing Assistance Loan program and how we can assist you with the management of your operation. The meeting will be held in the lower meeting room of the FSA office. Please use the rear entrance and let us know you will be attending by calling 419-496-4658. People with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate in this meeting should contact Marie Marty at 419-496-4658 or Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.
Non-insured assistance program (NAP) available for 2018 crops
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers who are interested in the 2018 Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), of the need to apply for coverage by the following crop deadlines.
Nov. 20, 2017 is the deadline for apples, asparagus, blueberries, craneberries, cherries, chestnuts, forage for hay and pasture, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries, honey, maple sap and hops.
March 15, 2018 is the deadline for 2018 NAP coverage on forage sorghum, oats, potatoes, soybeans, sunflowers and all spring planted specialty crops grown for food.
The 2014 Farm Bill provides greater coverage for losses when natural disasters affect specialty crops. 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 is especially helpful to beginning and socially disadvantaged producers, as well as farmers with limited resources, who will receive fee waivers and premium reductions for expanded coverage.
Eligible producers can apply for 2018 NAP coverage at the Ashland FSA office. The service fee for basic NAP coverage is the lesser of $250 per crop or $750 per producer per administrative county, not to exceed a total of $1,875 for a producer with farming interest in multiple counties. Producers interested in buy-up coverage must pay a premium, in addition to the service fee.
Producers meeting the definition of an underserved farmer, beginning farmer or limited resource farmer will have service fees waived. Producers meeting this definition that choose to purchase buy-up coverage will also have service fees waived and the premium will be reduced by 50 percent. To help producers learn more about the NAP program and how it can help them, USDA offers an online Web tool at www.fsa.usda.gov/nap. The webtool allows producers to determine whether their crops are eligible for coverage and gives producers an opportunity to explore a variety of options and levels to determine the best protection level for their operation.
For more information on any of these programs, please contact the Ashland County Farm Service Agency office at 419-289-6951 or to view the FSA program fact sheets, visit the FSA fact sheet web page at www.fsa.usda.gov/factsheets.
Marie E. Marty is the executive director for the USDA Farm Service Agency Ashland office. She can be reached at 419-289-6951.