Harvest season is a memorable time filled with hard work and
family tradition, however, it can also be a dangerous time if
you don’t take the proper precautionary measures.
Stay rested and don’t sacrifice your well-being for the sake of
Take breaks, it’s important to reset and refocus from time to
Work during daylight hours. The more hours you put in after
dark, the greater your risk of injury. Do the bulk of your work
while the sun is still up.
Create a plan as simple as a safety check-in process for your
family and/or team. Share how long you plan to work and set
ongoing check-in times, so someone knows whether or not you’re
Please keep these tips in mind to stay safe, healthy and happy
on the farm and in the field.
And last but certainly not least, thank you to all producers for
your daily hard work and dedication to the Illinois farming
Dairy Margin Coverage Signup Ends September 27
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA)
reminds dairy producers that the deadline to enroll in the Dairy
Margin Coverage (DMC) program for 2019 is Sept. 27, 2019.
New Farmers.gov Feature Helps Producers Find Farm Loans that
Fit Their Operation
A new online tool can help farmers and ranchers find information
on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) farm loans that may
best fit their operations. USDA has launched the new Farm Loan
Discovery Tool as the newest feature on farmers.gov, the
Department’s self-service website for farmers.
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers a variety of loan
options to help farmers finance their operations. From buying
land to financing the purchase of equipment, FSA loans can help.
Compared to this time last year, FSA has seen an 18 percent
increase in the amount it has obligated for direct farm
ownership loans, and through the 2018 Farm Bill, has increased
the limits for several loan products.
USDA conducted field research in eight states, gathering input
from farmers and FSA farm loan staff to better understand their
needs and challenges.
How the Tool Works
Farmers who are looking for financing options to operate a farm
or buy land can answer a few simple questions about what they
are looking to fund and how much money they need to borrow.
After submitting their answers, farmers will be provided
information on farm loans that best fit their specific needs.
The loan application and additional resources also will be
Farmers can download application quick guides that outline what
to expect from preparing an application to receiving a loan
decision. There are four guides that cover loans to individuals,
entities, and youth, as well as information on microloans. The
guides include general eligibility requirements and a list of
required forms and documentation for each type of loan. These
guides can help farmers prepare before their first USDA service
center visit with a loan officer.
Farmers can access the Farm Loan Discovery Tool by visiting
farmers.gov/fund and clicking the “Start” button. Follow the
prompts and answer five simple questions to receive loan
information that is applicable to your agricultural operation.
The tool is built to run on any modern browser like Chrome,
Edge, Firefox, or the Safari browser, and is fully functional on
mobile devices. It does not work in Internet Explorer.
In 2018, USDA unveiled farmers.gov, a dynamic, mobile-friendly
public website combined with an authenticated portal where
farmers will be able to apply for programs, process
transactions, and manage accounts.
The Farm Loan Discovery Tool is one of many resources on
farmers.gov to help connect farmers to information that can help
their operations. Earlier this year, USDA launched the My
Financial Information feature, which enables farmers to view
their loan information, history, payments, and alerts by logging
into the website.
USDA is building farmers.gov for farmers, by farmers. In
addition to the interactive farm loan features, the site also
offers a Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool. Farmers can visit
farmers.gov/recover/disaster-assistance-tool#step-1 to find
disaster assistance programs that can help their operation
recover from natural disasters.
With feedback from customers and field employees who serve those
customers, farmers.gov delivers farmer-focused features through
an agile, iterative process to deliver the greatest immediate
value to America’s agricultural producers – helping farmers and
ranchers do right, and feed everyone.
For more information or to locate your USDA Service Center,
CRP Participants Must Maintain Approved Cover on Acreages
Enrolled in CRP and Farm Programs
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) participants are responsible
for ensuring adequate, approved vegetative and practice cover is
maintained to control erosion throughout the life of the
contract after the practice has been established. Participants
must also control undesirable vegetation, weeds (including
noxious weeds), insects and rodents that may pose a threat to
existing cover or adversely impact other landowners in the area.
All CRP maintenance activities, such as mowing, burning, disking
and spraying, must be conducted outside the primary nesting or
brood rearing season for wildlife, which for Illinois is April
15 through August 1. However, spot treatment of the acreage may
be allowed during the primary nesting or brood rearing season
if, left untreated, the weeds, insects or undesirable species
would adversely impact the approved cover. In this instance,
spot treatment is limited to the affected areas in the field and
requires County Committee approval prior to beginning the spot
treatment. The County Committee will consult with NRCS to
determine if such activities are needed to maintain the approved
Annual mowing of CRP for generic weed control, or for cosmetic
purposes, is prohibited at all times.
CRP Payment Limitation
Payments and benefits received under the Conservation Reserve
Program (CRP) are subject to the following:
payment limitation by direct attribution
foreign person rule
average adjusted gross income (AGI) limitation
The 2014 Farm Bill continued the $50,000 maximum CRP payment
amount that can be received annually, directly or
indirectly, by each person or legal entity. This payment
limitation includes all annual rental payments and incentive
payments (Sign-up Incentive Payments and Practice Incentive
Payments). Annual rental payments are attributed (earned) in
the fiscal year in which program performance occurs. Sign-up
Incentive Payments (SIP) are attributed (earned) based on
the fiscal year in which the contract is approved, not the
fiscal year the contract is effective. Practice Incentive
Payments (PIP) are attributed (earned) based on the fiscal
year in which the cost-share documentation is completed, and
the producer or technical service provider certifies
performance of practice completion to the county office.
Such limitation on payments is controlled by direct
Program payments made directly or indirectly to a person are
combined with the pro rata interest held in any legal entity
that received payment, unless the payments to the legal
entity have been reduced by the pro rata share of the
Program payments made directly to a legal entity are
attributed to those persons that have a direct and indirect
interest in the legal entity, unless the payments to the
legal entity have been reduced by the pro rata share of the
Payment attribution to a legal entity is tracked through
four levels of ownership. If any part of the ownership
interest at the fourth level is owned by another legal
entity, a reduction in payment will be applied to the
payment entity in the amount that represents the indirect
interest of the fourth level entity in the payment entity.
Essentially, all payments will be “attributed” to a person’s
Social Security Number. Given the current CRP annual rental
rates in many areas, it is important producers are aware of
how CRP offered acreages impact their $50,000 annual payment
limitation. Producers should contact their local FSA office
for additional information.
NOTE: The information in the above article only applies to
contracts subject to 4-PL and 5-PL regulations. It does not
apply to contacts subject to 1-PL regulations.
Disaster Set-Aside (DSA) Program
FSA borrowers with farms located in designated primary or
contiguous disaster areas who are unable to make their scheduled
FSA loan payments should consider the Disaster Set-Aside (DSA)
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DSA is available to producers who suffered losses as a result of a
natural disaster and is intended to relieve immediate and temporary
financial stress. FSA is authorized to consider setting aside the
portion of a payment/s needed for the operation to continue on a
Borrowers must have at least two years left on the term of their
loan in order to qualify.
Borrowers have eight months from the date of the disaster
designation to submit a complete application. The application must
include a written request for DSA signed by all parties liable for
the debt along with production records and financial history for the
operating year in which the disaster occurred. FSA may request
additional information from the borrower in order to determine
All farm loans must be current or less than 90 days past due at the
time the DSA application is complete. Borrowers may not set aside
more than one installment on each loan.
The amount set-aside, including interest accrued on the principal
portion of the set-aside, is due on or before the final due date of
For more information, contact your local FSA farm loan office.
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)
Producers with HEL determined soils are required to apply tillage,
crop residue and rotational requirements as specified in their
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.
Storage Facility Loans
FSA’s Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program 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. Eligible commodities include corn,
grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, oats, peanuts, wheat, barley, minor
oilseeds harvested as whole grain, pulse crops (lentils, chickpeas
and dry peas), hay, honey, renewable biomass, fruits, nuts and
vegetables for cold storage facilities, floriculture, hops, maple
sap, rye, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, meat and poultry
(unprocessed), eggs, and aquaculture (excluding systems that
maintain live animals through uptake and discharge of water).
Qualified facilities include grain bins, hay barns and cold storage
facilities for eligible commodities.
Loans up to $50,000 can be secured by a promissory note/security
agreement and loans between $50,000 and $100,000 may require
additional security. Loans exceeding $100,000 require additional
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 contact your local FSA county
office. To find your local FSA county office, visit
Storage and Handling Trucks Eligible for Farm Storage Facility Loans
Farm Storage Facility Loans (FSFL) provide low-interest financing so
producers can build or upgrade facilities to store commodities. Some
storage and handling trucks are eligible for the FSFL. These
Cold Storage Trucks-A van or truck designed to carry
perishable freight at specific temperatures. Cold storage trucks can
be ice-cooled or equipped with any variety of mechanical
Flatbed Trucks-Truck with an open body in the form of a
platform with no side walls for easy loading and unloading. These
trucks can be categorized into different sizes which range from
light, medium, or heavy duty, compact or full-size, or short and
Grain Trucks-A piece of farm equipment specially made to
accommodate grain products and are traditionally truck chassis units
with a mounted grain “dump” body where grain commodities are
transported from a field to either a grain elevator or a storage
Storage Trucks with a Chassis Unit-Commonly referred to as a box
truck, box van or straight truck, is a truck with a cargo body
mounted on the same chassis with the engine and cab.
To be eligible for FSFL, the storage and handling truck must be less
than 15 years old and have a maximum of four axles with a gross
weight rating of 60,000 pounds or less. Pick-up trucks, semi-trucks,
dump trucks, and simple insulated and ventilated vans are ineligible
FSFL for storage and handling trucks must be $100,000 or less. FSFL-financed
storage and handling trucks must be used for the purpose for which
they were acquired for the entire FSFL term.
Eligible commodities include grains, oilseeds, pulse crops, hay,
honey, renewable biomass commodities, fruits and vegetables,
floriculture, hops, maple sap, milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, eggs,
meat/poultry (unprocessed), rye and aquaculture.
For more information or to apply for a FSFL, contact your local FSA
Maintaining the Quality of Farm-Stored Loan Grain
Bins are ideally designed to hold a level volume of grain. When bins
are overfilled and grain is heaped up, airflow is hindered, and the
chance of spoilage increases.
Producers who take out marketing assistance loans and use the
farm-stored grain as collateral should remember that they are
responsible for maintaining the quality of the grain through the
term of the loan.
Unauthorized Disposition of Grain
If loan grain has been disposed of through feeding, selling or any
other form of disposal without prior written authorization from the
county office staff, it is considered unauthorized disposition. The
financial penalties for unauthorized dispositions are severe and a
producer’s name will be placed on a loan violation list for a
two-year period. Always call before you haul any grain under loan.
September Interest Rates and Important Dates
Illinois Farm Service Agency
3500 Wabash Ave.
Springfield, IL 62711
State Executive Director:
William J. Graff
James Reed - Chairperson
George Obernagel III-Member
To find contact information for your local office go to
is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a
complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant
Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400
Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866)
632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or
Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).