MALs provide financing and marketing assistance for commodities
such as wheat, feed grains, soybeans and other oilseeds, pulse
crops, rice, wool and honey. MALs provide producers interim
financing after harvest to help them meet cash flow needs
without having to sell their commodities when market prices are
typically at harvest-time lows.
A producer who is eligible to obtain a MAL, but agrees to forgo
the loan, may obtain an LDP if such a payment is available.
To be eligible for a MAL, producers must have a beneficial
interest in the commodity, in addition to other requirements. A
producer retains beneficial interest when control of and title
to the commodity is maintained.
FSA Encourages Farmers and Ranchers to Vote
in County Committee Elections
The 2019 Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections begin on
November 4, 2019, when ballots will be mailed to eligible
voters. The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices
is December 2, 2019.
County committee members are an important component of the
operations of FSA and provide a link between the agricultural
community and USDA. Farmers and ranchers elected to county
committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level,
applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on
commodity price support programs; conservation programs;
incentive indemnity and disaster programs for some commodities;
emergency programs and eligibility. FSA committees operate
within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.
To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate
or cooperate in an FSA program. A person who is not of legal
voting age but supervises and conducts the farming operations of
an entire farm, may also be eligible to vote.
It is important that every eligible producer participate in
these elections because FSA county committees are a link between
the agricultural community and USDA.
To be eligible to vote in the elections, a person must:
Meet requirement one (see explanation below) or meet requirement
two, and requirement three (see explanation below).
Requirement One: Be of legal voting age and have an
interest in a farm or ranch as either: an individual who meets
one or more of the following; (a) is eligible to vote in one’s
own right, (b) is a partner of a general partnership, (c) is a
member of a joint venture OR an authorized representative of a
legal entity, such as: (a) a corporation, estate, trust, limited
partnership or other business enterprise, excluding general
partnership and joint ventures or (b) a state, political
subdivision of a state or any state agency (only the designated
representative may cast a vote for the entity).
Requirement Two: Not of legal voting age but supervises
and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm.
Requirement Three: Participates or cooperates in an FSA
program that is provided by law.
For more information on eligibility to serve on FSA county
USDA Opens 2020 Enrollment for Dairy Margin
Coverage Program; Ends Dec. 13, 2019
Dairy producers can now enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC)
for calendar year 2020. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) opened
signup for the program that helps producers manage economic risk
brought on by milk price and feed cost disparities.
The DMC program offers reasonably priced protection to dairy
producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the
average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar
amount selected by the producer. The deadline to enroll in DMC
for 2020 is Dec. 13, 2019.
Dairy farmers earned more than $300 million dollars from the
program in 2019 so far. Producers are encouraged to take
advantage of this very important risk management tool for 2020.
All producers who want 2020 coverage, even those who took
advantage of the 25 percent premium discount by locking in the
coverage level for five years of margin protection coverage are
required to visit the office during this signup period to pay
the annual administrative fee.
Dairy producers should definitely consider coverage for 2020 as
even the slightest drop in the margin can trigger payments.
The 2018 Farm Bill created DMC, improving on the previous safety
net for dairy producers. DMC is one of many programs that FSA
and other USDA agencies are implementing to support America’s
For more information on enrolling in DMC and taking advantage of
an online dairy decision tool that assists producers in
selecting coverage for 2020, visit the DMC webpage.
For additional questions and assistance, contact your local USDA
service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit
Farm 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
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
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
Maintaining the Quality of Farm-Stored Loan
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.
[to top of second column]
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.
Update Your Records
FSA is cleaning up our producer record database. If you have any
unreported changes of address, zip code, phone number, email address
or an incorrect name or business name on file they need to be
reported to our office. Changes in your farm operation, like the
addition of a farm by lease or purchase, need to be reported to our
office as well. Producers participating in FSA and NRCS programs are
required to timely report changes in their farming operation to the
County Committee in writing and update their CCC-902 Farm Operating
If you have any updates or corrections, please call your local FSA
office to update your records.
Filing CCC-941 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
Many producers have experienced delays in receiving Agriculture Risk
Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments, Loan
Deficiency Payments (LDPs) and Market Gains on Marketing Assistance
Loans (MALs) because they have not filed form CCC-941, Adjusted
Gross Income Certification. No program payment can be issued to an
eligible producer, including landowners who share in the crop,
without a valid CCC-941 on file in the county office.
Producers without a valid CCC-941 on file for the applicable crop
year will not receive payments. All farm operator/tenants/owners who
have not filed a CCC-941 and have pending payments should
IMMEDIATELY file the form with their recording county FSA office.
Farm operators and tenants are encouraged to ensure that their
landowners have filed the form.
FSA can accept the CCC-941 for 2017, 2018, and 2019. Unlike the
past, producers must have the CCC-941 certifying their AGI
compliance before any payments can be issued.
FSA offers direct farm ownership and direct farm operating loans to
producers who want to establish, maintain or strengthen their farm
or ranch. FSA loan officers process, approve and service direct
Direct farm operating loans can be used to purchase livestock and
feed, farm equipment, fuel, farm chemicals, insurance and other
costs including family living expenses. Operating loans can also be
used to finance minor improvements or repairs to buildings and to
refinance some farm-related debts, excluding real estate.
Direct farm ownership loans can be used to purchase farmland,
enlarge an existing farm, construct and repair buildings, and to
make farm improvements.
The maximum loan amount for direct farm ownership loans is $600,000
and the maximum loan amount for direct operating loans is $400,000
and a down payment is not required. Repayment terms vary depending
on the type of loan, collateral and the producer's ability to repay
the loan. Operating loans are normally repaid within seven years and
farm ownership loans are not to exceed 40 years.
Please contact your local FSA office for more information or to
apply for a direct farm ownership or operating loan.
Maintaining Good Credit History
Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Loan programs
require that applicants have a satisfactory credit history. A credit
report is requested for all FSA direct farm loan applicants. These
reports are reviewed to verify outstanding debts, if bills are paid
timely and to determine the impact on cash flow.
Information found on a customer’s credit report is strictly
confidential and is used only as an aid in conducting FSA business.
Our farm loan staff will discuss options with you if you have an
unfavorable credit report and will provide a copy of your report. If
you dispute the accuracy of the information on the credit report, it
is up to you to contact the issuing credit report company to resolve
any errors or inaccuracies.
There are multiple ways to remedy an unfavorable credit score.
Make sure to pay bills on time. Setting up automatic payments or
automated reminders can be an effective way to remember payment due
Pay down existing debt.
Keep your credit card balances low.
Avoid suddenly opening or closing existing credit
FSA’s farm loan staff will guide you through the
process, which may require you to reapply for a loan after improving
or correcting your credit report.
For more information on FSA farm loan programs, visit
October Interest Rates and Important Dates
Illinois Farm Service Agency
3500 Wabash Ave.
Springfield, IL 62711
Phone: 217-241-6600 ext.2
State Executive Director:
William J. Graff
George Obernagel III-Member
To find contact information for your local office go to