FSA Encourages Farmers and Ranchers to Vote in County
The 2018 Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections began on
Nov. 5, when ballots were mailed to eligible voters. The
deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices is Dec. 3,
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.
Eligibility for Elections for the 2018 County Committee
Elections for USDA’s Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) County
Committees are underway.
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.
County committee election ballots were mailed to eligible voters
on Nov. 5, 2018. The last day to return completed ballots to the
USDA service center is Dec. 3, 2018.
For more information on eligibility to serve on FSA county
committees, visit: www.fsa.usda.gov/elections.
USDA to Provide Agricultural Credit Training, Expand
Opportunities for Farmer Veterans and Beginning Farmers
USDA is partnering with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) to
conduct agricultural credit training sessions in the Midwest for
military veterans and beginning farmers and ranchers. States
under consideration to host the workshops include Iowa,
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska.
These workshops will provide individuals interested in farming
as a career, including military veterans, with methods to
improve business planning and financial skills, and improve
understanding of the risk management tools that can help small
Other partners include Niman Ranch a community network of more
than 700 independent family farmers and ranchers, and the Farm
Credit Council and the Farm Credit System, which provides loans,
leases and financial services to farmers, ranchers and rural
businesses across the United States. The workshops will also
include assistance with credit applications and introductions to
local or regional food markets.
To learn more about veterans in agriculture, visit www.usda.gov/veterans.
Visit www.fsa.usda.gov/farmloans or your local Farm Service
Agency (FSA) office to learn more about FSA's farm loan
programs. To find your local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.
More information also is available from the Farmer Veteran
Coalition at www.farmvetco.org.
USDA Market Facilitation Program
USDA launched the trade mitigation package aimed at assisting
farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade
retaliation by foreign nations. Producers of certain commodities
can now sign up for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP).
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is currently administering MFP
providing payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum,
soybean, wheat, shelled almond, and fresh sweet cherry
producers. An announcement about further payments will be made
in the coming months, if warranted.
The sign-up period for MFP runs through Jan. 15, 2019, with
information and instructions provided at www.farmers.gov/mfp.
Producers must apply for MFP, signing and submitting CCC-910 by
COB, Jan. 15, 2019. Eligible producers should apply after
harvest is complete, as MFP payments will only be issued once
production is reported and production must be reported by May
A payment will be issued on 50 percent of the producer’s total
production, multiplied by the MFP rate for a specific commodity.
A second payment period, if warranted, will be determined by the
FSA is currently approving and issuing MFP payments, in most
cases within a few days of a producer submitting production
evidence. Producers should submit production evidence in the
year they desire to receive the MFP payments, but by May 1,
MFP is designed to be a simple program – ONE application
containing ALL the 2018 production from ALL farms, ALL counties
and ALL states. Be sure to report all eligible bushels on one
application. Production not included on the MFP application
cannot be added later.
For a list of initial MFP payment rates, view the MFP Fact
MFP payments are capped per person or legal entity as follows:
A combined $125,000 for eligible crop commodities
A combined $125,000 for dairy production and hogs
A combined $125,000 for fresh sweet cherries and almonds
Applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income for
tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Applicants
must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land
and Wetland Conservation regulations.
Expanded Hog Timeline
USDA has expanded the timeline for producers with whom the Aug.
1, 2018, date does not accurately represent the number of head
of live hogs they own. Producers may now choose any date between
July 15 to Aug. 15, 2018 that correctly reflects their actual
MFP applications are available online at www.farmers.gov/mfp.
Applications can be completed at a local FSA office or submitted
electronically either by scanning, emailing, or faxing. To
locate or contact your local FSA office, visit
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) provisions.
Producers with HEL determined soils are required to apply
tillage, crop residue and rotational requirements as specified
in their conservation plan.
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
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.
Changing Bank Accounts
FSA program payments are issued electronically into your bank
account. In order to make timely payments, you need to notify
your FSA servicing office if you close your account or if your
bank information is changed for whatever reason (such as your
financial institution merging or being purchased). Payments can
be delayed if FSA is not notified of changes to account and bank
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For some programs, payments are not made until the following
year. For example, payments for crop year 2017 through the
Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage program aren’t
paid until 2018. If the bank account was closed due to the death
of an individual or dissolution of an entity or partnership
before the payment was issued, please notify your local FSA
office as soon as possible to claim your payment.
USDA and SCORE Joining Forces to Find Mentors
If you are a farmer or rancher, or have agricultural or business
experience, join us in supporting the next generation and in
investing in your local community! Your experiences and
knowledge as a business owner, agricultural professional, or
farmer can provide vital support to the community you live in.
USDA is collaborating with SCORE – www.score.org - the nation's
largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors in an
effort to expand the field of available agricultural mentors and
provide free business mentoring to farmers, ranchers, and other
agricultural and rural business owners. SCORE is currently
looking for volunteers with experience in an agriculture-related
field who would like to become a part of an extended field of
volunteers. The organization’s Orientation and Mentoring
Certification program provides volunteers with everything needed
to be a successful volunteer. Training includes background about
SCORE’s mission and services, as well as guidance on how to be a
business mentor, including enhancement of listening,
interviewing and problem-solving skills.
Current SCORE volunteer mentors have backgrounds in finance,
accounting, marketing, operations, business and financial
planning. The mentors provide local expertise and free
one-on-one business mentoring to new and existing farmers and
business owners. Together they work through the process of
starting up or maintaining agricultural and rural businesses. No
matter what stage a business is in, SCORE volunteer mentors can
help in developing business plans, navigating financing and
legal issues, identifying new markets, and other topics, in
order to help their clients succeed. FSA invites you to learn
more and sign up to become a mentor today at https://newfarmers.usda.gov/mentorship.
Perennial Forage Acreage Reporting Date (ARD) for 2019 and
Beginning with the 2019 crop year, the ARD has been established
as July 15 for perennial forages for Illinois (July 15, 2019 for
the 2019 crop year). For 2018 and prior crop years, the ARD was
the previous December 15 (December 15, 2017 for the 2018 crop
Exception: For the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program
(NAP), the ARD for perennial forage is the earlier of:
15 calendar days before the onset of harvest or grazing of the
specific perennial crop being reported
the established normal harvest date for the end of the coverage
Marketing Assistance Available for 2018 Crops
The 2014 Farm Bill authorized 2014-2018 crop year Marketing
Assistance Loans (MALs) and Loan Deficiency Payments (LDPs).
MALs provide financing and marketing assistance for 2018 wheat,
as well as other commodities such as 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 an MAL, but agrees to forgo
the loan, may obtain an LDP if such a payment is available.
To be eligible for an MAL or an LDP, 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. For an LDP,
the producer must retain beneficial interest in the commodity
from the time of planting through the date the producer filed
Form CCC-633EZ (page 1) in the FSA County Office. For more
information, producers should contact their local FSA county
office or view the LDP Fact Sheet.
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 $100,000 are secured by a promissory note/security
agreement. Loans exceeding $100,000 require additional security.
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
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 Plan.
If you have any updates or corrections, please call your local
FSA county office to update your records.
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.
November Interest Rates and
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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