The enrollment period will continue until Aug. 1, 2017, but you can enroll your farms immediately.
Since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to- year, producers on the farm must enroll by signing a contract each program year. If a farm is not enrolled during the 2017 enrollment period, the producers on that farm will not be eligible for financial assistance from the ARC or PLC programs for the 2017 crop should crop prices or farm revenues fall below the historical price or revenue benchmarks established by the program.
Producers who made their elections in 2015 must still enroll during the 2017 enrollment period. The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and offer a safety net to agricultural producers when there is a substantial drop in prices or revenues for covered commodities.
Give your local FSA office a call to schedule your appointment to sign in. Currently, we have any day and any time that is convenient for you. Your contracts are ready and waiting for you.
Here are some agri-business notes from the Huron and Erie County Farm Service Agency:
Double dropping — what you should know: Each year, state committees will review and approve or disapprove county committee recommended changes or additions to specific combinations of crops. Double-cropping is approved when the two specific crops have the capability to be planted and carried to maturity for the intended use, as reported by the producer, on the same acreage within a crop year under normal growing conditions. The specific combination of crops recommended by the county committee must be approved by the state committee. A crop following a cover crop terminated according to termination guidelines is approved double cropping and these combinations do not have to be approved by the state committee. Soybeans following wheat is an approved double crop combination for both Huron and Erie County.
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Low-interest farm loans can help producers start or expand farms: The Huron/Erie County Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds anyone interested that there is funding available for eligible farmers for low interest loans through FSA’s direct farm ownership program. Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay. New and beginning farmers, military veterans, and underserved farmers also are encouraged to apply. Each year Congress targets 80 percent of available loan funds to beginning and targeted underserved farmers and producers. Targeted underserved groups include American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians, Blacks or African Americans, Native Hawaiians, or other Pacific Islanders, Hispanics and women. To find out more about the FSA direct farm loan program or other loans available, contact your county FSA office to setup an appointment with a Loan Approval Official.
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Guaranteed loan program: FSA guaranteed loans allow lenders to provide agricultural credit to farmers who do not meet the lender’s normal underwriting criteria. Farmers and producers apply for a guaranteed loan through a lender, and the lender arranges for the guarantee. FSA can guarantee up to 95 percent of the loss of principal and interest on a loan. Guaranteed loans can be used for both farm ownership and operating purposes. Guaranteed farm ownership loans can be used to purchase farmland, construct or repair buildings, develop farmland to promote soil and water conservation or to refinance debt. Guaranteed operating loans can be used to purchase livestock, farm equipment, feed, seed, fuel, farm chemicals, insurance and other operating expenses. FSA can guarantee farm ownership and operating loans up to $1,399,000. 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 lender or local FSA farm loan office for more information on guaranteed loans.
Diana Strouse is the county executive director for the Huron and Erie County Farm Service Agency. For more information, call the agency at 419-668-4113.