If you fail to certify per regulations, and benefits should become available under the 2017 program, you would be ineligible to receive them. You can still certify even though the July 15 deadline to do so has passed! You will be charged a late filing fee of $46 per farm. However, once certified you would again be eligible for program benefits. If you still need to certify give us a call to schedule your appointment today.
Here are some other notes…
Organic certification cost share program: The Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) provides cost share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products who are obtaining or renewing their certification under the National Organic Program (NOP). Certified operations may receive up to 75 percent of their certification costs paid from Oct. 1, through Sept. 30, not to exceed $750 per certification scope. Eligible costs include application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement/arrangement requirements, travel/per diem for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments and postage. Ineligible costs include equipment, materials, supplies, transitional certification fees, late fees and inspections necessary to address National Organic Program regulatory violations.
Producers and handlers may submit OCCSP applications to FSA county offices or they may apply through the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) at http://www.oeffa.org/. The FSA OCCSP application form is available at USDA’s eForms site, by selecting Browse forms and entering OCCSP in the title or keywords field on the search page. To learn more about organic certification cost share, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/organic or contact your FSA County office.
* * *
Mid-contract CRP cover management: The Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) along with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS), Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and Pheasants Forever (PF) developed a State Mid-Contract Management (MCM) team. The State MCM team completes site evaluations of CRP grass practices and determines the appropriate Mid-Contract Management activity options based on the existing cover.
So how will this MCM team evaluation have an effect on CRP participants? Well, all CRP participants with contracts effective beginning with sign-up 26 are required to perform management activities as part of their approved conservation plan. All CRP participants with contracts before sign-up 26 may perform management activities, voluntarily. If participants voluntarily request to revise the conservation plan, the management activities will be the same terms and conditions established for the required management activities. MCM activities in Ohio are designed to ensure plant diversity and wildlife benefits, while ensuring protection of the soil and water resources. Management activities are designed to be site specific and used to enhance the wildlife benefits for the site.
Cost-sharing up to 50 percent of a flat rate, is available for most management practices including light disking and interseeding. Management activities should not be performed during the primary nesting period or brood rearing season, which in Ohio is March 1 through July 15. Failure to perform planned management activities can result in contract violation. The Huron/Erie County FSA office will be contacting you later this summer if your CRP contract is due for MCM this year. Practice cover evaluations of these practices by the MCM team will be conducted this summer. Contact your local County FSA office for details concerning your CRP mid-contract management activities.
FSA offers improved program to limit losses on forages: Reduced forage quality is now considered a production loss for weather disaster assistance coverage under the new buy-up provisions of the FSA Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). This safety net is important for cattlemen who produce non-insurable forages for feeding livestock. Previously, FSA only considered a decrease in overall forage tonnage produced when determining if the producer suffered a compensable loss after a qualifying weather event.
Under FSA’s new NAP buy-up provisions, a decrease in forage quality – such as protein content – is also considered. To receive coverage for the 2018 crop year, producers must enroll their eligible forage in NAP by Nov. 20. Beginning, limited resource and targeted underserved farmers or producers are eligible for a waiver of the NAP service fee and a 50 percent premium reduction in buy-up provisions. For more information on NAP, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/nap.
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.