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Resources available for new, beginning farmers

• Oct 28, 2017 at 10:00 AM

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a website to connect farm entrepreneurs with programs, services and resources for anyone interested in getting started into farming at www.usda.gov/newfarmers.

The site features advice and guidance on everything a new farm business owner needs to know, from writing a business plan, to obtaining a loan to grow their business, to filing taxes as a new small business owner, starting or expanding an operation, developing new markets, supporting more effective farming and conservation practices, and having access to relevant training and education opportunities.

By answering a series of questions about their operation, farmers can use the site’s Discovery Tool to build a personalized set of recommendations of USDA programs and services that may meet their needs.

In other news...


Diana Strouse retires

After 29 years of service with FSA, Diana Strouse has decided to retire. Her last day in the office was Sept. 29.

We wish her well as Diana begins this new chapter in her life.

Amy Hanko will serve as the acting CED until a new CED has been selected for the Huron/Erie County office.

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MAL and LDP policy: The Agricultural Act of 2014 authorized 2014-2018 crop year Marketing Assistance Loans (MALs) and Loan Deficiency Payments (LDPs), with a few minor policy changes. Among the changes, farm-stored MAL collateral transferred to warehouse storage will retain the original loan rate, be allowed to transfer only the outstanding farm-stored quantity with no additional quantity allowed and will no longer require producers to have a paid for measurement service when moving or commingling loan collateral. MALs and LDPs provide financing and marketing assistance for wheat, feed grains, soybeans, and other oilseeds, pulse crops, 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 loan, but agrees to forgo the loan, may obtain an LDP if such a payment is available. FSA is now accepting requests for 2017 MALs and LDPs for all eligible commodities after harvest. Before MAL repayments and LDP disbursements can be made, producers must meet the requirements of actively engaged in farming, cash rent tenant and member contribution. For more information and additional eligibility requirements, please visit the FSA County office.

New Actively Engaged Provisions for Non-Family Joint Operations or Entities Many Farm Service Agency programs require all program participants, either individuals or legal entities, to be “actively engaged in farming.” This means participants provide a significant contribution to the farming operation, whether it is capital, land, equipment, active personal labor and/or management. For entities, each partner, stockholder or member with an ownership interest, must contribute active personal labor and/or management to the operation on a regular basis. The 2014 Farm Bill established additional payment eligibility provisions relating to the farm management component of meeting “actively engaged in farming.”

These new provisions apply to joint operations comprised of non-family members or partners, stockholders or persons with an ownership in the farming operation. Effective for 2016 and subsequent crop years, non-family joint operations are afforded to one member that may use a significant contribution of active personal management exclusively to meet the requirements to be determined “actively engaged in farming.” The person or member will be defined as the Farm Manager for the purposes of administering these new management provisions. In some instances, additional persons or members of a non-family member joint operation who meet the definition of Farm Manager may also be allowed to use such a contribution of active personal management to meet the eligibility requirements. However, under no circumstances may the number of Farm Managers in a non-family joint operation exceed a total of three in any given crop and program year.

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Dates to remember:

Nov. 15 — The final acreage reporting deadline for hay, forage, pasture and grasses.

Dec. 15 —  The final acreage reporting deadline for wheat and all other small grains.

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