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Mason-Llano FSA Highlights - May 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 • Posted May 6, 2009

DATES TO REMEMBER

May 1st, Final date to file acreage report for small grains

May 14th , Producers Meeting

May 25th, Office Closed for Memorial Day

June 4th, Llano Beef Range Day

July 3rd. Office Closed for Independence Day

July 15th. Final Certification Date

FARM PROGRAM MEETING

Texas AgriLife Extension and FSA are partnering to hold regional meetings to explain new programs added by the 2008 Farm Bill. Programs to be presented are the ACRE Program, Payment Eligibility, Adjusted Gross Income provisions, SURE Disaster Program (for yield based crops), Livestock Indemnity Program (for animal death losses), Livestock Forage Program (livestock feed program), NAP, and the annual DCP farm program. The NAP portion of the meeting will also include some discussion on the Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage Pilot Insurance Program (PRF) or (Rainfall Insurance).The meeting is currently scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM and continue to noon with early registration to begin at 8:30 AM at the following location:Thursday, May 14, 2009Richard Eckert Civic Center1024 McKinley AvenueMason, Texas

Non Insured Assistance Program—NAP

Established grazing losses have been approved for Mason and Llano counties. The county office has notified producers by letter to complete their Application for Payment and payments have begun to be issued to those producers. Payments can not be processed until the producer has completed the Application for Payment and all other eligibility requirements have been completed. Producers are reminded NAP benefits are not eligible to be paid if the producer elected to participate in the Pasture, Rainfall and Forage Pilot Insurance Program, also known as Rainfall Insurance, and received any payment or compensation for any interval covering any period in the 2008 year. Production records for individual yield based crops need to be filed with our office to establish an approved NAP yield.  Yield based crops include but are not limited to crops that are machine or hand harvested, such as hay, grass seed, grapes and watermelons. If this is the first year you participated in NAP, you can provide production and acreage information from prior years to establish your yield.  If you participated in NAP in previous years, you must report your production and acreage on a yearly basis to keep your yield up-to-date.  Records submitted must be reliable or verifiable.  Records need to show crop disposition.  We recommend producers submit 2009 production records as soon as harvest is complete.  All production records must be submitted by the subsequent crop year’s final acreage reporting date.

The CCC-576, Notice of Loss, is used to report yield losses, failed acreage and prevented planting and may be completed by any producer with an interest in the crop. Timely filing a Notice of Loss is required on ALL CROPS INCLUDING GRASSES. For losses on crops covered by the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) and crop insurance, you must file a CCC-576 (notice of loss) in the FSA County Office within 15 calendar days of the occurrence of the disaster or when losses become apparent. If filing for prevented planting, an acreage report and CCC-576 must be filed within 15 calendar days of the final planting date for the crop.

ACRE/DCP Sign-up Deadline Extended

USDA has extended the sign-up deadline from June 1, to Aug. 14, 2009, for both the Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) and the forthcoming Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program. This action extends the sign-up deadline by 10 weeks to give producers ample time to decide whether to participate in ACRE or remain in DCP.

Sign-up for ACRE has begun and since the original June 1 deadline may have forced producers to rush their decision, this extension gives producers more time to make an informed decision about staying with DCP for 2009 or participating in ACRE for crop year 2009 and beyond through 2012. Producers can elect ACRE at their FSA county office after the sign-up period commences.

The Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) is a new program authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill that begins in crop year 2009. Through ACRE, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers producers an alternative to Direct and Counter-cyclical (DCP) payments. The ACRE alternative provides eligible producers a state-level revenue guarantee, based on the 5-year state Olympic average yield and the 2-year national average price. ACRE payments are made when both state-level and farm-level triggers are met. By participating in ACRE, producers elect to forgo counter-cyclical payments. Producers also elect to receive a 20-percent reduction in direct payments and a 30-percent reduction in loan rates. ACRE sign-up dates will be announced soon so a producer can choose to participate in ACRE, or stay with DCP. A decision to elect ACRE binds the producer to the program through the 2012 crop year, the last crop year covered by the 2008 Farm Bill. For more details contact your local FSA office.

LIVESTOCK FORAGE PROGRAM

The Livestock Forage Program (LFP) is the new Livestock Feed Program which replaced the previous ad hoc livestock feed programs offered in years past. This is a new permanent disaster program, authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. We are still awaiting completion of regulations and county approval designation before we can offer the program to producers. Not a lot of details are known at this time, but some specifics of the program have been released, which include:

Producer Eligibility includes BOTH:

· that the producer must be enrolled in NAP for the disaster year (2008), or have PRF, Rainfall Insurance for the disaster year, or have purchased buy-in coverage that was offered to producers last fall.

· Producers must have an acreage report on file with the FSA County Office for the disaster year to be eligible for any offered 2008 Livestock Forage Programs. Rainfall Insurance acreage reports made to the insurance company will not satisfy this requirement. If you had rainfall insurance for the 2008 year and have not reported your 2008 acreage to the FSA county office, you should contact the office immediately and schedule an appointment to report the acreage if you want to be eligible for a possible 2008 Livestock Forage Program.

This eligibility for this program will be on a county basis depending on the disaster year drought conditions. Upon county approval for the LFProgram, eligible producers will be notified and advise of signup dates and procedures.

Banking Changes?

If you have changed banks and not notified FSA, your payment could be delayed. Payments are electronically transferred into your bank account, if we are not aware of changes to your account and routing numbers, there could be problems. In order to make timely payments, you need to notify the office if you close your account or if another financial institution purchases your bank. It is important that any changes in producer’s account such as type account, bank mergers, routing number or account numbers, be provided to the county office promptly to avoid possible payment delay.

Farm Reconstitutions

In program terminology, farms are constituted to group all tracts having the same owner and the same operator under one farm serial number. When changes in ownership or operation take place, a farm reconstitution is necessary. The reconstitution — or recon — is the process of combining or dividing farms or tracts of land based on the farming operation.

The following are the different methods used when doing a farm division.

· Estate Method — the division of bases, allotments and quotas for a parent farm among heirs in settling an estate;

· Designation of Landowner Method — may be used when (1) part of a farm is sold or ownership is transferred; (2) an entire farm is sold to two or more persons; (3) farm ownership is transferred to two or more persons; (4) part of a tract is sold or ownership is transferred; (5) a tract is sold to two or more persons; or (6) tract ownership is transferred to two or more persons. In order to use this method the land sold must have been owned for at least three years, or a waiver granted, and the buyer and seller must sign a Memorandum of Understanding;

· DCP Cropland Method — the division of bases in the same proportion that the DCP cropland for each resulting tract relates to the DCP cropland on the parent tract;

· Default Method — the division of bases for a parent farm with each tract maintaining the bases attributed to the tract level when the reconstitution is initiated in the system.

If payments have already been issued on a particular farm, the reconstitution will be effective for the next year, unless the payments are refunded. Request for recons must be filed by June 1.

Acreage Reporting

Acreage reporting time for 2009 spring seeded crops, including grass crops whether for grazing or hay, will soon be here. Filing an accurate acreage report for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage and prevented planting acreage, can prevent the loss of benefits for a variety of programs.

Failed acreage must be reported within 15 calendar days of the disaster event and before disposition of the crop. Prevented planting must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after the final planting date.

Acreage reports are required for many Farm Service Agency programs. For crops other than NAP (Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program) crops, acreage reports are to be certified by the May 1st deadline on small grains and a July 15th deadline on all other crops.

Acreage reports on crops covered under NAP must be filed by the earlier of May 1st for small grains and July 15th for all other crops, or 15 calendar days before the onset of harvest or grazing of the specific crop acreage being reported.

Disaster Buy-In Waiver Extension

Producers who did not obtain crop insurance or Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage for 2008 can pay a buy-in fee through May 18, 2009, to become eligible for 2008 disaster assistance programs authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The disaster buy-in waiver extension does NOT apply to the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) Producers have an additional opportunity to become eligible for several programs if they suffered 2008 agricultural losses due to natural disaster. Producers who have not already taken the necessary steps to become eligible for the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program ( SURE), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP), and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), will have until May 18, 2009 to signup. Producers who meet the definition of “Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource,” or “Beginning Farmer or Rancher,” are not required to pay the buy-in fee.

LIVESTOCK INDEMINITY PROGRAM

The 2008 Farm Bill authorized the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). This Program was established for livestock producers who incurred eligible livestock death losses due to adverse weather events on or after January 1, 2008 and before October 1, 2011. Losses because of adverse weather, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture during the calendar year including blizzards, disease, extreme cold, extreme heat, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires, are eligible for LIP. In the event that such a disaster were to occur, producers should begin to acquire adequate documentation to prove the death of the eligible livestock has occurred as an effect of the adverse weather. Documentation includes but is not limited to beginning and ending inventory records, pictures, veterinarian certifications, and or third party certifications. Third party is an independent source who is not affiliated with the farming or ranching operation. Proof should be acquired before the removal or destruction of the dead livestock has occurred. LIP payments will be 75% of the fair market value of the livestock as determined by the Commodity Credit Corporation. Upon the event of livestock death losses due to adverse weather, contact the County FSA Office for more information. Additional information about LIP is available at the National FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov.

Beginning Farmers & Ranchers

FSA has a program to assist beginning farmers and ranchers to finance agricultural enterprises. Under these designated farm loan programs, FSA can provide financing to eligible applicants through either direct or guaranteed loans. FSA defines a beginning farmer as a person who:

§ Has operated a farm for not more than 10 years

§ Will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm

§ Agrees to participate in a loan assessment, borrower training and financial management program sponsored by FSA

§ Does not own farm acreage in excess of 30 percent of the county’s average size.

Each member of an entity must meet the eligibility requirements. Loan approval is not guaranteed.

Additional program information, loan applications, and other materials are available at your local USDA Service Center. You may also visit www.fsa.usda.gov and www.nrcs.usda.gov

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination n all its program and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information ( Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of Discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Farm Service Agency

Mason-Llano County FSA

P.O. BOX 70

Mason, Texas 76856-0070

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