Each year, the Farm Service Agency is required to issue public notice on a variety of programs, policies, and opportunities available at the county office. Questions pertaining to any of these notices can be directed to your local Farm Service Agency office.
— Report of Payments to Producers: January signals the beginning of a new year, and a time to gather financial records and start thinking about filling out a 1040. Producers who have signed up for a USDA eAuthentication Level 2 account will be able to access their farm data through Financial Inquires for FSA Producers. The site is available under Online Services on the Ohio FSA webpage at www.fsa.usda.gov/oh.
— Power of Attorney Authorization: FSA has a specific, in-house power of attorney form available for those who wish to designate another person to conduct his or her business at the office. This form must be notarized or signed in the presence of an FSA employee.
If you have non-FSA power of attorney documents, they must be approved by the FSA regional attorney prior to use in the county office. All approved power of attorney designations remain in effect until revoked.
— Spousal Signatures: A husband and wife may sign program documents on behalf of each other for most FSA and Commodity Credit Corporation programs in which either has an interest. This is standard policy, unless written notification denies a spouse this authority.
— Foreign Investment Disclosure: The Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act requires all foreign persons who acquire, transfer, or hold interest in any tract of U. S. agricultural land, forestland, or timberland report the transaction within 90 days of the closing. This notification is made through the local Farm Service Agency office.
— Socially Disadvantaged/Limited Resource: Applicants who meet criteria for either limited resource or socially disadvantaged may be eligible for waived fees, directed funding, or eligibility exemptions for certain FSA programs. The rule is program specific.
Socially disadvantaged is defined as being a member of a group whose members have been subject to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of the group without regard to their individual qualities.
Limited resource producers have gross farm sales below a specific level and have a total household income at or below previously determined levels. Contact the local county office to obtain the updated levels, or use the online calculator at www.lrftool.sc.egov.usda.gov.
— Controlled Substance: Any person who is convicted under federal or state law of planting, producing, cultivating, harvesting, growing, or storing a controlled substance, such as any drug-producing plant, will be ineligible to participate and receive payments under USDA programs.
— Report Direct Deposit Changes: Current policy mandates that all payments from FSA be directly deposited into a producer’s savings or checking bank account. It is important that any changes in accounts such as type of account, bank mergers, routing number or account numbers, be provided to the county office promptly to avoid possible payment delay.
— Hispanic and Women Farmers: A process to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who believe they were discriminated against when seeking USDA farm loans has been established. If you believe the USDA improperly denied farm loan benefits to you between 1981 and 2000 because you are Hispanic, or because you are female, you may be eligible to apply for compensation. For additional information on this and other settlement issues contact: www.farmerclaims.gov or call 888-508-4429, 866-950-5547, or 888-233-5506.
That’s all for now,