Understanding the new farm bill will take patience

Hello again,

I sure have seen a lot of information about the new farm bill in the newspaper. There is some good information out there with most of it being put out by our agency. Like everyone else, I read the information and store it away until a sign-up period becomes a reality.  I compare the news releases to the directives and software that we have actually received in the local county office.

Huge disconnect

Sometimes I see a disconnect in what is being released to the public and what is available to us in the local offices. A program deadline will be published in a newspaper, and that may be the first time we are made aware of it. The administrators will publicize program deadlines without making the forms, software or policy available to us.

The local producer sees it in the paper, calls the office and we have to explain to them that we are aware of what they read, but they have not given us the necessary tools to complete the job.

I often times compare it to spring planting — you have the tractor, you have the planter, you have the field all ready to be planted, but you don’t have any seed because your seed dealer put it on the truck to be delivered but the delivery truck ran into an unforeseen problem.

Frequently that is what happens in our agency — a mission is developed, a time frame is implemented, but it doesn’t always allow enough time for the information to get to the local offices where the program is actually implemented.

Program

Down below is some information about a permanent disaster program that has a deadline of April 15, we already know we will not be trained on this program until the week of April 14. So be patient with your local office, as soon as the information is received your sign-up will be our priority, even when we read the other articles telling us that 250 more local offices will be closed. We are the Farm SERVICE Agency, we take pride in knowing that SERVICE really is our middle “name.”

The 2014 farm bill, formally known as the Agricultural Act of 2014, makes the Livestock Forage Program and Livestock Indemnity Program permanent programs and provides retroactive authority to cover eligible losses back to Oct. 1, 2011.

LFP provides compensation to eligible producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought and fire. LIP provides compensation to livestock producers who suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. USDA is determined to make implementing the livestock disaster programs a top priority and plans to open program enrollment by April 15, 2014.

As USDA begins implementing the livestock disaster assistance programs, producers should record all pertinent information of natural disaster consequences, including:

• Documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died, supplemented if possible by photographs or video records of ownership and losses
• Dates of death supported by birth recordings or purchase receipts
• Costs of transporting livestock to safer grounds or to move animals to new pastures
• Feed purchases if supplies or grazing pastures are destroyed
• Crop records, including seed and fertilizer purchases, planting and production records
• Pictures of on-farm storage facilities that were destroyed by wind or flood waters
• Evidence of damaged farm land.

Still have questions?

Many producers still have questions. USDA is in the process of interpreting Farm Bill program regulations. Additional information will be provided once the enrollment period is announced. In the meantime, producers can review the LIP and LFP Fact Sheets.

Thanks for your patience as USDA works diligently to put Farm Bill programs into action to benefit the farmers and ranchers of rural America.

That’s all for now,
FSA Andy

About the Author

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties. More Stories by Chris Kick

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