Ask FSA Andy about ag education and loans

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Hello Again!

Again this month Andy will be offering a variety of information concerning FSA and it’s program as well as some theories on life in general. Sounds like something from the Kung Fu series, if you have any idea what that show was about.

Education

Over the years I have noticed when talking to farmers about their background, specifically education, many have pointed out that all they ever wanted to do was farm, and that regarding school work it was a mere blip in the road that was required and treated as more of a nuisance than a benefit. I’ll bet that you have never heard another farmer stating that Farmer X is just way too smart. I’m not stating that most farmers aren’t smart and I’m a firm believer that common sense will generally out trump book smarts, but seriously, having a good educational background and the dedication to be a farmer is not a disadvantage.

Now here is my shameless plug. You may or may not have seen the Farm and Dairy article on the new B.S. Degree Ag business being offered at Kent State Tuscarawas Branch. We all know that there are a limited of colleges in Ohio offering ag related courses. The campus is set in an agricultural setting and focuses on the business side of agriculture. The opportunities available to graduates are endless and the cost at this facility is way cheaper than a lot of the other institutions in Ohio.

So if have children or grandchildren you may wish to encourage them to seek a higher level of education. As I said, I have never heard anyone say “that guy is just way too smart.” Going hand in hand with that is another program FSA offers.

Loans

Youth loans are available to any youth up through age 18. I know that a lot of fairs have wrapped up, but planning ahead for next year now is a great idea. The money available can be used for fair projects or individual desires to get involved in farming.

Here are some of the qualifications needed to meet eligibility for these loans. As with all FSA loans the interest rates are unbeatable. Youths loans are available to establish and operate income-producing projects in connection with 4-H clubs, FFA and other agricultural groups. Projects must be planned and operated with the help of the organization advisor, produce sufficient income to repay the loan and provide the youth with practical business and educational experience. The maximum loan amount is $5,000.

Applicants must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States (which includes Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) or a legal resident alien
  • Be 10 years to 20 years of age
  • Must obtain a written recommendation and consent from a parent or guardian if the applicant has not reached the age of majority under state law
  • Comply with FSA’s general eligibility requirements
  • Be unable to get a loan from other sources
  • Conduct a modest income-producing project in a supervised program of work as outlined above
  • Demonstrate capability of planning, managing and operating the project under guidance and assistance from a project advisor.
  • The project supervisor must recommend the project and the loan, along with providing adequate supervision.

COC Committee

If you have a desire to become a member of your local FSA committee Aug. 3 is the final date to turn in your nomination petition. These are available at your local FSA. FSA is also announcing that a general CRP program signup will be available later this year. USDA will accept new offers to participate in CRP under a general sign-up to be held Dec. 1, through Feb. 26, 2016.

Eligible existing program participants with contracts expiring Sept. 30, 2015, may be granted an option for one-year extensions. Farmers and landowners interested in removing sensitive land from agricultural production and planting grasses or trees to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and restore wildlife habitat are encouraged to enroll.

Additional information regarding general sign-up will be available later this year. Also FSA will be rolling out another program within CRP program. The program will be a centered on Grassland establishment. I believe it will be a reincarnated version of the Grassland Reserve Program.

That’s all for now,
FSA Andy

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FSA Andy is written by USDA Farm Service Agency county executive directors in northeastern Ohio.

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