Ask FSA Andy about planning ahead

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Hello Again!

Well, wheat harvest has finally swung into full press this past week. Much to my fears the wet weather has taken it’s toll. I have heard some horror tales of guys dumping their wheat and then finding out after dockage that they were going to get $.80 a bushel for their wheat. There has to be someone who would be willing to buy it for feed for more than that.

If possible, dry the wheat, bin it for a while and then take it back out. If nothing else that should knock off some of the sprouts and maybe by then some of the sprout hysteria will have died down. Might want to plan ahead if you haven’t finished harvesting your wheat.

Marketing Assistance Loans

Speaking of planning ahead, FSA has always had Marketing Assistance Loans available for producers of grain crops. These loans utilize your grain for collateral and the interest rate charged is so reasonable it’s almost like getting an interest free loan. The loans will mature in 9 months after the month they are disbursed in. These loans can be farm stored or warehouse stored loans. A lot of producers who feed grain think they are ineligible for these loans. Such is not the case. Simply stop in and pay off the amount of bushels before you grind feed. Ahead of time, of course.

To demonstrate how reasonable these loans are: A producer takes out a corn loan for 8 months. At the end of that time to repay the loan will cost him $.016 per bushel. In reality that allows a cash grain producer to store his commodity for 8 months and to come out ahead he only needs for the cash price of corn to go up that amount per bushel.

Meanwhile, both the cash grain and the feeder have been able to utilize the loan proceeds to prepay for fertilizer, herbicides and other needed essentials, take the discounts offered, and enjoy the measly 1.25 percent interest we charged. If you find fault in my reasoning don’t hesitate to call me in Tuscarawas County and we can discuss the merits of this program.

Rainy weather

Do you think there is something goofy about the weather? I know I tend to look at the weather and I believe it has become more extreme. It’s a common topic in my articles. You can probably tell I’m sick of the rain. I say send it to some drought state who needs it. Erosion is taking place in fields that I have never seen happen before.

NRCS, our sister agency, and some SWCD offices are spot checking more farms and looking into erosion complaints. The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, can’t speak for the other conservancy districts, has stepped up by offering assistance on cover crops to be planted in the fall to help control erosion.

This program is handled by your local SWCD and in T County our producers are getting around $13 per acre for seeding cover crops if their contract is selected. The money isn’t endless but it’s certainly helpful in in promoting the effectiveness of cover crops.

Signups may be over in your county, but it wouldn’t hurt to check or at least get in line for next year. Also it’s kind of nice to know that we are getting something out of the $12 a parcel we pay. FSA also has available filter strips along perennial streams and rivers that can be utilized through our Conservation Reserve Program.

Cost share is yearly on amount per acre and cost share to install them is 90 percent. These are 10-15 year contract and rates are usually very good. These are extremely beneficial in stopping bank erosion and good at limiting where water spills back into the steam, if your field becomes overrun by downstream flowage.

Conservancy Districts

Everyone is probably aware that Conservancy Districts were set up in the 30s for flood control. Muskingum has a number of lakes that were built for flood control. I have had a number of producers, including myself, wondering if they could be better utilized. This past winter, when the lakes were drawn down for winter pool, we received some significant rainfalls.

As we all know heavy rains on saturated ground reaches our streams and rivers much quicker than they did in 1940. I visited a 160 acre field that had scour erosion running through it that was unbelievable, even though the field had a cover crop on it. Maybe it’s time the MWCD revisits their winter pool limits and possibly allow more to be held back and be discharged at a later date.

I would be willing to coordinate a meeting between MWCD, Corp of Engineers and producers to discuss this situation. On this end I can tell you that without truthful discussion, producers will make up what they believe the above agencies are doing.

Microloan program

FSA has a newer program available called the Microloan program. This loan has a simpler application process and is well suited for new and smaller operations. These loans are available for up to $50,000, and can have up to a seven year payback. These loans can assist a variety of producers including specialty crop producers and operators of CSA’s or community supported agriculture. They can be used for hoop houses to extend the growing season, essential tools, tractors, equipment.

Basically, just about any agricultural endeavor that a person can come up with. Then as financing needs increase applicants can apply for a regular farm operating loan up to $300,000 or move on to a commercial lender. Consider looking into one if you need assistance.

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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