Ask FSA Andy about FSA tips


Hello again!

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m trying to figure out what to write for FSA Andy.

FSA stuff can be a ” little” boring and of course we are never allowed to provide an opinion, because the agency is concerned that someone might come back and sue them for following some expressed opinions. I don’t always strictly adhere to that line of thinking, and I really don’t try and offend people. I consider myself candid. I usually try to provide tips to producers that will help make their visit to their local FSA office a positive experience.

Wheat harvest

Even though later than normal, appears to be going great. The worries over scab, disease and sprouting didn’t materialize. The yields that I’ve heard and seen have been good. Straw tonnage appears good and as I write this I know a number of producers are double cropping beans.

On my farm the operator planted his double crop beans last night. I’m surprised more producers don’t double crop. I think it’s a win win situation and not every year is great, but I did have a producer get 62 bushel double crop beans a couple of years ago. No joke; I was in the combine with him and 40-plus bushels-to-the-acre is common.

Deadline approaches

The 2014 farm bill created permanent disaster programs. The ELAP program, which provides assistance for honeybee, livestock and farm raised fish losses, has a deadline fast approaching. August 1, 2014 is the last day to file for 2011, 2012 and 2013 losses, in the above categories, due to adverse weather .

Regarding honeybees I know that almost everyone had to have suffered losses of colonies and possibly the actual bee hives due to weather. Colony Collapse Disorder is considered an eligible cause, it may not seem like adverse weather, but USDA made it eligible. Cache Valley Disease losses in 2014 stillborn and newly born lambs is also now covered. I haven’t heard much about fish losses as we don’t have that many operators in our county.

You are probably wondering about the multiple-year losses that are eligible. I’m sure the cattle losses in Western US played a big part in the multi-year eligibility. Evidence of losses isn’t as difficult to obtain as you might think.

If you had a bee inspector look at your hives he can write a statement. If you have receipts for the purchase of new colonies of bees that works. Third party certifications are acceptable on losses. The rules are fairly liberal regarding what evidence we need as USDA was aware that we are looking at 3 years back. Call your local FSA office for more information.

COC nomination

Ever thought of serving on the local FSA Committee? The election of agricultural producers to Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees is important to farmers. Can you think of any other government agency that allows locally elected people to make decisions for the federal government? I can’t. Usually it’s bureaucrats like me. Just kidding. Sort of.

It is crucial that every eligible producer participate in these elections because FSA county committees are a link between the agricultural community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). County committee members are an important component of the operations of FSA. They help deliver FSA farm programs at the local level. Farmers and producers who serve on county committees help with the decisions necessary to administer the programs in their counties. FSA county committee members make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other important agricultural issues.

Members serve three-year terms. Each county is broken up into “local administration areas” (LAAs), three or five, depending on if a county is a combination or not. This is an attempt to try and have members who have knowledge of the local producers in the area they serve. This helps in rendering decisions that affect participants.

The pay is decent. Usually there is food to eat at the meetings. You probably will get to hear about programs a little sooner and not have to feel bad about asking questions. If adverse decisions are made nobody will hold you responsible as I have to wear the black hat and deliver the bad news.
Contact your local FSA office and see which area is having an election this year. It could be life altering. That may be stretching things a bit. Sorta sounds like a used car salesman.

The COC nomination period runs from June 15, 2014 through August 1, 2014. The nomination form is available at USDA Service Centers and online.

That’s all for now,
FSA Andy

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