Old Man Winter is finally knocking on our door. The frigid temperatures and the snow remind us that it is mid-January in Ohio.
Last week, I hope you found it interesting when comparing what you pay for food versus what a farmer actually receives. I find it very intriguing that the average person does not realize how little a farmer receives for the food he works so hard to produce to feed our nation. I guess it shouldn’t surprise because some think the food just miraculously appears at the grocery store. They don’t realize where the food actually comes from.
My assignment for you is to continue educating others on what a farmer receives versus what we pay in the grocery store.
On Monday, Jan. 18, all government offices will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. This day is to celebrate the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., an influential civil rights leader. He is most known for his campaigns to end racial segregation on public transportation and for racial equality in the United States.
King dreamt that all inhabitants of the U.S. would be judged by their personal qualities and not by the color of their skin. He received the Nobel Peace Prize for Civil Service and Social Justice in 1964. We are in week two of our yearly notification and reminders. Please review and keep these in mind for your upcoming year.
Civil rights/discrimination complaint process
As a participant or applicant for programs or activities operated or sponsored by USDA, you have a right to be treated fairly. If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability or marital or familial status, you may file a discrimination complaint.
The complaint should be filed with the USDA Office of Civil Rights within 180 days of the date you became aware of the alleged discrimination. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Ave., SW, Washington D.C. 20250-9410, or call 202-720-5964 (voice or TDD).
A complaint must be filed within 180 calendar days from the date the complainant knew, or should have known, of the alleged discrimination.
The USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
Any person convicted under federal or state law of a controlled substance violation could be ineligible for USDA payments or benefits. Violations include planting, harvesting or growing a prohibited plant. Prohibited plants include marijuana, opium, poppies and other drug-producing plants.
Bank account changes
Current policy mandates that FSA payments be electronically transferred into a bank account. In order for timely payments to be made, producers need to notify the FSA county office when an account has been changed or if another financial institution purchases the bank where payments are sent. Payments can be delayed if the FSA office is not aware of updates to bank accounts and routing numbers.
Changes to IRS Forms 1099-G and 1099-Misc.
In past years, IRS Forms 1099-G was issued to show all program payments received from the Farm Service Agency, regardless of the amount. Starting in 2012 the 1099-G reporting changed.
IRS Form 1099-G (Report of Payments to Producers) will only be issued to producers whose reportable payments total $600 or more for the calendar year. Additionally, if the producer has at least $600 in reportable payments received from multiple FSA offices, only one Form 1099-G will be issued.
Producers subject to voluntary withholding or backup (involuntary) withholding will receive the appropriate IRS form, even if combined payments are less than $600. The same changes will apply to producers and vendors who normally receive IRS Form 1099-MISC from FSA.
Any producer who receives less than $600 in combined payments should consult a tax advisor to determine if these payments must be reported on their tax return.
For more information regarding IRS reporting changes, contact your local FSA office. Next week we will be concentrating on notifications and reminders relating to the land.
That’s all for now
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