HOLIDAY GREETINGS FROM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SCHERRIE GIAMANCO
Dear Friends :
At this time of year with such beautiful days when the air is
vibrant with Christmas carols, bright lights and busy streets, I
reflect on how fortunate I am to work with the great producers
in Illinois and I sincerely wish you and your families good
health, love, prosperity and a another successfully abundant
I wish that the Christmas season and the New Year fills your
souls and homes with joy.
May your days be Merry and Bright and may all your dreams come
Happy Holidays and please stay safe.
Scherrie V. Giamanco
State Executive Director
MICROLOAN CAP GROWS TO $50,000
Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farmers and ranchers that the
FSA borrowing limit for microloans increased from $35,000 to
$50,000, effective Nov. 7. Microloans offer borrowers simplified
lending with less paperwork.
The microloan change allows beginning, small and mid-sized
farmers to access an additional $15,000 in loans using a
simplified application process with up to seven years to repay.
Microloans are part of USDA’s continued commitment to small and
midsized farming operations.
To complement the microloan program additional changes to FSA
eligibility requirements will enhance beginning farmers and
ranchers access to land, a key barrier to entry level producers.
FSA policies related to farm experience have changed so that
other types of skills may be considered to meet the direct
farming experience required for farm ownership loan eligibility.
Operation or management of non-farm businesses, leadership
positions while serving in the military or advanced education in
an agricultural field will now count towards the experience
applicants need to show when applying for farm ownership loans.
Since 2010, FSA has made a record amount of farm loans — more
than 165,000 loans totaling nearly $23 billion. More than 50
percent of USDA’s farm loans now go to beginning farmers. In
addition, FSA has increased its lending to traditionally
underserved producer groups (ethnic and gender) by nearly 50
percent since 2010.
Please review the FSA Microloan Program Fact Sheet for program
application, eligibility and related information.
USDA ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO FRUIT, VEGETABLE AND WILD RICE
Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced fruit, vegetable and
wild rice provisions that affect producers who intend to
participate in certain programs authorized by the Agricultural
Act of 2014.
Producers who intend to participate in the Agriculture Risk
Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs are subject
to an acre-for-acre payment reduction when fruits and nuts,
vegetables or wild rice are planted on the payment acres of a
farm. Payment reductions do not apply to mung beans, dry peas,
lentils or chickpeas. Planting fruits, vegetables or wild rice
on acres that are not considered payment acres will not result
in a payment reduction. Farms that are eligible to participate
in ARC/PLC but are not enrolled for a particular year may plant
unlimited fruits, vegetables and wild rice for that year but
will not receive ARC/PLC payments for that year. Eligibility for
succeeding years is not affected.
Planting and harvesting fruits, vegetables and wild rice on
ARC/PLC acreage is subject to the acre-for-acre payment
reduction when those crops are planted on either more than 15
percent of the base acres of a farm enrolled in ARC using the
county coverage or PLC, or more than 35 percent of the base
acres of a farm enrolled in ARC using the individual coverage.
Fruits, vegetables and wild rice that are planted in a
double-cropping practice will not cause a payment reduction if
the farm is in a double-cropping region as designated by the
USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation.
FSA SIGNATURE POLICY
Using the correct signature when doing business with FSA can
save time and prevent a delay in program benefits. The following
are FSA signature guidelines:
- Spouses may sign documents on behalf of each other for FSA and
CCC programs in which either
has an interest, unless written notification denying a spouse
this authority has been provided to the county office
- Spouses shall not sign on behalf of each other as an
authorized signatory for partnerships, joint ventures,
corporations, or other similar entities
For additional clarification on proper signatures contact your
local FSA office.
USDA EXTENDS APPLICATION DEADLINE for DAIRY MARGIN PROTECTION
PROGRAM to DECEMBER 19
Dairy producers urged to act now to protect their businesses
against unpredictable market swings, take advantage of increased
protections offered in first year of program.
The application deadline for the dairy Margin Protection Program
(MPP) has been extended until December 19, 2014. The program,
established by the 2014 Farm Bill, protects participating dairy
producers when the margin – the difference between the price of
milk and feed costs – falls below levels of protection selected
by the applicant.
For just $100, a farmer can cover 90 percent of production at $4
margin swings, and with affordable incremental premiums, dairy
farmers can cover up to $8 margin swings. Those who apply this
year will receive a slight increase in production protection
that will not be available in the future. Farmers who do not
sign up for the Margin Protection Program for 2015 will forfeit
the 1 percent base production increase.
Producers can use the online Web resource at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool
to calculate the best levels of coverage for their dairy
To learn more about the Margin Protection Program for dairy,
contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency county office at
offices.usda.gov or visit us on the Web at www.fsa.usda.gov
LIVESTOCK DISASTER ASSISTANCE SIGN-UP UNDERWAY
Livestock disaster program enrollment opened on April 15, 2014.
These disaster programs are authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill as
permanent programs and provide retroactive authority to cover
losses that occurred on or after Oct. 1, 2011.
Eligible producers can sign-up for the following livestock
disaster assistance programs:
Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP):
LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that
have suffered grazing losses due to the drought that occurred in
Illinois during crop year 2012 on privately owned or cash leased
land. Producers who suffered eligible grazing losses in a county
affected by the qualifying drought should visit their local
county FSA office and submit a completed CCC-853 and supporting
documentation by January 30, 2015.
Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP):
LIP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that
have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal
mortality due to adverse weather and attacks by animals
reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or
protected by federal law. Producers who suffered livestock death
losses that occurred after October 1, 2011 should submit a
notice of loss and an application for payment to their local FSA
office by January 30, 2015.
Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised
Fish Program (ELAP)
ELAP provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of
livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have losses due
to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, such as
blizzards and wildfires. ELAP assistance is provided for losses
not covered by LFP and LIP. For 2015 program year losses (losses
that occur from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015), the
notice of loss and an application for payment must be submitted
by November 2, 2015.
For more information, producers can review the LFP, LIP and ELAP
Fact Sheets on the Farm Bill webpage. Producers are encouraged
to make an appointment with their local FSA office to apply for
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2014 MAL (Marketing Assistance Loans) REQUESTS
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting requests for
marketing assistance loans (MALs) for eligible 2014 commodities.
MALs for the 2014 crop year become available to eligible
producers beginning with harvest/shearing season and extending
through a specific commodity’s final loan availability date.
MALs provide financing and marketing assistance for wheat, feed
grains, soybeans, and other oilseeds, pulse crops, wool, mohair and
honey. MALs provide producers interim financing after harvest to
help them meet cash flow needs without having to sell their
commodities when market prices are typically at harvest-time lows.
National and county loans rates for 2014 crops are posted on the FSA
website at: www.fsa.usda.gov/pricesupport.
For more information, please visit a nearby USDA Service Center or
FSA’s website www.fsa.usda.gov.
USDA ENHANCES FARM STORAGE FACILITY LOAN PROGRAM
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the
expansion of the Farm Storage and Facility Loan program, which
provides low-interest financing to producers. The enhanced program
includes 22 new categories of eligible equipment for fruit and
Producers with small and mid-sized operations, and specialty crop
fruit and vegetable growers, now have access to needed capital for a
variety of supplies including sorting bins, wash stations and other
food safety-related equipment. A new more flexible alternative is
also provided for determining storage needs for fruit and vegetable
producers, and waivers are available on a case-by-case basis for
disaster assistance or insurance coverage if available products are
not relevant or feasible for a particular producer.
Additionally, Farm Storage Facility Loan security requirements have
been eased for loans up to $100,000. Previously, all loans in excess
of $50,000 and any loan with little resale value required a
promissory note/security agreement and additional security, such as
a lien on real estate. Now loans up to $50,000 can be secured by
only a promissory note/security agreement and some loans between
$50,000 and $100,000 will no longer require additional security.
The low-interest funds can be used to build or upgrade permanent
facilities to store commodities. Eligible commodities include
grains, oilseeds, peanuts, pulse crops, hay, honey, renewable
biomass commodities, fruits and vegetables. Qualified facilities
include grain bins, hay barns and cold storage facilities for fruits
2015 NONINSURED CROP DISASTER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (NAP)
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that greater
protection is now available from the Noninsured Crop Disaster
Assistance Program for crops that traditionally have been ineligible
for federal crop insurance. The new options, created by the 2014
Farm Bill, provide greater coverage for losses when natural
disasters affect specialty crops such as vegetables, fruits,
mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf
grass, ginseng, honey, syrup, and energy crops.
"These new protections will help ensure that farm families growing
crops for food, fiber or livestock consumption will be better able
to withstand losses due to natural disasters," said Vilsack. "For
years, commodity crop farmers have had the ability to purchase
insurance to keep their crops protected, and it only makes sense
that fruit and vegetable, and other specialty crop growers, should
be able to purchase similar levels of protection. Ensuring these
farmers can adequately protect themselves from factors beyond their
control is also critical for consumers who enjoy these products and
for communities whose economies depend on them."
Previously, the program offered coverage at 55 percent of the
average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of
expected production. Producers can now choose higher levels of
coverage, up to 65 percent of their expected production at 100
percent of the average market price.
The expanded protection will be especially helpful to beginning and
traditionally underserved producers, as well as farmers with limited
resources, who will receive fee waivers and premium reductions for
expanded coverage. More crops are now eligible for the program,
including expanded aquaculture production practices, and sweet and
biomass sorghum. For the first time, a range of crops used to
produce bioenergy will be eligible as well.
"If America is to remain food secure and continue exporting food to
the world, we need to do everything we can to help new farmers get
started and succeed in agriculture," Vilsack said. "This program
will help new and socially disadvantaged farmers affordably manage
risk, making farming a much more attractive business proposition."
To help producers learn more about the Noninsured Crop Disaster
Assistance Program and how it can help them, USDA, in partnership
with Michigan State University and the University of Illinois,
created an online resource. The Web tool, available at
www.fsa.usda.gov/nap, allows producers to determine whether their
crops are eligible for coverage. It also gives them an opportunity
to explore a variety of options and levels to determine the best
protection level for their operation.
If the application deadline for an eligible crop has already passed,
producers will have until Jan. 14, 2015, to choose expanded coverage
through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. To learn
more, visit the Farm Service Agency (FSA) website at
www.fsa.usda.gov/nap or contact your local FSA office at
offices.usda.gov. The Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers
the program, also wants to hear from producers and other interested
stakeholders who may have suggestions or recommendations on the
program. Written comments will be accepted until Feb. 13, 2015 and
can be submitted through www.regulations.gov.
These new provisions under the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance
Program were made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds
on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five
years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in
savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant
progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation,
including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers;
strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural
credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative
public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for
rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and
community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural
America. For more information, visit http://www.usda.gov/farmbill.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a
complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant
Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400
Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866)
632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or
Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).
Illinois Farm Service Agency
Springfield, IL 62711
Appell - Chairperson
Vacant - Brenda Hill as of1/1/15
State Executive Director:
Scherrie V. Giamanco
contact your local County FSA Office for questions specific to your
operation or county.