This past year has been an educational event for all of us. With
the participation of FSA employees, the University of Illinois
faculty and the Illinois Farm Bureau we rolled out a spectacular
education effort that would have been wasted if Illinois
producers hadn’t participated by attending the many seminars.
Producer participation was the key element to the success of the
teamwork that shared all the information available and enabled
participation in the new ARC PLC program. We are so pleased to
report to you that Illinois enrolled more producers and farms
than any other state in the nation. Only you made this possible.
Thank you again and again.
As we prepare for 2016 we hope and pray that your family is
successful in all that you do; that good health is your
experience; that abundance finds you each day; that we reach
ever higher levels of security; that American agriculture
continues to feed the world; and that we can one day see Peace
Again many thanks for the being our customer and feeding the
Happy Holidays to all,
Scherrie V Giamanco
Enrollment Period for 2016 USDA Safety Net Coverage Begins
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced that producers
who chose coverage from the safety net programs established by
the 2014 Farm Bill, known as the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC)
or the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, can begin visiting
FSA county offices starting Dec. 7, 2015, to sign contracts to
enroll in coverage for 2016. The enrollment period will continue
until Aug. 1, 2016.
Although the choice between ARC and PLC is completed and remains
in effect through 2018, producers must still enroll their farm
by signing a contract each year to receive coverage.
Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office to
schedule an appointment to enroll. If a farm is not enrolled
during the 2016 enrollment period, producers on that farm will
not be eligible for financial assistance from the ARC or PLC
programs should crop prices or farm revenues fall below the
historical price or revenue benchmarks established by the
The two programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and offer
a safety net to agricultural producers when there is a
substantial drop in prices or revenues for covered commodities.
Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small
chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils,
mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain
rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet
rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and
wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity. For more
details regarding these programs, go to
For more information, producers are encouraged to visit their
local FSA office. To find a local FSA office, visit
Update Your Records
FSA is cleaning up our producer record database. If you have any
unreported changes of address or zip code or an incorrect name
or business name on file they need to be reported to our office.
Changes in your farm operation, like the addition of a farm by
lease or purchase, need to be reported to our office as well.
Producers participating in FSA and NRCS programs are required to
timely report changes in their farming operation to the County
Committee in writing and update their CCC-902 Farm Operating
If you have any updates or corrections, please call your local
FSA office to update your records.
Secretary Vilsack Announces Additional 800,000 Acres
Dedicated to Conservation Reserve Program for Wildlife Habitat
Secretary Hails Program’s 30th Anniversary, Announces General
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that an additional
800,000 acres of highly environmentally sensitive land may be
enrolled in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) under certain
wetland and wildlife initiatives that provide multiple benefits
on the same land.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will accept new offers
to participate in CRP under a general signup to be held Dec. 1,
2015, through Feb. 26, 2016. Eligible existing program
participants with contracts expiring Sept. 30, 2015, will be
granted an option for one-year extensions. Farmers and ranchers
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.
For 30 years, the Conservation Reserve Program has helped
farmers and ranchers prevent more than 8 billion tons of soil
from eroding, reduce nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to
cropland by 95 and 85 percent respectively, and even sequester
43 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, equal to taking 8
million cars off the road.
The voluntary Conservation Reserve Program allows USDA to
contract with agricultural producers so that environmentally
sensitive land is conserved. Participants establish long-term,
resource-conserving plant species to control soil erosion,
improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat. In return,
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides participants with
rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contract duration is
between 10 and 15 years.
CRP protects water quality and restores significant habitat for
ducks, pheasants, turkey, quail, deer and other important
wildlife which spurs economic development like hunting and
fishing, outdoor recreation and tourism across rural America.
Today’s announcement allows an additional 800,000 acres for duck
nesting habitat and other wetland and wildlife habitat
initiatives to be enrolled in the program.
Farmers and ranchers should consider the various CRP continuous
sign-up initiatives that may help target specific resource
concerns. Financial assistance is offered for many practices
including conservation buffers and pollinator habitat plantings,
and initiatives such as the highly erodible lands, bottomland
hardwood tree and longleaf pine.
Farmers and ranchers may visit their FSA county office for
additional information. The 2014 Farm Bill authorized the
enrollment of grasslands in CRP and information on grasslands
enrollment will be available after the regulation is published
later this summer.
For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, please visit
Tree Assistance Program (TAP) Sign-up
Orchardists and nursery tree growers who experience losses from
natural disasters during calendar year 2015 must submit a TAP
application either 90 calendar days after the disaster event or
the date when the loss is apparent. TAP was authorized by the
Agricultural Act of 2014 as a permanent disaster program. TAP
provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and
nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees,
bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters.
Eligible tree types include trees, bushes or vines that produce
an annual crop for commercial purposes. Nursery trees include
ornamental, fruit, nut and Christmas trees that are produced for
commercial sale. Trees used for pulp or timber are ineligible.
To qualify for TAP, orchardists must suffer a qualifying tree,
bush or vine loss in excess of 15 percent mortality from an
eligible natural disaster. The eligible trees, bushes or vines
must have been owned when the natural disaster occurred;
however, eligible growers are not required to own the land on
which the eligible trees, bushes and vines were planted.
If the TAP application is approved, the eligible trees, bushes
and vines must be replaced within 12 months from the date the
application is approved. The cumulative total quantity of acres
planted to trees, bushes or vines, for which a producer can
receive TAP payments, cannot exceed 500 acres annually.
USDA Creates More Bird Habitat Opportunities on Irrigated
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announces more bird habitats to
be established in irrigated farmland regions through the
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
Declines in upland bird populations, such as the northern
bobwhite, pheasant, and prairie chicken, led to the creation of
new Conservation Reserve Program features to help restore
habitats for these species in these agricultural areas. Since
the program’s creation in 2004, more than 240,000 acres of
marginal cropland has been converted to native grasslands,
spurring an increase in upland bird populations.
In recent years, however, applications for this type of habitat
creation have slowed. To encourage more participation, USDA’s
new policy focuses on farmland with center-pivot irrigation
systems where there are circular areas of cropland with patches
of land beyond the reach of irrigation. Until now, these patches
– known as pivot corners – were only eligible for habitat
creation when connected by a linear strip of grassland also
enrolled in the program. The new policy allows producers
interested in habitat creation to use disconnected pivot corners
to help increase the population of upland birds.
Other species that can benefit from today’s change include the
mourning dove, wild turkey, several sparrows, meadowlark and
The Conservation Reserve Program is a voluntary program. FSA
contracts with agricultural landowners so that environmentally
sensitive land is not farmed but instead used for conservation.
Participants establish long-term plant species that control soil
erosion, sequester carbon, improve water quality, and strengthen
declining wildlife populations. In return, participants receive
annual rental payments between 10 and 15 years.
Interested landowners can enroll pivot corners in the
Conservation Reserve Program at any time. Participants and land
must meet certain eligibility requirements. Other restrictions
may apply. For additional details, contact your local Farm
Service Agency office at offices.usda.gov or visit the website
Filing CCC-941 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Certifications
Many producers have experienced delays in receiving Agriculture
Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments, Loan
Deficiency Payments (LDPs) and Market Gains on Marketing
Assistance Loans (MALs) because they have not filed form
CCC-941, Adjusted Gross Income Certification. LDPs will not be
paid until all eligible producers, including landowners who
share in the crop, have filed a valid CCC-941.
Producers without a valid CCC-941 certifying their compliance
with the average adjusted gross income provisions will not
receive payments that have been processed. All farm
operator/tenants/owners who have not filed a CCC-941 and have
pending payments should IMMEDIATELY file the form with their
recording county FSA office. Farm operators and tenants are
encouraged to ensure that their landowners have filed the form.
FSA has been issuing 2014 ARC/PLC payments, 2015 LDPs and Market
FSA can accept the CCC-941 for 2014, 2015 and 2016. Unlike the
past, producers must have the CCC-941 certifying their AGI
compliance before any payments can be issued.
NAP Deadline Approaching for 2016 Crops
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) applications
are due at different times, depending on the crop being insured.
August 31, 2015 was the 2016 NAP application closing date for
September 1, 2015 was the 2016 NAP application closing date for
value loss crops, such as, aquaculture, Christmas trees,
ornamental nursery, and turfgrass sod.
September 30, 2015 was the 2016 NAP application closing date for
mechanically harvested forage, grazed forage, and fall seeded
November 20, 2015 was the 2016 NAP application closing date for
bi-annual and perennial crops, such as apples, asparagus,
blueberries, caneberries, cherries, grapes, hops, nectarines,
peaches, pears, plums, rhubarb, and strawberries.
December 1, 2015 was the 2016 NAP application closing date for
March 15, 2016 is the 2016 NAP application closing date for
spring and summer planted NAP
May 1, 2016 is the 2017 NAP application closing date for nursery
Eligible producers can apply for 2016 NAP coverage at their
local FSA Office using form CCC-471, Application for Coverage.
The service fee for basic NAP coverage is the lesser of $250 per
crop or $750 per producer per administrative county, not to
exceed a total of $1,875 for a producer with farming interest in
multiple counties. Producers interested in buy-up coverage must
pay a premium, in addition to the service fee. The maximum
premium will be $6,563.
Producers meeting the definition of a socially disadvantaged
farmer or rancher, beginning farmer or rancher or limited
resource farmer or rancher will have service fees waived.
Producers meeting this definition that choose to purchase buy-up
coverage will also have service fees waived and the premium will
be capped at $3,282.
2016 Acreage Reporting Dates
Producers who file accurate and timely reports for all crops and
land uses, including failed acreage can prevent the potential
loss of FSA program benefits. Please pay close attention to the
acreage reporting dates below, as some dates have changed.
In order to comply with FSA program eligibility requirements,
all producers are encouraged to visit their local County FSA
office to file an accurate crop certification report by the
The following 2016 acreage reporting dates are applicable for
September 30, 2015 aquaculture, Christmas trees,
turfgrass sod, floriculture
December 15, 2015 fall seeded small grains and perennial
forage with an intended
use of forage and grazing
January 2, 2016 honey
January 15, 2016 apples, asparagus, blueberries,
caneberries, cherries, grapes,
nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries
June 15, 2016 cucumbers (planted 5/1 – 5/31) in Gallatin,
Lawrence, and White Counties
July 15, 2016 cabbage (planted 3/15-5/31), perennial
forage (with an intended
use of cover only, green manure, left standing, or seed) and all
August 15, 2016 cabbage (planted 6/1 – 7/20)
September 15, 2016 cucumbers (planted 6/1 – 8/15) in
Gallatin, Lawrence, and White
[to top of second column]
The following exceptions apply to the above acreage reporting
If the crop has not been planted by the above acreage reporting
date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 15
calendar days after planting is completed.
If a producer acquires additional acreage after the above
acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no
later than 30 calendars days after purchase or acquiring the
lease. Appropriate documentation must be provided to the county
If a perennial forage crop is reported with the intended use of
“cover only,” “green manure,” “left standing,” or “seed,” then
the acreage must be reported by July 15, 2016.
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders
should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP covered
crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar
days before grazing or harvesting of the crop begins.
For questions regarding crop certification and crop loss
reports, please contact your local County FSA office.
If filing for prevented planting, an acreage report and CCC-576
must be filed within 15 calendar days of the final planting date
for the crop.
USDA Issues Safety-Net Payments to Illinois Farmers Facing
The USDA Farm Service Agency has begun issuing financial
assistance for the 2014 crop year to those agricultural
producers who are participating in the new safety-net programs
established by the 2014 Farm Bill. The new programs, known as
Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC),
are designed to protect against unexpected drops in crop prices
or revenues due to market downturns.
Unlike the old direct payments program, which provided funds in
good years and bad years, these new programs only provide
financial assistance when prices or revenues drop below normal.
For example, nationwide, farms participating in ARC-County that
are receiving payments experienced a $20 billion drop in
revenues relative to the historical benchmark.
Also, please note that funds provided by the ARC-County program
can vary from county to county. The 2014 Farm Bill requires
ARC-County payments to be calculated using the national average
market year price (which does not vary by county), and the
average county yield (which varies by county). This creates
county-by-county differences in payment rates. The yield data
comes from surveys conducted by the USDA National Agricultural
Statistics Service (NASS), the national standard that uses the
highest-precision statistical procedures available.
Where that data does not exist, the next strongest data is used:
county-level crop insurance data from the Risk Management
Agency. If that data does not exist, the next strongest data is
used: NASS district data. Where NASS district data doesn’t
exist, the FSA State Committees provide data.
Because the new programs are designed as financial assistance
for prices and revenues lower than normal, not all producers
will receive a payment, (as occurred with the old direct
payments program). ARC/PLC payments are designed to help with
unexpected changes in the marketplace, and to supplement other
assistance programs, such as crop insurance. To learn more about
the data used in calculating payments, how payments are
calculated, crop-specific and state-specific information, please
visit our website at
New Provisions - USDA Adds More Eligible Commodities for Farm
Storage Facility Loans (FSFL's)
FSA’s FSFL program, provides low-interest financing to producers
to build or upgrade storage facilities, and will now include
dairy, flowers and meats as eligible commodities.
The new commodities eligible for facility loans include
floriculture, hops, rye, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, meat and
poultry (unprocessed), eggs, and aquaculture (excluding systems
that maintain live animals through uptake and discharge of
water). Commodities already eligible for the loans include corn,
grain sorghum, soybeans, oats, wheat, barley, minor oilseeds
harvested as whole grain, pulse crops (lentils, chickpeas and
dry peas), hay, honey, renewable biomass, and fruits, nuts and
vegetables for cold storage facilities.
FSFL’s are designed to assist a diverse range of farming
operations, including small and mid-sized businesses, new
farmers, operations supplying local food and farmers markets,
non-traditional farm products, and underserved producers.
To learn more about FSFL’s, visit
www.fsa.usda.gov/pricesupport or contact your local FSA
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.
Producers who suffer eligible livestock, honeybee, or
farm-raised fish losses from October 1, 2015 to September 30,
2016 must file:
A notice of loss the earlier of 30 calendar days of when the
loss is apparent or by November 1, 2016.
An application for payment by November 1, 2016.
The Farm Bill caps ELAP disaster funding at $20 million per
federal fiscal year.
To view ELAP Farm-Raised Fish, ELAP for Livestock or ELAP for
Honeybee fact sheets visit the FSA fact sheet web page at
MAL's Available for Crop Years 2015-2018
The 2014 farm bill authorizes 2014-2018 crop year Marketing
Assistance Loans (MAL’s).
MALs provide financing and marketing assistance for wheat, feed
grains, soybeans, and other oilseeds, pulse crops, wool 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
FSA is now accepting requests for 2015 crop MALs for all
eligible commodities after harvest.
The 2014 Farm Bill also establishes payment limitations per
individual or entity not to exceed $125,000 annually on certain
commodities for the following program benefits: ARC PLC,
marketing loan gains (MLGs) and LDPs. These payment limitations
do not apply to MAL loan disbursements.
For more information and additional eligibility requirements,
please visit a nearby USDA Service Center or FSA’s website
Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)
The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provides assistance to
eligible producers for livestock death losses in excess of
normal mortality due to an extreme or abnormal adverse weather
event and/or attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by
the federal government or protected by federal law. LIP
compensates livestock owners and contract growers for livestock
death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse
weather, including losses due to hurricanes, floods, blizzards,
wildfires, extreme heat or extreme cold.
For 2015, eligible losses must occur on or after Jan. 1, 2015,
and before December 31, 2015. A notice of loss must be filed
with FSA within 30 days of when the loss of livestock is
apparent. Participants must provide the following supporting
documentation to their local FSA office no later than 30
calendar days after the end of the calendar year for which
benefits are requested:
Proof of death documentation
Copy of growers contracts
Proof of normal mortality documentation
USDA is partnering with
21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to
nearly double the number of fueling pumps nationwide that supply
renewable fuels to American motorists. In May 2015, USDA announced
the availability of $100
million in grants through the BIP, and that to apply
states and private partners match the federal funding by a 1:1
ratio. USDA received applications requesting over $130 million,
outpacing the $100 million that is available. With the matching
commitments by state and private entities, the BIP is investing a
total of $210 million to strengthen the rural economy.
The 21 states
participating in the BIP include Illinois. To see a list of all the
participating states and the amount awarded to each state please
energy-programs/bip/index. The final awards being
are estimated to expand infrastructure by nearly 5,000 pumps at over
1,400 fueling stations.
A typical gas pump
delivers fuel with 10 percent ethanol, which limits the amount of
renewable energy that consumers can purchase. The new partnership
will increase the number of pumps, storage and related
infrastructure that will offer higher blends of ethanol, such as
E15, E85, and even intermediate combination blends.
USDA’s Office of the
Chief Economist just released a comprehensive report on ethanol. The
report, titled U.S. Ethanol: An Examination of Policy, Production,
Use, Distribution, and Market Interactions, brings clarity to the
complex interaction of ethanol production with agricultural markets
and government policies. The corn ethanol industry is the largest
biofuel producer in the country, with production increasing from
about 1.6 billion gallons in 2000 to just over 14 billion gallons in
2014, stimulating economic activity in rural communities. Visit www.usda.gov/oce/
read the complete report.
For more information
concerning BIP and involvement by the USDA Farm Service Agency,
December Interest Rates
Commodity Loans 1996-Present 1.37%
Farm Storage Facility Loans
7 Year 2.00%
Farm Storage Facility Loans
10 Year 2.25%
Farm Storage Facility Loans
12 Year 2.37%
Emergency Farm Loans 3.375%
Unauthorized Disposition of Grain
If loan grain has been disposed of through feeding, selling or
any other form of disposal without prior written authorization
from the county office staff, it is considered unauthorized
disposition. The financial penalties for unauthorized
dispositions are severe and a producer’s name will be placed on
a loan violation list for a two-year period. Always call before
you haul any grain under loan.
Dairy Indemnity Payment Program (DIPP)
The 2014 Farm Bill authorized the extension of the Dairy
Indemnity Payment Program (DIPP) through September 30, 2018.
DIPP provides payments to dairy producers and manufacturers of
dairy products when they are directed to remove their raw milk
or products from the market because of contamination.
Dates to Remember
Dec. 1 - Feb. 26 Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
General Sign Up
December 7 ARC/PLC 2016 Enrollment Begins
December 25 Christmas Day Holiday - USDA Service Center
December 31 Deadline for 2015 - Livestock Losses for LIP
January 1 New Year's Day Holiday - USDA Service Center
January 30 Deadline to submit LIP supporting
documentation and application for LIP payment
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
3500 Wabash Ave
Springfield, IL 62711
State Executive Director:
Scherrie V. Giamanco
State Executive Officer:
Please contact your local FSA Office for questions specific to your
operation or county.