Illinois FSA July Newsletter

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[August 16, 2017]    FSA County Committee Nomination Period in County Offices Now Open - The nomination period for the FSA County Committees opened on June 15, 2017. Nomination forms must be postmarked or received in the County FSA Office by close of business on Aug. 1, 2017

County Committees are unique to FSA and allow producers to have a voice on federal farm program implementation at the local level. 

To be eligible to serve on the FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in an agency administered program, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the Local Administrative Area (LAA) where they are nominated. All producers, including women, minority and beginning farmers and ranchers are encouraged to participate in the nomination and election process. 

Producers may nominate themselves or others as candidates. Organizations representing minority and women farmers and ranchers may also nominate candidates.  To become a nominee, eligible individuals must sign form FSA-669A. The form and more information about county committee elections is available online at:  www.fsa.usda. gov/elections.  

Elected county committee members serve a three-year term and are responsible for making decisions on FSA disaster, conservation, commodity and price support programs, as well as other important federal farm program issues.  County committees consist of three members. 

FSA will mail election ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 6. Ballots are due back in the the County Office by mail or in person no later than Dec. 4.  All newly elected county committee members and alternates will take office January 1, 2018.  

For more information about county committees, please contact your County FSA office or visit www.fsa.usda. gov/elections

Enrollment Period for 2017 Safety Net Coverage Continues through August 1

Producers on farms with base acres under the safety net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, can visit their local FSA office to sign contracts and enroll for the 2017 crop year.  The enrollment period will continue until Aug. 1, 2017

Since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to-year, producers on the farm must enroll by signing a contract each program year.  

If a farm is not enrolled during the 2017 enrollment period, the producers on that farm will not be eligible for financial assistance from the ARC or PLC programs for the 2017 crop should crop prices or farm revenues fall below the historical price or revenue benchmarks established by the program. Producers who made their elections in 2015 must still enroll during the 2017 enrollment period.

The ARC and PLC 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 

Permitted Revision of Intended use After Acreage Reporting Date

New operators or owners who pick up a farm after the acreage reporting deadline has passed and the crop has already been reported on the farm, have 30 days to change the intended use.  Producer share interest changes alone will not allow for revisions to intended use after the acreage reporting date.  The revision must be performed by either the acreage reporting date or within 30 calendar days from the date when the new operator or owner acquired the lease on land, control of the land or ownership and new producer crop share interest in the previously reported crop acreage.  Under this policy, appropriate documentation must be provided to the County Committee’s satisfaction to determine that a legitimate operator or ownership and producer crop share interest change occurred to permit the revision.

Guaranteed Loan Program

FSA guaranteed loans allow lenders to provide agricultural credit to farmers who do not meet the lender's normal underwriting criteria.  Farmers and ranchers apply for a guaranteed loan through a lender, and the lender arranges for the guarantee.  FSA can guarantee up to 95 percent of the loss of principal and interest on a loan.  Guaranteed loans can be used for both farm ownership and operating purposes.   

Guaranteed farm ownership loans can be used to purchase farmland, construct or repair buildings, develop farmland to promote soil and water conservation or to refinance debt.  

Guaranteed operating loans can be used to purchase livestock, farm equipment, feed, seed, fuel, farm chemicals, insurance and other operating expenses.  

FSA can guarantee farm ownership and operating loans up to $1,399,000.  Repayment terms vary depending on the type of loan, collateral and the producer's ability to repay the loan.  Operating loans are normally repaid within seven years and farm ownership loans are not to exceed 40 years.  

Please contact your lender or local FSA farm loan office for more information on guaranteed loans.  

Supervised Credit

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Loan programs are considered supervised credit. Unlike loans from a commercial lender, FSA loans are intended to be temporary in nature. Therefore, it is our goal to help you graduate to commercial credit, and our farm loan staff is available to help borrowers through training and credit counseling. 

The FSA team will help borrowers identify their goals to ensure financial success.  Through this process, FSA staff will advise borrowers in developing strategies and a plan to meet your operation’s goals and graduate to commercial credit. Ultimately, the borrower is responsible for the success of the farming operation, but FSA’s staff will help in an advisory role to provide the tools necessary to help you achieve your operational goals and manage your finances. 

For more information on FSA farm loan programs, visit

Annual Review of Payment Eligibility for New Crop Year

All participants of FSA programs who request program benefits are required to submit a completed CCC-902 Farming Operation Plan and CCC-941 Average Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Certification and Consent to Disclosure of Tax Information to be considered for payment eligibility and payment limitation applicable for program benefits.  

Participants are not required to annually submit new CCC-902s for payment eligibility and payment limitation purposes unless a change in the farming operation occurs that may affect the determination of record. A  valid CCC-902 filed by the participant is considered to be a continuous certification used for all payment eligibility and payment limitation determinations applicable for the program benefits requested.  

Participants are responsible for ensuring all CCC-902 and CCC-941 and related forms on file in the county office are correct at all times.  Participants are required to timely notify the county office of any changes in the farming operation that may affect the determination of record by filing a new or updated CCC-902 as applicable.                            

Changes that may require a NEW determination include, but are not limited to, a change of:

  • Shares of a contract, which may reflect:

    • A land lease from cash rent to share rent

    • A land lease from share rent to cash rent (subject to the cash rent tenant rule)

    • A modification of a variable/fixed bushel-rent arrangement

  • The size of the producer’s farming operation by the addition or reduction of cropland that may affect the application of a cropland factor

  • The structure of the farming operation, including any change to a member's share

  • The contribution of farm inputs of capital, land, equipment, active personal labor, and/or active personal management

  • Farming interests not previously disclosed on CCC-902 including the farming interests of a spouse or minor child

  • Financial status that may affect the 3-year average for the determination of average AGI or other changes that affects eligibility under the average adjusted gross income limitations.

Participants are encouraged to file or review these forms within the deadlines established for each applicable program for which program benefits are being requested. 

Conduct USDA Business online by creating an eAuthentication Account

The Internet allows you, the customer, access to USDA information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  You can fill out and submit electronic forms (eForms) any time of the day or night from anywhere you have Internet access.  This new service delivery option allows you to complete and file your own forms or applications online, because your signature is already electronically "on file." 

Information submitted to the Federal Government remains safe and secure because every customer has a unique User ID and password; only authorized USDA employees can access your information. It's safe, saves paper, saves a visit to your local USDA Service Center and provides electronic tracking of all your USDA transactions. 

How to Sign Up for eAuth:

Begin the process by reviewing the information at the USDA Website This website describes the services available for Level 1 and Level 2 Accounts. 

Level 1 and Level 2 accounts require that you have an email address so you can register, create a customer profile, and be able to respond to a confirmation email. 

Level 1 Accounts do not require you to provide proof of your identity at a local USDA Service Center.  Level 1 Accounts provide limited access to certain USDA Web site portals that require no authentication or authorization. 

A Level 2 Account does require a visit to a USDA Service Center with proof of your identity.  That is because a Level 2 account allows you access to complete and submit documents and forms electronically. 


STEP 1. To obtain a Level 1 Account, you may self-register online at

Scroll down and click on the button that says “Sign Up for a Level 1 Account.” Complete the brief customer profile.

STEP 2. You will receive a confirmation email, and you must respond to it within 7 days to activate your account. 


STEP 1. To obtain a Level 2 Account, you must complete an 18 question customer profile and prove your identity by presenting state or federal photo ID at a local USDA Service Center.  Go to, scroll down and click on “Sign Up for a Level 2 Account.”  Complete your customer profile, which includes designating your user ID and password created by you, contact information and email information.  The data you enter in your customer profile must match the data on the document you use as identification at your local USDA Service Center. Example: Your first and last names and address must match the government-issued photo ID you plan to use to prove your identity.  Identify proof can only be verified by one of the following documents: Current State Driver’s License, State Photo ID, US Military ID, or United States Passport.

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STEP 2. After completing your customer profile and submitting it online, you will receive a confirmation email, and you must respond to it within 7 days to activate your account.

STEP 3. Then you must complete the “Identify Proofing” process by visiting a local USDA Service Center.  You will be required to present the eligible photo ID to an USDA employee who will verify your identity and enter the expiration date of the ID document used.

STEP 4. The USDA employee then will update your customer profile to a Level 2 Account. You will have access to USDA online applications and forms within one hour of your account being updated. 

You now have access to complete and submit documents and forms electronically.  USDA continues to update and make more forms and programs available electronically. 

Farm Storage Facility Loans

FSA’s Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program provides low-interest financing to producers to build or upgrade storage facilities and to purchase portable (new or used) structures, equipment and storage and handling trucks. 

The low-interest funds can be used to build or upgrade permanent facilities to store commodities. Eligible commodities include corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, oats, peanuts, wheat, barley, minor oilseeds harvested as whole grain, pulse crops (lentils, chickpeas and dry peas), hay, honey, renewable biomass, fruits, nuts and vegetables for cold storage facilities, floriculture, hops, maple sap, rye, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, meat and poultry (unprocessed), eggs, and aquaculture (excluding systems that maintain live animals through uptake and discharge of water).  Qualified facilities include grain bins, hay barns and cold storage facilities for eligible commodities. 

Loans up to $50,000 can be secured by a promissory note/security agreement and loans between $50,000 and $100,000 may require additional security.  Loans exceeding $100,000 require additional security. 

Producers do not need to demonstrate the lack of commercial credit availability to apply.  The loans 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 the FSA Farm Storage Facility Loan, visit www.fsa.  or contact your local FSA county office.   To find your local FSA county office, visit

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP)

ELAP provides emergency relief for losses due to feed or water shortages, disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, which are not adequately addressed by other disaster programs.  

ELAP covers physically damaged or destroyed livestock feed that was purchased or mechanically harvested forage or feedstuffs intended for use as feed for the producer's eligible livestock.  In order to be considered eligible, harvested forage must be baled. Forage that is only cut, raked or windrowed is not eligible. Producers must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent. 

For beekeepers, ELAP covers beehive losses (the physical structure) in instances where the hive has been destroyed by a natural disaster including flooding, high winds, wildfire and tornadoes. 

Producers with a qualifying loss should contact their county FSA office to file a notice of loss within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent.  Producers should also maintain records and receipts documenting that livestock were removed from the grazing pasture due to wildfire, costs of transporting livestock feed to eligible livestock, receipts for equipment rental fees for hay lifts, feed purchase receipts and the number of gallons of water transported to livestock due to water shortages.  

For more information regarding ELAP, please contact your County FSA Office or

Breaking New Ground

Agricultural producers are reminded to consult with FSA and NRCS before breaking out new ground for production purposes as doing so without prior authorization may put a producer’s federal farm program benefits in jeopardy.  This is especially true for land that must meet Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions.  

Producers with HEL determined soils are required to apply tillage, crop residue and rotational requirements as specified in their conservation plan.   

Producers should notify FSA as a first point of contact prior to conducting land clearing or drainage type projects to ensure the proposed actions meet compliance criteria such as clearing any trees to create new cropland, then these areas will need to be reviewed to ensure such work will not risk your eligibility for benefits.  

Landowners and operators complete the form AD-1026 - Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification to identify the proposed action and allow FSA to determine whether a referral to Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for further review is necessary. 

Reporting Organic Crops

Producers who want to use the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) organic price and selected the "organic" option on their NAP application must report their crops as organic.  

When certifying organic acres, the buffer zone acreage must be included in the organic acreage. 

Producers must also provide a current organic plan, organic certificate or documentation from a certifying agent indicating an organic plan is in effect.  Documentation must include:

  • name of certified individuals

  • address

  • telephone number

  • effective date of certification

  • certificate number

  • list of commodities certified

  • name and address of certifying agent

  • a map showing the specific location of each field of certified organic, including the buffer zone acreage 

Certification exemptions are available for producers whose annual gross agricultural income from organic sales totals $5,000 or less.  Although exempt growers are not required to provide a written certificate, they are still required to provide a map showing the specific location of each field of  certified organic, transitional and buffer zone acreage. 

For questions about reporting organic crops, contact your local FSA office.   To find your local office, visit  http://

Bins are ideally designed to hold a level volume of grain.  When bins are overfilled and grain is heaped up, airflow is hindered and the chance of spoilage increases.

Producers who take out marketing assistance loans and use the farm-stored grain as collateral should remember that they are responsible for maintaining the quality of the grain through the term of the loan.

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.

ARC/PLC Acreage Maintenance

Producers enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs must protect all cropland and noncropland acres on the farm from wind and water erosion and noxious weeds.  Producers who sign ARC county or individual contracts and PLC contracts agree to effectively control noxious weeds on the farm according to sound agricultural practices.  If a producer fails to take necessary actions to correct a maintenance problem on a farm enrolled in ARC or PLC, the County Committee may elect to terminate the contract for the program year.

Maintaining the Quality of Farm-Stored Loan Grain

Bins are ideally designed to hold a level volume of grain.  When bins are overfilled and grain is heaped up, airflow is hindered and the chance of spoilage increases.

Producers who take out marketing assistance loans and use the farm-stored grain as collateral should remember that they are responsible for maintaining the quality of the grain through the term of the loan.

July Interest Rates and Important Dates to Remember

Illinois Farm Service Agency
3500 Wabash Ave.
Springfield, IL 62711

Phone: 217-241-6600
Fax: 885-800-1760

Acting State Executive Director:
Richard L. Graden

Acting State Committee:
Jill Appell-Chairperson
Brenda Hill-Member
Jerry Jimenez-Member
Joyce Matthews-Member
Gordon Stine-Member

Administrative Officer:
Dan Puccetti

Division Chiefs:
Doug Bailey
Jeff Koch
Randy Tillman

To find contact information for your local office go to

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. 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).


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