My dreams in February of 1994 when I came to FSA did not begin
to imagine the experiences that have become a wonderful reality.
The FSA Team and I have built relationships with Illinois
Agriculture organizations and individuals that are strong.
Together we have worked through the good days, the challenging
days, and each day of service. We have given and received our
best to each other, Illinois producers, the American people and
Illinois FSA. As I have said before, being in service to the
American people is an honor for which I am grateful and I can
only hope that IL FSA has made each of your lives a little
I consider Illinois Producers to be some of the wisest,
conservation oriented, generous, family-oriented, and successful
in the world. Our partnership with you is here to ensure this
country has a multitude of producers, rather than just a few,
who could dictate the supply and the price of our food.
FSA Farm Programs and Farm Loans help level the playing field
from year to year. We acknowledge and thank you by providing the
best in service and greeting you with a cheerful smile even when
some days are challenging.
Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year to you and
Have the happiest holiday ever.
Scherrie V. Giamanco
State Executive Director
Illinois Farm Service Agency
Farm Service Agency Extends Voting Deadline for County
The deadline to submit ballots for the USDA Farm Service Agency
(FSA) 2016 County Committee Elections has been extended to
ensure farmers and ranchers have sufficient time to vote.
Eligible voters now have until Dec. 13, 2016 to return ballots
to their local FSA offices.
FSA has modified the ballot, making it easily identifiable and
less likely to be overlooked. Ballots returned by mail must be
postmarked no later than Dec. 13, 2016. Newly elected committee
members will take office Jan. 1, 2017.
Nearly 7,700 FSA County Committee members serve FSA offices
nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who
serve three-year terms of office. One-third of County Committee
seats are up for election each year. County Committee members
apply their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important
decisions on its commodity support, conservation, indemnity,
disaster and emergency programs.
Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be
eligible to vote in the County Committee election. Approximately
1.5 million producers are currently eligible to vote. Farmers
and ranchers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of
an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, also may be
eligible to vote.
For more information, visit the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections
or contact the local County FSA office.
FSAfarm+, FSA’s Customer Self-Service Portal
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency
(FSA) has launched a new tool to provide farmers and ranchers
with remote access to their personal farm information using
their home computers. Farmers and ranchers can now view, print
or export their personal farm data all without visiting an FSA
The program, known as FSAfarm+, provides you with secure access
to view your personal FSA data, such as base and yields,
Conservation Reserve Program data, other conservation program
acreage, Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland
Conservation status information, field boundaries, farm imagery,
name and address details, contact information and membership
interest and shares in the operation. This data will be
available in real time, at no cost to the producer and allow
operators and owners to export and print farm records, including
maps. Producers also can electronically share their data with a
crop insurance agent from their own personal computer.
Farm operators and owners first will need “Level 2
eAuthentication” to access the webportal. This level of security
ensures that personal information is protected for each user.
Level 2 access can be obtained by going to www.eauth.usda.gov,
completing the required information and then visiting your local
FSA office to finalize access.
For more information on FSAfarm+, the customer self-service
portal, contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA
county office, click
USDA Announces Streamlined Guaranteed Loans and Additional
Lender Category for Small-Scale Operators
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the
availability of a streamlined version of USDA guaranteed loans,
which are tailored for smaller scale farms and urban producers.
The program, called EZ Guarantee Loans, uses a simplified
application process to help beginning, small, underserved and
family farmers and ranchers apply for loans of up to $100,000
from USDA-approved lenders to purchase farmland or finance
USDA today also unveiled a new category of lenders that will
join traditional lenders, such as banks and credit unions, in
offering USDA EZ Guarantee Loans. Microlenders, which include
Community Development Financial Institutions and Rural
Rehabilitation Corporations, will be able to offer their
customers up to $50,000 of EZ Guaranteed Loans, helping to reach
urban areas and underserved producers. Banks, credit unions and
other traditional USDA-approved lenders, can offer customers up
to $100,000 to help with agricultural operation costs.
EZ Guarantee Loans offer low interest rates and terms up to
seven years for financing operating expenses and 40 years for
financing the purchase of farm real estate. USDA-approved
lenders can issue these loans with the Farm Service Agency (FSA)
guaranteeing the loan up to 95 percent.
USDA is providing a 90-day period for the public to review and
comment on program improvements. To review program details,
visit www.regulations.gov, reference RIN 0560-AI34 and follow
the instructions to submit comments.
More than half of all FSA loans go to new farmers and more than
a quarter to underserved borrowers. FSA also offers loans of up
to $5,000 to young farmers and ranchers though the Youth Loan
Program. Loans are made to eligible youth to finance
agricultural projects, with almost 9,000 young people now
participating. More information about the available types of FSA
farm loans can be found at www.fsa.usda.gov/farmloans or by
contacting your local FSA office. To find your nearest office
location, visit http://offices.usda.gov
Preauthorized Debit Available for Farm Loan Borrowers
USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has implemented pre-authorized
debit (PAD) for Farm Loan Program (FLP) borrowers. PAD is a
voluntary and alternative method for making weekly, bi-weekly,
monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual payments on loans.
PAD payments are pre authorized transactions that allow the
National Financial and Accounting Operations Center (NFAOC) to
electronically collect loan payments from a customer’s account
at a financial institution.
PAD may be useful for borrowers who use nonfarm income from
regular wages or salary to make payments on loans or adjustment
offers or for payments from seasonal produce stands. PAD can
only be established for future payments.
To request PAD, customers, along with their financial
institution, must fill out form RD 3550-28. This form has no
expiration date, but a separate form RD 3550-28 must be
completed for each loan to which payments are to be applied. A
fillable form can be accessed on the USDA Rural Development (RD)
website at http://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/regulations-guidelines.
Click forms and search for “Form 3550-28.”
If you have a “filter” on the account at your financial
institution, you will need to provide the financial institution
with the following information: Origination ID: 1220040804,
Agency Name: USDA RD DCFO.
PAD is offered by FSA at no cost. Check with your financial
institution to discuss any potential cost. Preauthorized debit
has no expiration date, but you can cancel at any time by
submitting a written request to your local FSA office. If a
preauthorized debit agreement receives three payment rejections
within a three month period, the preauthorized debit agreement
will be cancelled by FSA. The payment amount and due date of
your loan is not affected by a cancellation of preauthorized
debit. You are responsible to ensure your full payment is made
by the due date.
For more information about PAD, contact your local FSA office.
To find a local FSA office, visit
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 2016 LDPs and Market Gains.
FSA can accept the CCC-941 for 2015, 2016 and 2017. Unlike the
past, producers must have the CCC-941 certifying their AGI
compliance before any payments can be issued.
USDA Offers New Loans for Portable Farm Storage and Handling
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will provide a new financing
option to help farmers purchase portable storage and handling
equipment through the Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program.
The loans, which now include a smaller microloan option with
lower down payments, are designed to help producers, including
new, small and mid-sized producers, grow their businesses and
markets. The FSFL program allows producers of eligible
commodities to obtain low-interest financing to build or upgrade
farm storage and handling facilities.
The program also offers a new “microloan” option, which allows
applicants seeking less than $50,000 to qualify for a reduced
down payment of five percent and no requirement to provide three
years of production history, with CCC providing a loan for the
remaining 95 percent of the net cost of the eligible FSFL
equipment. Farms and ranches of all sizes are eligible. The
microloan option is expected to be of particular benefit to
smaller farms and ranches, and specialty crop producers who may
not have access to commercial storage or on-farm storage after
harvest. These producers can invest in equipment like conveyers,
scales or refrigeration units and trucks that can store
commodities before delivering them to markets. FSFL microloans
can also be used to finance wash and pack equipment used
post-harvest, before a commodity is placed in cold storage.
Producers do not need to demonstrate the lack of commercial
credit availability to apply for FSFL’s.
Larger farming and ranching operations, that may not be able to
participate in the new “microloan” option, may apply for the
traditional, larger FSFL’s with the maximum principal amount for
each loan through FSFL of $500,000.00. Participants are required
to provide a down payment of 15 percent, with CCC providing a
loan for the remaining 85 percent of the net cost of the
eligible storage facility and permanent drying and handling
equipment. Additional security is required for poured-cement
open-bunker silos, renewable biomass facilities, cold storage
facilities, hay barns and for all loans exceeding $100,000.00.
FSFL loan terms of 3, 5, 7, 10 or 12 years are available
depending on the amount of the loan. Interest rates for each
term rate may be different and are based on the rate which CCC
borrows from the Treasury Department.
Earlier this year, FSA significantly expanded the list of
commodities eligible for FSFL. Eligible commodities now include
aquaculture; floriculture; fruits (including nuts) and
vegetables; corn, grain sorghum, rice, oilseeds, oats, wheat,
triticale, spelt, buckwheat, lentils, chickpeas, dry peas sugar,
barley, rye, hay, honey, hops, maple sap, unprocessed meat and
poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and renewable
Applications for FSFL must be submitted to the FSA county office
that maintains the farm's records. The FSFL application must be
approved before: purchasing the FSFL equipment, beginning any
excavation or site preparation, accepting delivery of FSFL
equipment, beginning installation or construction.
To learn more about Farm Storage Facility Loans, visit
www.fsa.usda.gov/pricesupport or contact a local FSA county
office. To find your local FSA county office, visit
Fruit, Vegetable and Wild Rice Planting Rules
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.
Marketing Assistance Loans Available for 2016 Crops
The 2014 Farm Bill authorized 2014-2018 crop year Marketing
Assistance Loans (MALs) and Loan Deficiency Payments (LDPs).
MALs provide financing and marketing assistance for 2016 crop
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
Illinois FSA county offices are now accepting requests for 2016
crop commodity and honey MALs and LDPs for eligible commodities
after harvest. As 2016 crop harvest wraps up, Illinois FSA
county offices are accepting requests for 2016 fall harvested
crops; corn, grain sorghum and soybeans.
A producer who is eligible to obtain an MAL, but agrees to forgo
the loan, may obtain an LDP if such a payment is available.
To be eligible for an MAL or an LDP, producers must have a
beneficial interest in the commodity, in addition to other
requirements. A producer retains beneficial interest when
control of and title to the commodity is maintained. For an LDP,
the producer must retain beneficial interest in the commodity
from the time of planting through the date the producer filed
Form CCC-633EZ (page 1) in the FSA County Office. For more
information, producers should contact their local FSA county
office or view the LDP Fact Sheet.
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USDA Partners with Farmers and Ranchers to Protect More Than
500,000 Acres of Working Grasslands
USDA will accept more than 504,000 acres that were offered
nationwide by producers during the recent ranking period for the
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands enrollment.
Through the voluntary CRP Grasslands program, grasslands
threatened by development or conversion to row crops are
maintained as livestock grazing areas, while providing important
Illinois will accept 8 offers totaling more than 1,864.7 acres.
Nationwide, over 70 percent of the acres are from beginning
farmers, veterans and underserved producers. About two-thirds of
the acres are in counties with the highest threat for
conversion. Additionally, nearly 60 percent of the acres are in
wildlife priority areas and nearly three-fourths of the acres
will have a wildlife-focused conservation plan as part of the
USDA is also reminding producers that it is still accepting
additional offers for CRP Grasslands. The current ranking period
that closes on Dec. 16, also includes a new CRP Grasslands
practice specifically tailored for small-scale livestock grazing
operations to encourage broader participation. Small livestock
operations with 100 or fewer head of grazing dairy cows (or the
equivalent) can submit applications to enroll up to 200 acres of
grasslands per farm. USDA’s goal is to enroll up to additional
200,000 acres. The new practice for small-scale livestock
grazing operations encourages greater diversity geographically
and in all types of livestock operation. Small livestock
operations are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service
Agency office to learn more about this program before Dec. 16,
to be considered as part of the current ranking period.
Small livestock operations or other farming and ranching
operations interested in participating in CRP Grasslands should
contact their local FSA office. To find your local FSA office,
visit http://offices.usda.gov. To learn more about FSA’s
conservation programs, visit
Each year, state committees will review and approve or
disapprove county committee recommended changes or additions to
specific combinations of crops.
Double-cropping is approved when the two specific crops have the
capability to be planted and carried to maturity for the
intended use, as reported by the producer, on the same acreage
within a crop year under normal growing conditions. The specific
combination of crops recommended by the county committee must be
approved by the state committee.
Double-cropping is approved in Illinois on a county-by-county
basis. Contact your local FSA Office for a list of approved
double-cropping combinations for your county.
A crop following a cover crop terminated according to
termination guidelines is approved double cropping and these
combinations do not have to be approved by the state committee.
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
- 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
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
Cover Crop Guidelines
Recently the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources
Conservation Service (NRCS) and Risk Management Agency (RMA)
worked together to develop consistent, simple and a flexible
policy for cover crop practices.
The termination and reporting guidelines were updated for cover
The cover crop termination guidelines provide the timeline for
terminating cover crops, are based on zones and apply to
non-irrigated cropland. To view the zones and additional
main/national/landuse/crops/ and click “Cover Crop
The intended use of cover only will be used to report cover
crops. This includes crops that were terminated by tillage and
reported with an intended use code of green manure. An FSA
policy change will allow cover crops to be hayed and grazed.
Program eligibility for the cover crop that is being hayed or
grazed will be determined by each specific program.
If the crop reported as cover only is harvested for any use
other than forage or grazing and is not terminated properly,
then that crop will no longer be considered a cover crop.
Crops reported with an intended use of cover only will not count
toward the total cropland on the farm. In these situations a
subsequent crop will be reported to account for all cropland on
Cover crops include grasses, legumes, and forbs, for seasonal
cover and other conservation purposes. Cover crops are primarily
used for erosion control, soil health Improvement, and water
quality improvement. The cover crop may be terminated by natural
causes, such as frost, or intentionally terminated through
chemical application, crimping, rolling, tillage or cutting. A
cover crop managed and terminated according to NRCS Cover Crop
Termination Guidelines is not considered a crop for crop
Cover crops can be planted: with no subsequent crop planted,
before a subsequent crop, after prevented planting acreage,
after a planted crop, or into a standing crop.
CRP Provides Opportunity to Improve Pollinator Nutrition
While Restoring or Enhancing Habitat
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 2016, eligible losses must occur on or after January 1,
2016, and before December 31, 2016. 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 (January 30,
2017) for which benefits are requested:
- Proof of death documentation
- Copy of growers contracts
- Proof of normal mortality documentation
The Farm Service Agency is committed to supporting insect
pollination and the health and well-being of honey bees and
other pollinators through the CRP Program. Ongoing efforts aim
to increase the percentage of fast blooming forage legumes and
other inexpensive wildflowers that have traditionally been a
part of CRP plant mixes. The CP42 Pollinator Habitat Practice,
first introduced in 2012, offers landowners a way to create
longer-lasting meadows of high quality native wildflowers that
support pollinators and other wildlife throughout the growing
Participants of newly enrolled CRP pollinator habitat practices
are eligible to receive annual rental payments, cost share
payment covering up to 50% of the cost of establishing the
pollinator practice, a $150 Sign-up Incentive Payment for each
Continuous CRP acre enrolled in CP42, and a cost share payment
covering 50% of the cost of mid-contract management. Effective
December 1, 2016, enrollment in CP42 is limited to a maximum of
100 acres per farm.
CP42 practices are comprised of native plant species and
includes a variety of plants that flower at different times
throughout the growing seasons, providing pollen sources that
are critical for honey bee and native bee health and habitat for
migrating pollinators such as monarch butterflies. Planting in
blocks is preferred over strip plantings, and each block or
strip of habitat must be a minimum of 0.5 acres.
For questions regarding CRP and Pollinator Habitats, please
contact your local FSA office.
2017 Acreage Reporting Dates
In order to comply with FSA program eligibility requirements,
all producers are encouraged to visit their local FSA office to
file an accurate crop certification report by the applicable
Acreage reporting dates vary by crop and by county, so please
contact your local FSA office for a list of county-specific
The following exceptions apply to acreage reporting dates:
- If the crop has not been planted by the applicable
acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be
reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting
- If a producer acquires additional acreage after the
applicable acreage reporting date, then the acreage must
be reported no later than 30 calendar days after
purchase or acquiring the lease. Appropriate
documentation must be provided to the county office.
- 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 15th.
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders
should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP covered
crops is the earlier of the applicable dates 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 FSA office.
The following 2017 acreage reporting dates are applicable for
January 2, 2017- honey
January 15, 2017 - apples, asparagus, blueberries, caneberries,
cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums,
June 15, 2017 - cucumbers (planted 5/1 – 5/31)
July 15, 2017 - All other spring and summer planted crops
August 15, 2017 - cabbage (planted 6/1 – 7/20)
September 15, 2017 - cucumbers (planted 6/1 – 8/15)
December Interest Rates and Important Dates to Remember
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).
Illinois Farm Service Agency
3500 Wabash Ave.
Springfield, IL 62711
State Executive Director:
Scherrie V. Giamanco
Brenda Hill- Member
Jerry Jimenez- Member
State Executive Officer:
To find contact information for your local office go to