Farm Scoop – April 2018
USDA Offers Targeted Farm Loan Funding for Underserved Groups and Beginning Farmers
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Maine Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director SED David R. Lavway reminds producers that FSA offers specially targeted farm ownership and farm operating loans to underserved applicants as well as beginning farmers and ranchers.
During fiscal year 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2017), Maine FSA obligated $5.19 million in loans to underserved borrowers and beginning farmers and ranchers.
USDA defines underserved applicants as a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of the group without regard to their individual qualities. For farm loan program purposes, underserved groups are women, African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Hispanics and Asians and Pacific Islanders.
In order to qualify as a beginning farmer, the individual or entity must meet the eligibility requirements outlined for direct or guaranteed loans. Additionally, individuals and all entity members must have operated a farm for less than 10 years. Applicants must materially or substantially participate in the operation. For farm ownership purposes, the applicant must not own a farm greater than 30 percent of the average size farm in the county at the time of application. All direct farm ownership applicants must have participated in the business operations of a farm for at least three years out of the last 10 years prior to the date the application is submitted. If the applicant is an entity, all members must be related by blood or marriage and all entity members must be eligible beginning farmers.
Healthy Soils, Healthy Farms: Farm Tour & Policy Update
May 10 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Hear from MFT & Maine Conservation Voters about policy initiatives that can foster healthy soils practices on farms, and how you can help shape policies that are good for farms and good for the environment.
Free & Open to All. Dress for a farm tour (sensible footwear, layers).
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 9.
Farm Service Agency Makes Administrative Change to the Livestock Indemnity Program
Starting today, agricultural producers who have lost livestock to disease, resulting from a weather disaster, have an additional way to become eligible for a key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance program. USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey announced an administrative clarification nationwide to the Livestock Indemnity Program. In the event of disease, this change by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) authorizes local FSA county committees to accept veterinarian certifications that livestock deaths were directly related to adverse weather and unpreventable through good animal husbandry and management. The committees may then use this certification to allow eligibility for producers on a case-by-case basis for LIP.
LIP provides benefits to agricultural producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather, disease or by attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government. Eligible weather events include earthquakes, hail, tornadoes, hurricanes, storms, blizzard and flooding.
Producers interested in LIP or other USDA disaster assistance programs should contact The Oxford County USDA Office, 17 Olson Rd, South Paris, ME. 04281
Crop Insurance Deadline Nears in Maine
Nursery Growers Need to Make Insurance Decisions Soon
USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) reminds Maine nursery growers that the final date to apply for crop insurance coverage for the 2019 crop year is May 1. Current policyholders who wish to make changes to their existing coverage also have until the May 1 sales closing date to do so. Growers applying for the first time may purchase coverage at any time.
Federal crop insurance is critical to the farm safety net. It helps growers and owners manage revenue risks and strengthens the rural economy. Coverage begins 30 days after receipt of a signed application, Plant Inventory Value Report for each insured practice, and two copies of the grower’s most recent wholesale catalog or price list. More information on nursery crop insurance is available at RMA’s Nursery Policy web page.
Growers are encouraged to visit their crop insurance agent to learn specific details for the 2019 crop year. Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator. Growers can use the RMA Cost Estimator to get a premium amount estimate of their insurance needs online.
For more information about crop insurance and the modern farm safety net, visit www.rma.usda.gov.
USDA Reopens Enrollment for Improved Dairy Safety Net Tool
Bipartisan Budget Act Makes Substantial Program Changes
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is encouraging dairy producers to consider enrolling in the new and improved Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy), which will provide better protections for dairy producers from shifting milk and feed prices. With changes authorized under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has set the enrollment period to run from April 9, 2018 to June 1, 2018.
The program protects dairy producers by paying them when the difference between the national all-milk price and the national average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount elected by the producer.
Dairy operations must make a new coverage election for 2018, even if you enrolled during the previous 2018 signup period. Coverage elections made for 2018 will be retroactive to January 1, 2018. All dairy operations desiring coverage must sign up during the enrollment period and submit an appropriate form (CCC-782) and dairy operations may still “opt out” by not submitting a form. All outstanding balances for 2017 and prior years must be paid in full before 2018 coverage is approved.
Dairy producers can participate in FSA’s MPP-Dairy or the Risk Management Agency’s Livestock Gross Margin Insurance Plan for Dairy Cattle (LGM-Dairy), but not both. During the 2018 enrollment period, only producers with an active LGM-Dairy policy who have targeted marketings insured in 2018 months will be allowed to enroll in MPP-Dairy by June 1, 2018; however, their coverage will start only after active target marketings conclude under LGM-Dairy.
USDA has a web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the MPP-Dairy that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource, which will be updated and available by April 9 at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, smartphone, tablet or any other platform.
Registration is open for Open Farm Day 2018!
get real. get Maine! Promotes Maine food, farms and forests.
Questions about registration? Please email us.
New for 2018!
We have some benchmarks and related pilot programs for 2018 to help connect consumers and attendees with Maine farmers during Open Farm Day 2018. This includes: an online map, a printable passport, and participant resources.
Online Map: Identify your GPS coordinates to be included in the *new* electronic guide map! To help us better share and publicize your participation to interested attendees, this year’s form asks for a GPS address. The GPS information will help us create an online map for attendees to search. You can >>use this online tool<< to enter your venue address, and get the latitude and longitude for your GPS address.
What to find on the farm: When our team receives questions about where they can purchase Maine products, or where to visit to learn about a certain type of crop or animal, we want to be able to connect attendees and customers with Maine farms. The 2018 form has more specific categories, and will help us share specific information in the Open Farm Day Passport.
Open Farm Day Passport: The printable and electronic guide for attendees will include a passport. It is a pilot program to encourage participation by attendees, and create relationships with farmers. We are asking farmers to initial an attendee’s passport next to the farm description. We are asking attendees to submit their signed passports and surveys to the Ag Resources team for prizes. The passport is scheduled for publication across the state in all seven daily newspapers, and visitor centers.
Participant Resources: these are designed as helpful tools for farmers. Look for the agritourism best practices, a sample certificate of insurance copy, pre-and post event survey about your participation goals, and tips on how to help promote your agritourism event!