Written by Bill Harmon /Farm Service Agency Wednesday, 30 May 2007 09:48
The Kansas Farm Service Agency is targeting and reaching out to underrepresented groups like women and minority farmers in the state in an effort to get more of them involved in its farm programs.
“We’re in the business of helping our farmers and ranchers—all of them,” said Bill Fuller, executive director of the Kansas Farm Service Agency.
“Our programs are generally well known throughout the ag community,” he said. “We do not have to promote their availability to the producers who have traditionally used them.
“But there may be producers, especially among women and minority farmers, who still are not aware of our programs and the benefits that may be available to them.
“We want to reach those producers and tell them the Farm Service Agency is here for them too.”
Fuller said that while FSA programs remain available to all producers, “We want to increase participation by traditionally under-represented groups.
Fuller summarized FSA’s major programs and stressed that they are open to all qualified producers.
Farm loans. FSA offers direct and guaranteed farm ownership and operating loan programs to farmers who are temporarily unable to obtain private, commercial credit and who meet other regulatory criteria.
Each year a portion of the funding FSA receives for loan programs is specifically targeted for socially disadvantaged persons and beginning farmers.
To qualify for an FSA loan, applicants must be U.S. citizens or resident aliens, have a satisfactory history of meeting credit obligations, a set amount of experience operating or managing a farm, and be unable to obtain credit elsewhere at reasonable rates and terms.
Youth loans. Loans up to $5,000 are available to rural youths to establish and operate income-producing projects of modest size in connection with their participation in 4-H, Future Farmers of America and similar organizations.
Eligible youth must be U.S. citizens between 10 and 20 years old, live in a town of less than 10,000 people and be unable to obtain a loan from other sources.
Loan proceeds may be used to buy livestock, equipment and supplies; buy, rent or repair needed tools and equipment; and pay operating expenses for running the project.
Disaster assistance. The Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program helps farmers who grow crops that are not eligible for regular crop insurance to recover from natural disasters.
NAP provides farmers growing eligible crops with protection that is comparable to the catastrophic risk protection plan provided by crop insurance.
Emergency loans. FSA provides emergency loans to help cover production and physical losses in counties declared disaster areas by the president, or designated as such by the secretary of agriculture or the FSA administrator.
Conservation programs. The Conservation Reserve Program protects the nation’s most fragile farmland by encouraging farmers to stop growing crops on highly erodible and environmentally sensitive land. Owners receive an annual rental payment in exchange for planting a protective cover of grass or trees on the land.
CRP offers under a general CRP Signup are only accepted during an announced signup period. Under the continuous sign up provisions, producers can enroll eligible land at any time.
Marketing assistance loans. This commodity loan program is for barley, corn, honey, grain sorghum, wool and mohair, oats, oilseeds (including soybeans), peanuts, wheat and upland cotton.
This program provides short-term loans that allow producers to borrow the value of their crops and use the crops as collateral. In lieu of a commodity loan, producers may request loan deficiency payments when the posted county price is below the county loan rate for a specific commodity.
Direct and counter-cyclical program. Aug. 3 is the final date for producers to enroll for the 2007 direct and counter-cyclical payments. Those producers that miss the Aug. 3 deadline have until Sept. 30 to signup and pay a late fee.
Direct payments are available for wheat, corn, barley, oats, grain sorghum, upland cotton and oilseeds.
Counter-cyclical payments will be issued if the effective price for a crop year is less than the target price.
There is a $40,000 payment limitation for direct payments and $65,000 for counter-cyclical payments.
Milk income loss contract extensions. This program financially compensates dairy producers when the monthly Boston Class I milk price falls below $16.94 per cwt.
The original program expired Sept. 30, 2005, and has been extended through Sept. 30, 2007. Payment is eligible on a maximum limitation of 2.4 million pounds of milk produced and marketed by the dairy operation per fiscal year.
Eligible dairy producers must enter into a contract with Commodity Credit Corp. and provide monthly milk marketing evidence.
Farm storage facility loans. Loans are available to build or upgrade farm storage and handling facilities. Loans have a maximum term of seven years.
Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements for a given program before FSA can extend program benefits.
For more information on these programs and other programs available through FSA, contact the Farm Service Agency at the county USDA Service Center, or on the Internet at www.fsa.usda.gov/ks.