California FSA Offices Reopen for Farm Loan Program Service

Offices Will Open Temporarily for Farm Loan Program

Message from USDA Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Aubrey J. D. Bettencourt:

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. [CLICK HERE to read official press release.] The following California FSA Offices will be open for Farm Loan Program Service only January 17th, 18th, and 22nd from 8am-4:30pm.

California Bakersfield Service Center 5080 California Ave, Suite 150, Bakersfield, CA (661) 336-0967
California Merced Service Center 2926 G Street, Suite 103, Merced, CA 95342 (209) 722-4119
California Modesto Service Center 3800 Cornucopia Way STE E, Modesto, CA (209) 491-9320
California Redding Service Center 3644 Avtech Pkwy, Redding, CA 96002 (530) 226-2568
California Salinas Service Center 744 La Guardia St Bldg A, Salinas, CA 93907 (831) 424-1036
California Santa Maria Service Center 920 E Stowell Rd, Santa Maria, CA 93455 (805) 928-9269
California Stockton Service Center 7585 S. Longe Street, Stockton, CA 95209 (209) 337-2124
California Ukiah Service Center 1252 Airport Park Blvd STE B1, Ukiah, CA 95483 (707) 468-9223
California Willows Service Center 132 N Enright Ave, Willows, CA 95988 (530) 934-4601
California Yreka Service Center 215 Executive CT STE A, Yreka, CA 96099 (530) 842-6123
California Yuba City Service Center 1521 Butte House Rd STE B, Yuba, City, CA 95994 (530) 671-0850

 

Farm Loan Program services available include Processing Payments made on or before Dec. 31, 2018, Continuing Expiring Financing Statements, and Responding to General Loan Inquires. Producers are encouraged to call their nearest FSA Farm Loan Program Service Center listed above with any questions.

Farm Program services, such as MFP, will not be administered at this time. However, due to the extension previously granted on MFP, I’d encourage your producers to email their applications to their FSA county directors, whose contact can be found here. MFP applications will be processed as soon as normal operations resume upon conclusion of the shutdown. Producers who already applied for MFP and certified their 2018 production by December 28, 2018 should have already received their payments.

In California, USDA County Service Centers NRCS offices are open daily.  Any NRCS inquires or business, producers can call or visit their county NRCS service center.

Please let me know if you or your members require any further information or clarification. I’m here to help however I can.

Aubrey.Bettencourt@CA.USDA.GOV    (O) 530.792.5540    (C) 530.219.8634

Freeze Damage Could Be Wide Spread

Deep Freeze May Have Caused Significant Damage to Almonds, Tree Fruit

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Editor’s note: Photo shows freeze damage to almonds ovule. On right is healthy ovule. On left, ovule died due to deep freeze. (Photo: Kern County Farm Bureau.)

While possible  freeze damage is still being calculated, we know that many areas of almonds and tree fruit have been damaged from recent hard freeze across the state, with temperatures as low as 23 degrees.

Daniel Jackson of Family Tree Farms, based in Reedley, reported that at least one block of peaches on sandy ground was lost.

“The sandy ground could not hold water to protect the roots from the freeze,” he said.

Jackson explained that the five-generation operation is waiting to see if more damage was suffered by the trees.

Significant almond damage could be widespread as the freezing temperatures struck the trees in full bloom.  If there is significant losses, it could result in higher almond prices around the world.

A report from Joel Nelsen, President 0f California Citrus Mutual, based in Exeter, noted no damage to the state’s citrus crops.

With California growers, ranchers, producers, and rural landowners experiencing recent freezing temperatures sweeping the state, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has multiple agencies that provide financial and/ or technical assistance to recover from natural disasters, such as freeze.

Listed below is an overview of applicable programs provided by the Farm Service Agency (FSA).

  • Tree Assistance Program: Provides financial assistance to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters. Forests are not eligible.
  • Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP): Provides compensation to producers who grow uninsurable crops and have purchased NAP coverage by the crop signup date.
  • For more information, visit http:// difsa.usda.gov

Please contact your local FSA County Office as soon as possible. Your local FSA specialists are available to assist you with the programs listed above and more.

 

USDA Farm Service Agency Offers Several Disaster Assistance Programs

Farm Service Agency (FSA) has a variety of programs available to help farmers and ranchers impacted by disasters, including the state’s drought. Complete details are on the FSA Disaster Assistance website.

Click on the programs below for additional details, or visit the FSA Disaster Assistance Program Please note signups for livestock programs begin in April.

• •

• Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire with retroactive authority to cover eligible losses back to Oct. 1, 2011. Sign-up will begin on or before April 15, 2014.

“These programs will provide long-awaited disaster relief for many livestock producers who have endured significant financial hardship from weather-related disasters while the programs were expired and awaiting Congressional action,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I prioritized the implementation of these disaster assistance programs now that the Farm Bill has restored and strengthened them.”

• Livestock Indemnity Payments (LIP) provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather and attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law, including wolves and avian predators with retroactive authority to cover eligible livestock losses back to Oct. 1, 2011. Sign-up will begin on or before April 15, 2014.

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP) provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm- raised fish for losses not covered by LFP and LIP. Signups will be announced in near future.

Tree Assistance 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 with retroactive authority to cover eligible losses back to Oct. 1, 2011. Signups will be announced in near future.

Farm Storage Facility Loan Program (FSFL) provides low-interest financing for producers to build or upgrade farm storage and handling facilities. The program was enhanced to include 23 new categories of eligible equipment for fruit and vegetable producers, and makes it easier for farmers and ranchers around the country to finance the equipment they need to grow and expand. The maximum loan amount is $500,000.

NRCS Conservation Drought Assistance to California Farmers & Ranchers

California has seen many droughts come and go, but 2014 is creating especially dire conditions for the State’s farmers and ranchers. You’ll find more information on the NRCS Drought Assistance website .

Drought Assistance from Rural Development

Rural Development has several programs that may help rural communities, businesses, ag producers, farm workers and others impacted by California’s ongoing drought. Opportunities include $3 million in Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants (ECWAG) to help rural communities whose water supply is at risk. Additional help is available for homeowners that need help drilling a well or connecting to a community water system, food banks that anticipate increased demand, ag producers wanting to offset ag irrigation costs, and others. For a list of available programs, and local contacts, visit Rural Development’s website.

USDA Modifies Farm Loan Programs to Give More Opportunity to Producers

Farm Loan Modifications Create Flexibility for Farmers and Ranchers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack TODAY announced increased opportunity for producers as a result of the 2014 Farm Bill. A fact sheet outlining modifications to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Loan Programs is available here.

“Our nation’s farmers and ranchers are the engine of the rural economy. These improvements to our Farm Loan Programs will help a new generation begin farming and grow existing farm operations,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Today’s announcement represents just one part of a series of investments the new Farm Bill makes in the next generation of agriculture, which is critical to economic growth in communities across the country.”

The Farm Bill expands lending opportunities for thousands of farmers and ranchers to begin and continue operations, including greater flexibility in determining eligibility, raising loan limits, and emphasizing beginning and socially disadvantaged producers.

Changes that will take effect immediately include:

  • Elimination of loan term limits for guaranteed operating loans.
  • Modification of the definition of beginning farmer, using the average farm size for the county as a qualifier instead of the median farm size.
  • Modification of the Joint Financing Direct Farm Ownership Interest Rate to 2 percent less than regular Direct Farm Ownership rate, with a floor of 2.5 percent. Previously, the rate was established at 5 percent.
  • Increase of the maximum loan amount for Direct Farm Ownership down payments from $225,000 to $300,000.
  • Elimination of rural residency requirement for Youth Loans, allowing urban youth to benefit.
  • Debt forgiveness on Youth Loans, which will not prevent borrowers from obtaining additional loans from the federal government.
  • Increase of the guarantee amount on Conservation Loans from 75 to 80 percent and 90 percent for socially disadvantaged borrowers and beginning farmers.
  • Microloans will not count toward loan term limits for veterans and beginning farmers.

Additional modifications must be implemented through the rulemaking processes. Visit the FSA Farm Bill website for detailed information and updates to farm loan programs.