Florida FSA - December Newsletter

December 14, 2015

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Florida FSA Newsletter


Florida Farm Service Agency

4440 NW 25th Place, St 1
Gainesville, FL 32606

www.fsa.usda.gov/fl

State Committee:
Susanne Clemons
Martin Griswold
Donell Gwinn
Gayle King
James Peeples

Executive Director:
Rick Dantzler

Executive Officer:
Debby Folsom

Administrative Officer
Mark Cotrell

Farm Program
Tom Hockert

Farm Loans
Justin Teuton

Please contact your local FSA Office for questions specific to your operation or county.   

USDA Issues Safety-Net Payments to Florida Farmers Facing Market Downturn

The USDA Farm Service Agency has begun issuing financial assistance for the 2014 crop year to those agricultural producers who are participating in the new safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill.  The new programs, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), are designed to protect against unexpected drops in crop prices or revenues due to market downturns.  

Unlike the old direct payments program, which provided funds in good years and bad years, these new programs only provide financial assistance when prices or revenues drop below normal.  For example, nationwide, farms participating in ARC-County that are receiving payments experienced a $20 billion drop in revenues relative to the historical benchmark. Similarly, lower prices in commodities such as peanuts and rice have triggered PLC assistance. 

Also, please note that funds provided by the ARC-County program can vary from county to county. The 2014 Farm Bill requires ARC-County payments to be calculated using the national average market year price (which does not vary by county), and the average county yield (which varies by county).  This creates county-by-county differences in payment rates. The yield data comes from surveys conducted by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the national standard that uses the highest-precision statistical procedures available. Where that data does not exist, the next strongest data is used: county-level crop insurance data from the Risk Management Agency. If that data does not exist, the next strongest data is used: NASS district data.  Where NASS district data doesn’t exist, the FSA State Committees provide data. 

Because the new programs are designed as financial assistance for prices and revenues lower than normal, not all producers will receive a payment, (as occurred with the old direct payments program). ARC/PLC payments are designed to help with unexpected changes in the marketplace, and to supplement other assistance programs, such as crop insurance. To learn more about the data used in calculating payments, how payments are calculated, crop-specific and state-specific information, please visit our website at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc


USDA to Provide Agricultural Credit Training, Expand Opportunities for Farmer Veterans and Beginning Farmers

USDA announced a partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) to conduct agricultural credit training sessions in the Midwest for military veterans and beginning farmers and ranchers. States under consideration to host the workshops include Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska. 

These workshops will provide individuals interested in farming as a career, including military veterans, with methods to improve business planning and financial skills, and improve understanding of the risk management tools that can help small farm operations.

Other partners include Niman Ranch a community network of more than 700 independent family farmers and ranchers, and the Farm Credit Council and the Farm Credit System, which provides loans, leases and financial services to farmers, ranchers and rural businesses across the United States. The workshops will also include assistance with credit applications and introductions to local or regional food markets.

To learn more about veterans in agriculture, visit www.usda.gov/veterans. Visit www.fsa.usda.gov/farmloans or your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to learn more about FSA's farm loan programs. To find your local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.  More information also is available from the Farmer Veteran Coalition at www.farmvetco.org.