Florida FSA February Newsletter

February 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

Division Chiefs:
Administrative Officer
Mark Cotrell

Farm Program
Tom Hockert

Farm Loans (Acting)
Maria Santos

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

USDA Creates More Bird Habitat Opportunities on Irrigated Farmland

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announces more bird habitats to be established in irrigated farmland regions through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

Declines in upland bird populations, such as the northern bobwhite, pheasant, and prairie chicken, led to the creation of new Conservation Reserve Program features to help restore habitats for these species in these agricultural areas. Since the program’s creation in 2004, more than 240,000 acres of marginal cropland has been converted to native grasslands, spurring an increase in upland bird populations. 

In recent years, however, applications for this type of habitat creation have slowed. To encourage more participation, USDA’s new policy focuses on farmland with center-pivot irrigation systems where there are circular areas of cropland with patches of land beyond the reach of irrigation. Until now, these patches – known as pivot corners – were only eligible for habitat creation when connected by a linear strip of grassland also enrolled in the program. The new policy allows producers interested in habitat creation to use disconnected pivot corners to help increase the population of upland birds.

Other species that can benefit from today’s change include the mourning dove, wild turkey, several sparrows, meadowlark and bobolinks.

The Conservation Reserve Program is a voluntary program. FSA contracts with agricultural landowners so that environmentally sensitive land is not farmed but instead used for conservation. Participants establish long-term plant species that control soil erosion, sequester carbon, improve water quality, and strengthen declining wildlife populations. In return, participants receive annual rental payments between 10 and 15 years. 

Interested landowners can enroll pivot corners in the Conservation Reserve Program at any time. Participants and land must meet certain eligibility requirements. Other restrictions may apply. For additional details, contact your local Farm Service Agency office at offices.usda.gov or visit the website at www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation. 


FSA Announces New Yield Data for Safety Net Calculations

Farmers can Update Yield History through Feb. 27, 2015

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers farmers new information to update program payment yields that will help them better select protections offered by the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs.  The new programs, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, are cornerstones of the commodity farm safety, offering farmers protection when market forces cause substantial drops in crop prices and revenues.

The Farm Bill provides landowners with the option of updating their farm program payment yields and this is the first time that many producers have been able to update yields since 1986. FSA has worked with the Risk Management Agency (RMA) to make available certified yield data that producers can use to better calculate how the new safety net programs can offer the best protection against market swings.

Producers can check with their local FSA county office to see if data is available for them. This data belongs to the producer and only the producer associated with the crop insurance records will be provided this service. Updating yield history or reallocating base acres can occur until Feb. 27, 2015.

FSA also issued a reminder that from Nov. 17, 2014, to March 31, 2015, producers will make a one-time election of either ARC or PLC for the 2014 through 2018 crop years. For more information, producers are encouraged to make an appointment to go into their local FSA county office. To find a local FSA county office, visit offices.usda.gov.  Additional information on the new programs is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc.