Austin/Washington County July 2022 Newsletter

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US Department of Agriculture

 Austin/Washington County July Newsletter -  July 15, 2022

"HOOF" it on over for...


... Emergency Loans, County Committee Nomination Petitions, Livestock Forage Program, Emergency Relief Program, and NAP notices of loss. 

These and other programs are ongoing and have deadlines approaching. Don't miss out on applying. 

We all know its dry and the drought is affecting everyone. You can submit a written description of drought impacts on your livelihood at the following link:

Nominations Open for the 2022 County Committee Elections

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages all farmers, ranchers, and FSA program participants to take part in the Austin/Washington County Committee election nomination process.

FSA’s county committees are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA and allow grassroots input and local administration of federal farm programs.

Committees are comprised of locally elected agricultural producers responsible for the fair and equitable administration of FSA farm programs in their counties. Committee members are accountable to the Secretary of Agriculture. If elected, members become part of a local decision making and farm program delivery process.

A county committee is composed of three to 11 elected members from local administrative areas (LAA). Each member serves a three-year term. This year, Washington County is accepting nominations for LAA 2, which includes all areas west of Highway 36 in Washington County.

County committees may have an appointed advisor to further represent the local interests of underserved farmers and ranchers. Underserved producers are beginning, women and other minority farmers and ranchers and landowners and/or operators who have limited resources.

All nomination forms for the 2022 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by Aug. 1, 2022. For more information on FSA county committee elections and appointments, refer to the FSA fact sheet: Eligibility to Vote and Hold Office as a COC Member available online at:

Disaster Assistance for 2022 Livestock Forage Losses

Producers in Austin County are eligible to apply for 2022 Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) benefits on native and improved pasture.

LFP provides compensation if you suffer grazing losses for covered livestock due to drought on privately owned or cash leased land or fire on federally managed land.

County committees can only accept LFP applications after notification is received by the National Office of qualifying drought or if a federal agency prohibits producers from grazing normal permitted livestock on federally managed lands due to qualifying fire. You must complete a CCC-853 and the required supporting documentation no later than January 30, 2023, for 2022 losses.

For additional information about LFP, including eligible livestock and fire criteria, contact the Austin/Washington County FSA office at 979-865-3138 x2. 

USDA Has Issued More Than $4 Billion in Emergency Relief Program Payments to Date  

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that to date, agricultural producers have already received more than $4 billion through the Emergency Relief Program (ERP), representing approximately 67% of the more than $6 billion projected to be paid through this first phase of the program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mailed out pre-filled applications in late May to producers with crop insurance who suffered losses due to natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. Commodity and specialty crop producers have until July 22 to complete applications.   

USDA is implementing ERP and ELRP in two phases, with the first phase utilizing existing claim data to provide relief expediently, and the second phase focusing on ensuring producers not covered by other programs receive assistance. For phase one, USDA used crop insurance and Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) claim data.  

Both ERP and the previously announced Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP) are funded by the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which President Biden signed into law in 2021. The law provided $10 billion to help agricultural producers impacted by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms and other eligible disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021, of which $750 million is committed to livestock producers who experienced losses to drought or wildfire in calendar year 2021. Eligible livestock producers received ELRP payments totaling more than $590 million since the program was rolled out in late March.  

Pre-Filled Applications 

Eligible producers with eligible crop insurance claims have received pre-filled applications, which included eligibility requirements and payment calculations. Producers received a separate application form for each program year in which they experienced an eligible loss. 

Producers should check with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) at their local USDA Service Center to confirm eligibility and to ensure that all required farm program participation, adjusted gross income and conservation compliance forms are on file. Producers who have previously participated in FSA programs likely have these required forms already on file. 

ERP provisions allow for a higher payment percentage for historically underserved producers, including beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged and military veteran producers. To qualify for the higher payment rate, individuals must have a Form CCC-860, Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification on file. 

To receive a payment, producers must complete and submit their forms by the July 22 deadline. Once the completed ERP application for payment is submitted to and signed by the FSA, producers enrolled in direct deposit should look for their payment within three business days. 

Additional Assistance through Phase One 

FSA will be sending pre-filled applications for about 9,000 eligible producers with NAP coverage in mid-July. 

The Federal crop insurance data used to populate ERP phase one pre-filled applications included claim data on file with USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) as of May 2, 2022. At that time, claim data for the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO), Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO), Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX), Margin Protection Plan (MP) or Area Risk Protection Insurance (ARPI) were not complete, so crop/units including these coverage options were not included in the pre-filled ERP application form. In late summer 2022, updated claim information will be used to generate a second pre-filled application for those crop/units with eligible losses on file with RMA not included in the first mailing. 

More Information    

ERP covers losses to crops, trees, bushes and vines due to a qualifying natural disaster event in calendar years 2020 and 2021.  Eligible crops include all crops for which crop insurance or NAP coverage was available, except for crops intended for grazing. Qualifying natural disaster events include wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms, freeze (including a polar vortex), smoke exposure, excessive moisture, qualifying drought and related conditions.   

All producers who receive ERP phase one payments are statutorily required to purchase crop insurance or NAP coverage where crop insurance is not available for the next two available crop years. 

Producers should contact their local Service Center if they have questions. Additionally, other resources include: 

 The second phase of both ERP and ELRP will be aimed at filling gaps and providing assistance to producers who did not participate in or receive payments through the existing programs that are being leveraged for phase one implementation. Through proactive communication and outreach, USDA will keep producers and stakeholders informed as program details are made available.

USDA Designates Four Texas Counties as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

This Secretarial natural disaster designation allows the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters through emergency loans. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts. FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, these counties suffered from a drought intensity value during the growing season of 1) D2 Drought-Severe for 8 or more consecutive weeks or 2) D3 Drought-Extreme or D4 Drought-Exceptional.

Impacted Area: Texas

Triggering Disaster: Drought 

Application Deadline: Jan. 31, 2023

Primary Counties Eligible:  Austin, Colorado, Harris and Lavaca

Contiguous Counties Also Eligible: Brazoria, Fort Bend, Liberty, Waller, Chambers,    Galveston, Montgomery, Washington, DeWitt, Gonzales, Victoria, Wharton, Fayette,          Jackson                                

More Resources

On, the Disaster Assistance Discovery ToolDisaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help you determine program or loan options. To file a Notice of Loss or to ask questions about available programs, contact your local  USDA Service Center.


Austin / Washington County USDA Service Center

1351 W Main St
Suite A
Bellville, Tx 77418

Phone:1-979-865-3138 x2
Farm Program Fax: 1-844-496-7088
Farm Loan Fax: 1-844-496-7556

Austin/Washington FSA
Steven Pawelek
County Executive Director
979-865-3138 ext. 2

Austin/Washington FSA
Irby McWilliams
Farm Loan Manager
979-865-3138 ext. 2

Austin County NRCS
Brad Kieschnick
District Conservationist
Mobile - 979-270-2625
Office - 979-865-3139 Ext.

Washington County NRCS
Ben Garcia
District Conservationist 
Mobile - 979-277-4240
Office - 979-830-7123 Ext.3

County Committee meets 4th
Monday of every month. The next
regular scheduled meetings is: 

July 25, 2022 at 8:30am 

2022 County Committee:
Bradley Rinn, Chairperson
Roy Schmidt. Vice-Chairperson
David Groschke, Member 
Stephen Bliznak, Member
Alfred Hall Sr, Advisor