Montrose-Gunnison-Ouray County May Newsletter

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US Department of Agriculture

Montrose-Gunnison-Ouray County USDA  -  May, 2024

Dates to Remember

  • May 27, 2024- Service Centers Closed in observation of Memorial Day
  • June 15, 2024- Acreage reporting deadline for Onions.
  • June 19, 2024- Service Centers Closed in observation of Juneteenth National Independence Day
  • July 4th, 2024- Service Centers closed in observation of Independence Day.
  • July 15, 2024 - Acreage reporting deadline for all other spring seeded and perennial crops including Hemp.
  • NAP Notice of Loss – within 15 days of the occurrence of the disaster or when losses become apparent.
  • NAP Production - due 60 days following the end of coverage/final harvest date. 

Save Time-Producers are encouraged to call their FSA office to schedule an appointment to ensure maximum use of their time and to make sure FSA staff is available to tend to their important business needs. Please call your local FSA office ahead to set an appointment and to discuss any records or documentation that might be needed during your appointment.

USDA Now Accepting Applications for Available Funds to Help Cover Organic Certification Costs

Through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP), USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will cover up to 75% of organic certification costs at a maximum of $750 per certification category. FSA is now accepting applications, and organic producers and handlers should apply for OCCSP by the Oct. 31, 2024, deadline for eligible expenses incurred from Oct. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2024. FSA will issue payments as applications are received and approved. 

“Costs associated with obtaining organic certification can be a barrier for Colorado producers wanting to get certified,” said Kent Peppler, FSA State Executive Director in CO. “Through OCCSP assistance, FSA helps Colorado organic producers obtain certification and leverage related benefits like premium prices for commodities and access to broader markets and additional technical assistance.”  

OCCSP was part of a broader organic announcement made by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on May 15, 2024, which also included the Organic Market Development Grant program and Organic Transition Initiative.    

Eligible Applicants, Expenses and Categories 
OCCSP provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of organic agricultural commodities for expenses incurred obtaining or maintaining organic certification under USDA’s National Organic Program.  Eligible OCCSP applicants include any certified organic producers or handlers who have paid organic certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent.  

Cost share assistance covers expenses including application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement and arrangement requirements, inspector travel expenses, user fees, sales assessments and postage. OCCSP pays a maximum of $750 per certification category for crops, wild crops, livestock, processing/handling, and state organic program fees (California only). 

How to Apply 
To apply, producers and handlers should contact FSA at their local USDA Service Center and be prepared to provide documentation of organic certification and eligible expenses. OCCSP applications can also be submitted through participating state departments of agriculture.  For more information, visit the OCCSP webpage.  

Report Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) Losses

NAP provides financial assistance to you for crops that aren’t eligible for crop insurance to protect against lower yields or crops unable to be planted due to natural disasters including freeze, hail, excessive moisture, excessive wind or hurricanes, flood, excessive heat and qualifying drought (includes native grass for grazing), among others.

To receive payment, you had to purchase NAP coverage for 2024 crops and file a notice of loss the earlier of 15 days of the occurrence of the disaster or when losses become apparent or 15 days of the final harvest date. For hand-harvested crops and certain perishable crops, you must notify FSA within 72 hours of when a loss becomes apparent.

Eligible crops must be commercially produced agricultural commodities for which crop insurance is not available, including perennial grass forage and grazing crops, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup, bioenergy, and industrial crops.

For more information on NAP, contact your Montrose County USDA Service Center at 970-249-8407 ext.2 or visit Feature Helps Producers Find Farm Loans that Fit Their Operation

Farm Loan

Farmers and ranchers can use the Farm Loan Discovery Tool on to find information on USDA farm loans that may best fit their operations.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers a variety of loan options to help farmers finance their operations. From buying land to financing the purchase of equipment, FSA loans can help.

USDA conducted field research in eight states, gathering input from farmers and FSA farm loan staff to better understand their needs and challenges.

How the Tool Works
Farmers who are looking for financing options to operate a farm or buy land can answer a few simple questions about what they are looking to fund and how much money they need to borrow. After submitting their answers, farmers will receive information on farm loans that best fit their specific needs. The loan application and additional resources also will be provided.

Farmers can download application quick guides that outline what to expect from preparing an application to receiving a loan decision. There are four guides that cover loans to individuals, entities, and youth, as well as information on microloans. The guides include general eligibility requirements and a list of required forms and documentation for each type of loan. These guides can help farmers prepare before their first USDA service center visit with a loan officer.

Farmers can access the Farm Loan Discovery Tool by visiting and clicking the “Start” button. Follow the prompts and answer five simple questions to receive loan information that is applicable to your agricultural operation. The tool is built to run on any modern browser like Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or the Safari browser, and is fully functional on mobile devices. It does not work in Internet Explorer.

In 2018, USDA unveiled, a dynamic, mobile-friendly public website combined with an authenticated portal where farmers will be able to apply for programs, process transactions, and manage accounts.

The Farm Loan Discovery Tool is one of many resources on to help connect farmers to information that can help their operations. Earlier this year, USDA launched the My Financial Information feature, which enables farmers to view their loan information, history, payments, and alerts by logging into the website.

USDA is building for farmers, by farmers. In addition to the interactive farm loan features, the site also offers a Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool. Farmers can visit to find disaster assistance programs that can help their operation recover from natural disasters.

For more information, contact your Mesa County USDA Service Center at 970-242-4511 ext.2 or visit


Getting Acreage Reporting Right

You have a lot at stake in making sure your crop insurance acreage reporting is accurate and on time. If you fail to report on time, you may not be protected. If you report too much acreage, you may pay too much premium. If you report too little acreage, you may recover less when you file a claim.

Crop insurance agents often say that mistakes in acreage reporting are the easiest way for producers to have an unsatisfactory experience with crop insurance. Don’t depend on your agent to do this important job for you. Your signature on the bottom of the acreage reporting form makes it, legally, your responsibility. Double-check it for yourself.

Remember - acreage reporting is your responsibility. Doing it right will save you money. Always get a copy of your report immediately after signing and filing it with your agent and keep it with your records. Remember, it is your responsibility to report crop damage to your agent within 72 hours of discovery. Never put damaged acreage to another use without prior written consent of the insurance adjuster. You don’t want to destroy any evidence of a possible claim. Learn more by visiting RMA’s website.

Colorado USDA Webinar Series for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

USDA is an “Every Day, Every Way” department that touches the lives of every American, every day by supporting the agriculture sector, strengthening rural communities, promoting healthy eating, and helping to protect our natural resources. At the forefront of our mission is the support we provide to farmers to help them start—and continue—farming. If you have been wondering where to start at USDA, this is the place for you.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Risk Management Agency (RMA), Rural Development (RD), and other partner organizations have come together to create a webinar series for all. The Webinar series will take place virtually every third Wednesday of the Month from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Our Agenda for the year is as follows (subject to change):

  • June 19, Working with the Risk Management Agency (RMA) Crop & Livestock Insurance
  • July 17, Technical and financial assistance to producers and forest landowners to address natural resource concerns (NRCS)
  • August 21, Soil Health and how use Web Soil Survey
  • September18, Urban Ag
  • October 16, What CSU has to offer!
  • November 18, Colorado Department of Agriculture New Farmer & Rancher Resources

Previous presentations for the webinar series can be found on Colorado FSA's Website and previous recordings of the webinar series can be found on Colorado NRCS's YouTube page

For more information for beginning farmers visit: Beginning Farmers and Ranchers |

NRCS delivers resources to inform science-based, data-driven conservation.

As the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s primary private lands conservation agency, NRCS delivers the data, technology, and standards that enable landowners and our many conservation partners to make decisions informed by objective, reliable science. 

The Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) is an effort led by NRCS to evaluate and inform voluntary conservation across the nation’s working lands. From a decadal report on the outcomes of voluntary conservation in the sagebrush biome to new data-driven tools for individual landowners, CEAP helps provide the science backing we need to: 

  • Identify how and where to invest conservation resources most strategically. 
  • Evaluate the outcomes of on-the-ground conservation actions. 
  • Leverage lessons learned from these findings to strengthen future conservation delivery. 

Recent CEAP deliverables that support voluntary wildlife conservation include: 

Visit the CEAP Wildlife Assessments webpage to access more than 130 publications and other reports, webinar recordings, and interactive, data-based tools to support voluntary wildlife conservation. 


Montrose- Gunnison-Ouray USDA Service Center

102 Par Place
Montrose, CO  81401

Phone: 970-249-8407
Fax: 844-332-7499

FSA- Farm Program
Natalie Parker CED
970-249-8407 x2

Natural Resources Conservation Service- NRCS
Jamison Jewkes
970-249-8407 x3

FSA Program Technicians
Jo Trice
Debbie Stewart

FSA-Farm Loan
Tamara Catlett
970-242-4511 x2