Florida FSA - March 2016 - CRP for Organic Producers . . . Really!

March 16, 2016

NL Masthead

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Florida FSA Newsletter

Florida Farm Service Agency

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


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 Financial Assistance Available to Help Organic Farmers Create Conservation Buffers

USDA is assisting organic farmers with the cost of establishing up to 20,000 acres of new conservation buffers and other practices on and near farms that produce organic crops.  

The financial assistance is available from the USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a federally funded voluntary program that contracts with agricultural producers so that environmentally sensitive land is not farmed or ranched, but instead used for conservation benefits. CRP participants establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”) to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat. In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years.  

For conservation buffers, funds are available for establishing shrubs and trees, or supporting pollinating species, and can be planted in blocks or strips. Interested organic producers can offer eligible land for enrollment in this initiative at any time.  

Other USDA FSA programs that assist organic farmers include: 

  • The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program that provides financial assistance for 55 to 100 percent of the average market price for organic crop losses between 50 to 65 percent of expected production due to a natural disaster. 

  • Marketing assistance loans that provide interim financing to help producers meet cash flow needs without having to sell crops during harvest when market prices are low, and deficiency payments to producers who forgo the loan in return for a payment on the eligible commodity. 

  • A variety of loans for operating expenses, ownership or guarantees with outside lenders, including streamlined microloans that have a lower amount of paperwork. 

  • Farm Storage Facility Loans for that provide low-interest financing to build or upgrade storage facilities for organic commodities, including cold storage, grain bins, bulk tanks and drying and handling equipment. 

  • Services such as mapping farm and field boundaries and reporting organic acreage that can be provided to a farm’s organic certifier or crop insurance agent. 

Visit www.fsa.usda.gov/organic to learn more about how FSA can help organic farmers. For an interactive tour of CRP success stories, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/CRPis30 or follow #CRPis30 on Twitter. To learn more about FSA programs visit a local FSA office or www.fsa.usda.gov. To find your local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.

Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG)

This is a grant-only program of Rural Development used for either a Planning Grant or Working Capital Grant to help independent agricultural producers enter into value-added activities.  Applicants must have an equivalent match for grant funds, which may be in the form of a line of credit or other financing source, i.e. Farm Service Agency, your local lender, etc.  Grant funds may be used to pay up to 50 percent of the costs for carrying out relevant projects. 

Planning Grant funds may be used to develop a business plan or conduct a feasibility study to establish a viable marketing opportunity for a value-added producer.   

Working Capital Grant funds may be used to provide capital to establish alliances or business ventures that allow the producer of the Value-Added agricultural product to better compete in domestic or international markets.  

For more information on the VAPG, including NOSA information, regulation updates, and application information, visit Rural Development’s value-added website at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vadg.htm.