The Latest from NY Farm Service Agency - April 2020

April 2020

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New York State FSA Newsletter

New York State 
Farm Service Agency

441 S. Salina St.
Suite #536
Syracuse, NY 13202

State Executive Director:
Clark Putman

State Committee:
Judi Whittaker, Chair
Michael Bittel
Lawrence Eckhardt
Theodore Furber
Barbara Hanselman

Executive Officer:
Mark Dennis

Farm Loan Chief:
John Liddington

To find contact information for your local New York office click here.

April Interest Rates:

Farm Storage Facility Loans:
3 year: 0.75%
5 year: 0.75%
7 year: 1.00%
10 year: 1.125%
12 year: 1.125%

Commodity Loans: 1.625%

Farm Loan Programs:
Farm Operating: 2.375%
Farm Ownership: 3.00%
Conservation Loans: 3.00%
Direct Down Payment: 1.5%
Joint Financing: 2.5%

From the State Executive Director

April has finally arrived, after a March that felt like it would go on forever. I don’t think anyone will forget this unprecedented time in our lives as the coronavirus has brought many aspects of our life to a halt. However we know farmers work cannot stop, and you will continue to feed your animals, milk your cows and prepare for the planting season to ensure Americans have a plentiful food supply. We also know it’s by no means an easy time for you, as prices drop and processing facilities slow down for a variety of reasons. Please know everyone at Farm Service Agency is thankful for the work you are doing, and are here to help you as much as we can.

Dairy farmers, if you have had to dump milk, please keep track of what you are dumping, in case a future program could help you.

Furthermore, On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  This legislation includes $48.9 billion for USDA agencies and the Food and Drug Administration to continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The CARES Act contains $9.5 billion in assistance for agriculture producers who have been impacted by COVID-19 along with a $14 billion replenishment to the Commodity Credit Corporation. In addition, the legislation includes $100 million in ReConnect grants to expand access to broadband in rural America for educational purposes, business, and access to critical telehealth services.

USDA is actively monitoring all agriculture commodity markets and the flow of food from farm to table during the COVID 19 outbreak.  We are evaluating various authorities and options, including those Congress provided in the CARES Act, to assist farmers to be prepared if the emergency persists.

The CARES Act also includes a program through the Small Business Administration that farms can participate in, called the Paycheck Protection Plan. If you haven’t already, please contact your lender for more information on this program.

USDA Service Centers are open and ready to serve you over the phone or by mail and email. To practice social distancing rules, we currently only have one Farm Program and one Farm Loan staff person in an office at this time, the rest are working from home as much as internet service will allow. FSA has modified its policies in many areas to allow for digital signatures to be used. Your local FSA staff can walk you through that process. We have also made changes to our Farm Loan program to make it easier to go through the process while social distancing. Additionally FSA has extended the maturity time for Marketing Assistance Loans (MAL) from 9 months to 12 months. Speaking of MALs, which are often referred to as commodity loans, the April interest rate for these loans has dropped to 1.625%. So if you have corn grain or soybeans in storage, you could get a loan on that grain as long as it stays in storage, to pay off some expenses. The interest rates on our Farm Storage Facility Loans are super low right now too, if you want to build some additional storage right now, or need equipment to handle stored commodities, like a skid steer or cooler.

Another program that has enrollment open from now until May 15th is the Conservation Reserve Program for Grasslands. This program basically pays producers to keep land in pasture. Read more about this program and others mentioned below.

As specifics of how the CARES Act will be used within Farm Service Agency become available, we will keep you informed through these GovDelivery emails so watch for future information! Please take care of yourself during these difficult times. Our partners at NY FarmNet are always available with a 24-hour hotline you can call at 1-800-547-3276 for mental and financial health issues. I urge you to practice social distancing and be safe and well.

Clark Putman