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Don't forget to report solar panels constructed on cropland

• Aug 4, 2018 at 10:00 AM

Producers who have solar panels constructed on their farms should notify the local Farm Service Agency office. Any area that is no longer considered suitable as cropland (producing annual or perennial crops) should be designated in FSA’s records and aerial photography maps.

When base acres on a farm are converted to a non-agricultural commercial or industrial use, the total base acres on the farm must be reduced accordingly. Non-cropland areas used for solar panels might impact payments calculated using base acres, such as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) annual rental payments.

In other news...

Reporting wind turbines constructed on cropland: Producers who have wind turbines constructed on their farms should notify the local Farm Service Agency office. Any area that is no longer considered suitable as cropland (producing annual or perennial crops) should be designated in FSA’s records and aerial photography maps.

When base acres on a farm are converted to a non-agricultural commercial or industrial use, the total base acres on the farm must be reduced accordingly. Non-cropland areas used for wind turbines might impact payments calculated using base acres, such as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) annual rental payments.

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Marketing assistance loans: A Marketing Assistance Loan (MAL) is available for producers who share in the risk of producing an eligible commodity. To be eligible, a producer must maintain continual beneficial interest in the eligible commodity. Commodity loan eligibility also requires compliance with conservation and wetland protection requirements; beneficial interest requirements, acreage reporting, and ensuring that the commodity meets Commodity Credit Corporation minimum grade and quality standards. FSA offers MALs on honey, wool and an assortment of grains, and other approved agricultural commodities.

Violating provisions of a marketing assistance loan may trigger administrative actions, such as assessing liquidated damages, calling the loan and denial of future farm-stored loans. The most common violations are removing or disposing of a commodity being used as loan collateral without prior authorization and providing an incorrect quantity certification. For more details on marketing assistance loans contact your FSA office.

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Farm safety: Flowing grain in a storage bin or gravity-flow wagon is like quicksand — it can kill quickly. It takes less than five seconds for a person caught in flowing grain to be trapped. The mechanical operation of grain handling equipment also presents a real danger. Augers, power take offs, and other moving parts can grab people or clothing.

These hazards, along with pinch points and missing shields, are dangerous enough for adults; not to mention children. It is always advisable to keep children a safe distance from operating farm equipment. Always use extra caution when backing or maneuvering farm machinery.

Ensure everyone is visibly clear and accounted for before machinery is engaged. FSA wants all farmers to have a productive crop year and that begins with putting safety first.

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Applications for FSA loans: Farmers that intend to apply to the Farm Service Agency for loan assistance for the upcoming crop year are encouraged to file their applications as early as possible. Filing early will help ensure that your loan is processed and approved as early as possible so that planting decisions can be made. Not applying early can result in a delay in processing loans due to the volume of applications that must be processed in date order. Contact your local FSA loan approval official for more details and assistance in applying.

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Dates to remember:

Aug. 17 — 2018 CRP Continuous Enrollment signup deadline.

Sept. 3 — Labor Day Holiday. FSA offices closed.

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