In other news....
USDA market facilitation program: USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will administer MFP to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, wheat, shelled almond and fresh sweet cherry producers. An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if warranted. The sign-up period for MFP runs through Jan. 15, with information and instructions provided at www.farmers.gov/mfp. MFP provides payments to producers of eligible commodities who have been significantly impacted by actions of foreign governments resulting in the loss of traditional exports. Eligible producers should apply after harvest is complete, as payments will only be issued once production is reported. A payment will be issued on 50 percent of the producer’s total production, multiplied by the MFP rate for a specific commodity. A second payment period, if warranted, will be determined by the USDA.
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Elections for the 2018 county committee: Elections for USDA’s Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) County Committee is underway. It is important that every eligible producer participate in these elections because FSA county committees are a link between the agricultural community and the USDA. County committee members are a critical component of FSA operations. Committees should be comprised of members who reflect the diversity of producers involved in production agriculture. This means that producers representing under-served groups or communities should be on the committee to speak on behalf of their constituency. Under-served producers are beginning, women and other minority farmers and ranchers and land owners and/or operators who have limited resources.
Other minority groups including Native American and Alaska Natives; persons under the poverty level, and persons that have disabilities are also considered underserved. County committee election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters on Nov. 5. The last day to return completed ballots to the county USDA service center is Dec. 3.
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Resources available for new and beginning farmers: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a website to connect farm entrepreneurs with programs, services and resources for anyone interested in getting started into farming at www.usda.gov/newfarmers. The site features advice and guidance on everything a new farm business owner needs to know, from writing a business plan, to obtaining a loan to grow their business, to filing taxes as a new small business owner, starting or expanding an operation, developing new markets, supporting more effective farming and conservation practices, and having access to relevant training and education opportunities. By answering a series of questions about their operation, farmers can use the site’s Discovery Tool to build a personalized set of recommendations of USDA programs and services that may meet their needs.
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Dates to remember
Nov. 5 — County committee ballots mailed to voters.
Nov. 12 — Veterans Day holiday. FSA offices closed.