At AG Progress Days and again August 27, the PA Department of Agriculture is zeroing on the need for insurance agents to fully understand provisions of the Farm Bill which made risk management and Crop Insurance the major safety net for agricultural producers. At AG Progress Days, an Early Riser examined new diversified crops whole-farm protection. The August 27 15th Annual Crop Insurance Conference program heard from Secretary Redding, the Administrator of USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) plus numbers of experts in farm credit, agricultural economic outlook and specific programs promoted by the PA Center for Dairy Excellence on reducing dairy farmers’ input costs. Details: Jordan Stasyszyn firstname.lastname@example.org.
PDA issued the following on Crop Insurance. Details: www.cropinsurancepa.com, 717/787-6901
- Enrollment for the Dairy Margin Protection Program began July 1 and ends September 30.
The program was established as part of the Farm Bill.
- PDA will conduct an Early Riser on Crop Insurance August 19 at AG Progress Days.
- The 15th Annual PA Crop Insurance Conference will be held in Harrisburg August 27.
Agricultural producers seeking Federal Crop Insurance subsidies in 2015 must verify that they are controlling erosion on vulnerable fields and protecting wetlands. This also applies to orchards and vineyards. Form AD-1026 must be on file with the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA): http://forms.sc.egov.usda.gov/efcommon/eFileServices/eForms/AD1026.PDF
- February 24, 2015: deadline to submit pre-proposals for USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grants for “environmental markets and conservation projects that engage agricultural producers.” Details: http://go.usa.gov/4Kvx Sylvia Rainford 202/720-2536.
- February 27, 2015 deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program for ranchers and forest landowners. Applications should be submitted to local Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offices. Details: www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted
- February 27, 2015, deadline to submit Federal Specialty Crop Block Grant proposals to Morgan Sheffield, PDA Bureau of Market Development 717/787-3568.
- March 2, 2015: Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for “projects that promote environmental stewardship and economic development in the state.” Projects must have been completed between August 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014. Example areas: Innovative Technology; Energy Solutions; Environmental Education; Watershed Restoration. Only electronic nominations (including self) will be accepted. Details: http://files.dep.state.pa.us/AboutDEP/AwardsAndInnovation/GovernorAwardForEnvExcellence/2015%20GAEE%20Guidelines%20Final.pdf
- March 9, 2015: deadline for Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program. REAP provides tax credits to agricultural producers who install best management practices or purchase on-farm no-till equipment that reduces soil erosion and sedimentation in PA’s streams and rivers. Applications are available at www.pda.state.pa.us/REAP under ‘Forms’ or Joel Semke, State Conservation Commission 717/705-4032.
- March 15, 2015: Crop Insurance enrollment deadline for new AGR-Lite whole farm revenue new applications; spring barley, corn, forage seeding (spring), grain sorghum, oats (spring), soybeans, tobacco. (Thanks to Penn State Professor of Agricultural Economics Jayson Harper) PDA contact is Jordan Stasyszn 717/6901
On December 4, one day before the original deadline, USDA announced that the application deadline for the Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) will be extended until December 19, 2014. Established by the 2014 Farm Bill, the program protects participating dairy producers when the margin -difference between price of milk and feed costs – falls below the level of protection selected by the applicant. USDA also urged agricultural producers to utilize an Internet resource, www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, to calculate the best levels of coverage applicable to their dairy operation. PA Secretary of Agriculture George Grieg noted that producers should see that the cost is only a $100 administrative fee in order to have a $4 margin that covers 90% of the farm’s annual production. In addition to the Farm Services Agency (www.fsa.usda.gov ), PDA‘s risk management specialist, Jordan Stasyszyn may be reached at 717/705-9511 or email@example.com.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Crop Insurance Initiatives from USDA were advanced by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in a September 25 media release. Two new programs, Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), are meant to provide farmers with an alternative to direct payment programs eliminated by the 2014 Farm Bill. Both of these new programs offer protection when market forces cause substantial drops in crop prices and/or revenues. USDA also announced a farmer resource to help calculate what each program could mean to them. (www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-pic)
September 29 marks the first date when farmers may visit their local Farm Service Agency office if they wish to update their yield history and/or reallocate base acres — the first step before choosing which program is best suited to meeting their specific risk management needs. NOTE: Although not referenced in the USDA release, farmers should also be contacting their Crop Insurance agent on a regular basis to keep aware of developments in the new ARC and PLC programs. Agent locator: www.rma.usda.gov.