Idaho County FSA support for beginning farmers, ranchers

Idaho County Farm Service Agency can help to improve the financial security of farmers and ranchers who are just starting out through a new online resource, www.USDA.gov/newfarmers.

“New and beginning farmers and ranchers are as diverse as American agriculture itself,” begins the home page of the new site. It was designed by the USDA, which describes the site as a “centralized, one-stop resource where beginning farmers and ranchers can explore the variety of USDA initiatives designed to help them succeed.”

The new site includes in-depth information on how to increase access to land and capital, build new market opportunities, select and use the right risk management tools, participate in conservation opportunities and access USDA education and technical support programs. These are all issues that the USDA has identified as being top priorities for new producers.

The website will also feature instructive case studies about beginning farmers who have successfully utilized USDA resources to start or expand their business operations.

“The idea is that new producers will get inspiration from these farmers and ranchers who have gone down the same path,” said County Executive Director Julie Fowler, “and the next step is simply to stop by our office and let us help.”

The Idaho County agency staff will also be able to help new and beginning farmers and ranchers with waiving application fees to enroll in the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for the 2016 crop year. NAP provides risk management tools to farmers who grow crops for which there is no crop insurance product. Also available will be discounted premiums on buy-up coverage.

New and beginning farmers may also be eligible to eliminate payment reductions under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Doing this will allow routine, prescribed and emergency grazing outside the primary nesting season on enrolled land consistent with approved conservation plans.

Previously, farmers and ranchers grazing on CRP land were subject to a reduction in CRP payments of up to 25 percent. Waiving these reductions will provide extra financial support during emergencies such as drought and other natural disasters.

Increasing payment rates to beginning farmers and ranchers under the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) is another option available through the Farm Service Agency. Under the ELAP provision, beginners can claim up to ninety percent of losses for lost livestock, such as honeybees. This is a fifty percent increase over payment amounts previously available to new and beginning farmers.

“The NAP, CRP and ELAP opportunities have all become available because of the 2014 Farm Bill, and the website can help people learn more about these great, new opportunities as well as others that are in the works,” commented Fowler.

For information: office at 102 South Hall in Grangeville, 983-1050, extension 2. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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