New USDA resources for beginning farmers

The USDA has a wonderful new resource for beginning farmers — the New Farmer’s website.  The website is aimed at beginning farmers to introduce and explain the multitude of USDA resources and assistance for beginning farmers.

And a multitude of USDA resources there are.  The website has a wealth of information — links to agricultural libraries, USDA service centers, risk management resources,, marketing news, FSA loan resources and so much more.

Go check out the New Farmer’s website.  It is well worth the time for all the resources provided.  And if any of the information there sparks a question, feel free to contact us!  We’re here to help.

Upcoming South Dakota Workshops!

For those of you near Spearfish and Pierre, workshops concerning estate planning are coming to you!

Dakota Rural Action and the Rural Response Hotline are jointly hosting a free workshop on farm and ranch business succession and estate planning, as well as new beginning farmer initiatives in the 2014 Farm Bill.

For Spearfish, the workshop is: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at Hudson Hall, Room C, 222 West Hudson Street.

For Pierre, the workshop is: Thursday, July 24, 2014 at Best Western Ramkota, Lake Rooms, 920 W. Sioux Avenue.

The program runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Presenters include Dave Goeller (Univ. of Neb. Lincoln Beginning Farmer Program Coordinator) and Joe Hawbaker (farm and ranch attorney).

Call the Rural Response Hotline at 800-464-0258 to register.  We look forward to seeing you there!

CRP-TIP Program Taking Applications

A little known program continued from the 2008 Farm Bill is the Conservation Reserve Program Transition Incentive Program (TIP).  TIP is a program that assists farmers interested in selling land to a beginning farmer.

Under TIP, landowners with expiring CRP contracts receive an additional two years of CRP payments on land that is sold or leased to a beginning, socially disadvantaged, or veteran farmer.  The sold or leased land is then returned to production by the beginning farmer.  Keep in mind the participating farmers must develop and/or implement a conversation plan for the land coming out of CRP.

TIP sign-ups began June 9.  Funding increased from the 2008 Farm Bill; currently, TIP is funded with $33 million through 2018.

But there are other advantages to TIP.  TIP can be combined with existing state and federal programs.  For example, the Nebraska Beginning Farmer Tax Credit can be utilized by the landowner and beginning farmer while enrolled in TIP.  That way, the landowner receives two additional CRP payments while also receiving the Nebraska Beginning Farmer Tax Credit.  TIP may also be combined with EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) and CSP (Conservation Stewardship Program).

We are happy to help with any questions you may have regarding TIP.  It is a wonderful program for both landowners and beginning farmers and ranchers so look into it!

Farm Service Agency Telephone Scam

According to the USDA, a phone scam is ongoing with Farm Service Agency customers.  The caller identifies themselves as a Farm Service Agency representative from Washington D.C., stating FSA “owes” you disaster assistance funds.  The caller will then request your checking account information or credit card number so the funds may be credited to your account.

Do not, under any circumstances, provide your financial information, such as checking account number, credit card number, or other information.

If you have questions about disaster assistance or any other FSA program, please contact your local FSA office.

Regional Conservation Partnership Program Launched

NRCS recently announced a new program, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  RCPP is a new program in which NRCS, working with state, local, and regional partners coordinate resources to install and maintain conservation projects and activities.

RCPP funding falls among three different areas.   Forty percent of funding for RCPP will go to national, multi-state projects; twenty-five percent to state projects; and thirty-five percent to critical conservation areas designated by the Secretary of Agriculture.

What makes RCPP particularly interesting are the eligible partners.  Eligible partners include agricultural or silvicultural producer associations, farmers cooperatives or other groups of producers, state or local governments, Indian tribes, municipal water treatment entities, water and irrigation districts, conservation-driven non-governmental organizations, and institutions of higher learning.

The funding notice is currently available.  Unfortunately, the closing date to apply is July 14, 2014 so if you are interested, start your application sooner than later.  NRCS is hosting webinars and Q&A sessions if you have questions and the webinars will be recorded for future reference or if you cannot make the designated date and time.


Updated natural disaster area declarations for Nebraska and Colorado and Kansas contiguous counties

We’ve previously discussed the meaning of a USDA disaster area declaration.  Briefly, a disaster area designation permits producers to access certain USDA programs, such as low interest emergency loans.  Producers have eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for assistance.  Also note that counties contiguous to the counties named as disaster areas qualify for disaster assistance.

On May 28, 2014, the USDA designated 18 Nebraska counties as primary disaster areas due to drought conditions.  The primary disaster counties are:

Arthur Garden Loup
Blaine Garfield McPherson
Custer Gosper Phelps
Dawson Grant Sherman
Deuel Hooker Thomas
Furnas Logan Valley

As a result, 19 other Nebraska counties contiguous counties.  The contiguous counties are:

Brown Harlan Morrill
Buffalo Holt Perkins
Cherry Howard Red Willow
Cheyenne Kearney Rock
Franklin Keith Sheridan
Frontier Lincoln Wheeler

Also note that Sedgwick County in Colorado and Decatur and Norton counties in Kansas are also contiguous counties and therefore eligible for assistance.

If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us.