As 2014 quickly fades into the rear-view mirror, now is a good time to reflect. The past year saw a number of changes to the agricultural landscape for beginning farmers. In no particular order:
- The Farm Bill passed early in the year with a number of provisions aimed at beginning farmers. From increased lending limits on microloans to increased cost-sharing for EQIP contracts and revival of the Conservation Reserve Program’s Transition Incentive Program, beginning farmers have some new resources at their disposal. As we enter 2015, and before the crop year begins, now is a good time to research how many of the updates in the Farm Bill can help with your operation.
- The Nebraska Department of Agriculture launched new websites for the Nebraska Beginning Farmer Tax Credit. The NextGen website contains all the information and forms you need to apply for the Nebraska Beginning Farmer Tax Credit. The website also lists upcoming workshops and clinics for young and transitioning farmers and ranchers.
- The 2014 crop year was one in which some beginning farmers and ranchers faced financial headwinds. The 2015 crop year may intensify those headwinds. However, one-on-one clinics to discuss financial concerns are available throughout the year.
- New crop insurance products are rolling out, including changes in the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. These products will assist beginning farmers weather the headwinds identified above. These products also address how beginning farmers are farming in today.
- And last but certainly not least, ARC and PLC are coming down the pike. ARC and PLC replace direct payments. Now is the time to begin considering what product to enroll in for the best potential benefit to your operation.
The upcoming year has the potential to change your operation, in both positive and negative respects. If you ever want to take some time to discuss your operation, your options, and what programs are available, feel free to contact us.