FSA & USDA 2017 Deadlines for Producers

Important Dates for the 2017 Crop Year

In 2017 there are several important deadlines for landowners, farmers and producers to be aware of. Whether you need to enroll into government programs for ARC OR PLC or simply need to discuss a CRP project or contarct, here are some of the most important dates for enrollment, applications and farm loans in 2017.

Continuing through August 1, 2017: Enrollment for 2017 Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs
January 31: Deadline to file Tree Assistance Program (TAP) application
February 2: Deadline to apply for Loan Deficiency Payments (LDP) for unshorn pelts produced during the 2016 crop year
February 20: Offices closed in observance of George Washington’s Birthday
March 15: NAP application closing date for beans, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, canola, cantaloupes, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, greens, herbs, honeydew, hops, lettuce, oats, okra, onions, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, sorghum, squash, tomatillos, tomatoes, and watermelon
March 20: Organic producers and handlers can begin to apply for organic cost share assistance
March 31: Final date to obtain loans or Loan Deficiency Payments (LDP) on 2016 harvested small grains

FSA Youth Loan Program Benefits

Most people would agree that educating our youth about responsible money management, record keeping, and business operation are important keys to success. Programs and clubs like 4-H and FFA are the best examples of watching young people develop lifelong skills of responsibility, confidence and a sense of community. A unique program available from the local Farm Service Agency is available to qualified applicants that help our youth get started with income-producing projects such as 4-H livestock and even small businesses.

“The FSA Youth Loan Program teaches young people about the responsibility that comes with money, paying it back the bank, and how to complete a project from start to finish.”

The Farm Service Agency makes loans to youth to establish and operate agricultural income-producing projects in connection with 4-H clubs, FFA and other agricultural groups. Projects must be planned and operated with the help of the organization advisor, produce sufficient income to repay the loan and provide the youth with practical business and educational experience. The maximum loan amount is $5000.

“The process for application and approval is really quite simple and streamlined.” 


Youth Loan Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be a citizen of the United States (which includes Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) or a legal resident alien
  • Be 10 years to 20 years of age
  • Comply with FSA’s general eligibility requirements
  • Be unable to get a loan from other sources
  • Conduct a modest income-producing project in a supervised program of work as outlined above
  • Demonstrate capability of planning, managing and operating the project under guidance and assistance from a project advisor. The project supervisor must recommend the youth loan applicant, along with providing adequate supervision.

For more information Stop by the local Indiana FSA office for help preparing and processing the application forms.

important FSA Dates, Deadlines & Holidays

Important Dates & Deadlines at your Local USDA Farm Service Agencyindiana-land-value-report  important FSA Dates, Deadlines & Holidays indiana land value report

The last four (4) months of the year have several important dates that all producers and Indiana farmers may want to put in their calendars. Whether you have non-insured crops and are looking for disaster assistance or simply plan to visit your local office… here are the big dates & deadlines.

September 1: Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) application closing date for value loss crops for the following year (flowers for fresh cut, onion sets, turfgrass sod, Christmas trees, aquaculture, ginseng, mushrooms, etc.)
September 5: Offices closed in observance of Labor Day
September 15: Reporting date for cucumbers (planted 6/1-8/15 in Knox County)
September 30: Reporting date for value loss and controlled environment crop (for the coming program year)
September 30: NAP application closing date for garlic, wheat, barley, rye and mint for the following year’s crop
October 10: Offices closed in observance of Columbus Day
November 1: Final application for payment for 2016 ELAP for losses occurring 10/1/2015 to 9/30/2016
November 4: Final date to submit a prevented planting claim for 2016 fall wheat with 10/20 final plant date
November 11: Offices closed in observance of Veteran’s Day
November 15: Reporting date for perennial grazing and forage crops (alfalfa, grass, mixed forages, clover, etc.)
November 15: Final date to submit a prevented planting claim for 2016 fall wheat with 10/31 final plant date
November 15: NAP application closing date for perennial grazing and forage crops (alfalfa, grass, mixed forages, clover, etc.)
November 20: NAP application closing date for apples, apricots, aronia (chokeberry), asparagus, blueberries, caneberries, cherries, grapes, hops, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries
November 24: Offices closed in observance of Thanksgiving Day
December 1: NAP application closing date for honey for the following year
December 15: Reporting date for 2016 fall mint, fall-seeded small grains
December 16: Deadline Extended: MPP-Dairy 2017 registration and election ends
December 26: Offices closed in observance of Christmas DayIndiana-soybean-crop-2014  important FSA Dates, Deadlines & Holidays Indiana soybean crop 20141

USDA Crop Payment Subsidies Issued to Farmers Nationwide

USDA Announces $4 Billion in Safety-Net Payments to Farmers Amid Commodity Market Downside

Starting October 28, 2015, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin making payments to farmers to cover losses from the 2014 crop year. Approximately one-half of farmers with covered commodities such as corn, soybeans and variety of other crops will start to receive payments as part of the 2014 Farm Bill program.

For the first time, farmers, under the current Farm Bill only recieve payments when markets or poor crop years occur. The old direct payment program triggered payments regardless of the quality of the crop or price, the new program called ARC or PLC triggers a government payment only when commodity markets or severe weather cause unexpected or sustained drops in the price per bushel or farm revenues.

For complete details from the USDA, including a FAQ section, visit : www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc.

Grain Bin Storage Loans from FSA

The USDA recently announced an updated and expanded Farm Storage and Facility Loan program, helping farmers invest into grain bin storage and upgrade corn & soybean storage grain legs with low-interest loans for financing these capital improvements.

In addition to offer low interest rates on grain bin construction loans, the USDA has lessened the security requirements for loans up to $100,000.

No longer are farmers required to put a lien on farm real estate or farmland, only a promissory note/security agreement is required for these low interest loans up to $50K.

Construction loans for grain bins and grain bin storage with low interest rates  Grain Bin Storage Loans from FSA farmland marketing selling farms indiana

Consult with your local FSA office or local bank to determine how to best pursue the construction of grain bins on your farm.

As with other USDA programs, the loans for the construction of grain bin storage must fall into eligible commodity categories and corn and soybean  storage in Indiana meet this requirement

It is always advised that you consult you local FSA Agent and Indiana county office about this loan program and what interest rates you may qualify for to build grain bins and grain storage on your farm.

For more information visit  www.fsa.usda.gov

Drainage Water Management

Taking Tile to the Next Level

Part 1 of a 2 part series

In agricultural communities across the country there continues to be shift in thinking about the on-farm practice of drainage (think tile) to water management. Every season, more and more producers across the state of Indiana are implementing more than pattern tile systems and moving toward fully controlled Drainage Systems – giving farmers control over the amount of sub-surface water in their fields at any time of the season.

During times of the year when farms don’t require as much water, farmers can manage the amount that is held in the subsoil. With a Drainage Water

Utilizing a control structure (above or below the ground), farmers with Drainage Water Management Systems can decide when and to what extent they want their tile systems to operate.  Drainage Water Management drainage water mgmt illustration Frankenburger

Utilizing a control structure (above or below the ground), farmers with Drainage Water Management Systems can decide when and to what extent they want their tile systems to operate.

Management (DWM) System, landowners get all of the benefits of getting rid of the excess water when it’s not needed as well as draining no more water than necessary from the field. Additionally, with DWM systems, there is a reduction in nutrient runoff reducing nitrate pollution to waterways, ponds, and our interconnected water systems.

  1. With controlled drainage, farm fields achieve full drainage before getting out for field operation.
  2. During the growing season, drainage can be reduced to keep critical moisture in the soil.
  3. In the fallow (post-harvest), productivity & conservation benefits combine when drainage can be turned off completely to retain the water soluble nutrients in the soil profile and reduce run-off.

Two leading factors that influence yield and productivity are excess water and the lack of water during critical plant growth periods.  Research at universities such as Purdue, Minnesota, and Kansas are producing results that show significant increases in yields and reduction in nitrate levels in drainage water. Chris Freeland, the Ag Drainage Project Manager at Dwenger Excavating told us that, “DWM has the capacity to bump yield several percent when managed properly.” According to a study conducted by Purdue University, nitrate level run-off can be reduced by an average of 20% annually.*

Drainage Water Management promises a lot of benefits, but it’s not meant for every farm or field. “Until you know what the challenges are for your field, and have made a solid plan, you can’t justify an investment in DWM,” added Freeland. In her ten (10) years of experience in soil and water management, Chris has helped design pattern tile and DWM systems for landowners across West Central Indiana and as more and more people look to farm smarter in response to rising input costs, Freeland recommends the following to anyone considering DWM on their own farms.

  • Identify Your Goals & Objectives

    Whether the end result you seek is based on productivity gains, water conservation in your soils or if you are worried about potential legislation regarding nitrate runoff, your goals should be identified upfront to ensure the system meets your needs and budget.

  • Create a Plan

    Once you’ve identified the benefits you want to achieve in a DWM system, the local NRCS office can help with a Conservation Activity Plan (known as a CAP 130). This plan is used to determine feasibility, action steps, cost analysis, and ROI. Those interested should contact their district conservationist to get the ball rolling. In many cases, NRCS/EQUIP funding is available to hire a certified technical services provider to create the plan for you.

  • Economics / ROI

    Once you have completed a DWM CAP 130 plan with the NRCS, it’s time to look at the economics. How well can your investment in DWM be justified in yield gains, input savings, and conservation benefits? There are higher upfront costs associated with a DWM system, but when yield is considered a multiplier over time, the economic feasibility for your fields will become much clearer.

According to the USDA’s Indiana County Acres Summary**, nearly 80,000 acres or 30% of the farms in Benton County are ideally suited for DWM, with over 40% of the cropland acres in White County and approximately 18% of Tippecanoe County farms. While those numbers seem large, there are limitations to DWM including higher upfront costs, having the right soil profiles, slope, and topography.  Regardless of your goals, there remains a lot of opportunity to consider how Drainage Water Management could affect your farming operation.

Pros of Drainage Water Management

  • Water Conservation, helpful in times of drought
  • Improved Water Quality downstream
  • Yield Multiplier / Production Benefits
  • NRCS/EQUIP Funding available

Cons of Drainage Water Management

  • Higher upfront cost
  • Must have the right soils
  • Topography / Slope limitations

It’s worth noting that Drainage Water Management and Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) is not the same thing. SDI is an extension of DWM and once a DWM system is in place, you’re really just a few steps away from accomplishing Subsurface Drip Irrigation, a topic we’ll drill into in part 2 of this series.

Drainage Water Management and Subsurface Drip Irrigation have become very compelling production practices for the farmer of today and tomorrow. With potential for long-term yield boosts in both good and bad weather years, the risk vs. reward of these investments continue to paint a picture that as Chris Freeland puts it, “is more about farming smarter, keeping one of your biggest assets (your soil) as healthy as possible, and developing management practices that have the potential to boost productivity year over year.”

About the Author

Drainage Water Management Johnny Klemme Geswein Farms for sale

Husband, Father, Author, Land Broker & Advisor

The Back Forty is regular column written by Published Author, Purdue Graduate and Farmland Broker Johnny Klemme. His reporting, interviews with Ag Experts and more can be found at www.PrairieFarmland.com/blog



*Drainage Water Management Impacts on Nitrate Loads in Indiana. – Dr. Jane Frankenberger, Roxanne Adeuya, , Nathan Utt, Eileen Kladivko, Laura Bowling, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Purdue University, 2009 – 2012.

**Indiana Cropland Suitable for Drainage Water Management. – USDA Central National Technology Support Center, 2011.

Illustration Credit, Dr. Jane Frankenberger Purdue University.

National Ag Day Celebration on March 18, 2015

March 18, 2015, is National Ag Day and in honor and recognition of the 42nd Anniversay of Ag Day, events are planned nationwide in Washington D.C. and in agricultural farmland communities across the country. Classrooms and students will also be celebrating and promoting the importance of agriculture using this year’s theme “Sustaining Future Generations.”

Ag Day is an educational event to help more Americans understand the value of agriculture in their daily lives. Here are just a few reasons why we celebrate Ag Day in Indiana each year:

Increased knowledge of agriculture and nutrition allows individuals to make informed personal choices about diet and health.

Informed citizens will be able to participate in establishing the policies that will support a competitive agricultural industry in this country and abroad.

Employment opportunities exist across the board in agriculture. Career choices include:
• farm production
• agribusiness management and marketing
• agricultural research and engineering
• food science
• processing and retailing
• banking
• education
• landscape architecture
• urban planning
• energy
• farmland real estate and other fields.

  • Beginning in kindergarten and continuing through 12th grade, all students should receive some systematic instruction about agriculture.
  • Agriculture is too important a topic to be taught only to the small percentage of students considering careers in agriculture and pursuing vocational agricultural studies.
  • Agricultural literacy includes an understanding of agriculture’s history and current economic, social and environmental significance to all Americans. This understanding includes some knowledge of food, fiber and renewable resource production, processing and domestic and international market

On March 18, 2015, ACA will host major events in the nation’s capital, including the Mix-and-Mingle Luncheon and the National Celebration of Agriculture Dinner. Additionally, the ACA will bring approximately 100 college students to Washington to deliver the message of Ag Day to the Hill. These events honor National Agriculture Day and mark a nationwide effort to tell the true
story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us. A number of producers, agricultural associations, corporations, students and government organizations involved in agriculture are expected to participate.

National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America. ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society. In addition to the events in Washington, D.C., on March 18, the ACA will once again feature the Ag Day essay, poster and video contests.
Visit www.agday.org for more information on National Ag Day in 2015.

Yield History & Base Acres Deadlines Quickly Approach

Yield History Updates and Base Acre Reallocation are nearly upon us. February 27, 2015 marks the final day that producers can update this information at the local county Farm Service Agency (FSA).

February 27, UPDATE – Deadline Extended to March 31 , ANOTHER UPDATE, DEADLINE APRIL 7, 2015 is the latest Deadline for Yield History & Base Acre Reallocation

Whether you have decided to go down the path of ARC or PLC, the revamped farm bill safety net payments require decisions to be made in some capacity.

We’ve reported on renowned Ag economist Dr. Chris Hurt and his suggestions on ARC vs. PLC here, and encourage all farmers, producers and landowners to seek the advice of the FSA agency in your county. The ability to update yields hasn’t been possible for over 10 years and this is a great opportunity to do so if they are higher.

REMEMBER, if you do not update your yields by APRIL 7th MARCH 31st Febrary 27, 2015 , your farm’s current yield and base acres will be used.

By March 31st, ff you do no select an ARC or PLC program then here will be no 2014 payments for that farm

ADDITIONALLY, your farm will default to PLC (Price Loss Coverage) program through 2018. 

Seek the advice of your local FSA Agent and the resources available to you through the USDA and the various calculators available online.