Farmers at a meeting learning about available resources. Photo: USDA, Flickr Creative Commons
FSA County Committee members play a critical role in FSA options, often making decisions about FSA farm programs at the county level (i.e. what kinds of programs will be offered in their country). Committees are made up of farmers and ranchers that participate in FSA programs and are elected by other producers in their county.
The nomination period for county committee elections opened June 15th and runs through August 1st. Newly-elected committee members will take office on January 1, 2018, meeting once a month over a three-year term to make decisions about disaster programs, conservation programs, emergency programs, and other important agricultural issues.
Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others, and organizations that work with beginning farmers, women farmers, and minority farmers can also nominate candidates. Candidates must participate in an FSA program and live in the area where the election is being held. You can request nomination forms from the local USDA Service Center or obtain them online at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections.
All nomination forms for the 2017 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2017.
For more information, visit USDA’s website at: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/news-room/county-committee-elections/index
The California-based CCOF Foundation is now accepting applications from certified organic producers for its Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund.
The fund provides direct financial assistance to certified organic producers and processors/handlers who have suffered losses in 2015 due to extreme hardship.
- Certified organic operation currently in good standing (valid organic certificate required for consideration)
- Have not received CCOF disaster or hardship funding in the last three years
- Have experienced severe economic loss in the 2015 calendar year
- Can submit documentation or supporting evidence of economic loss resulting from the hardship (required for consideration)
- Can submit a copy of receipt for organic certification fees paid in 2015 (by any accredited certifier)
- Have not received federal assistance for the same loss
Click here to download the application.
Applications are due to CCOF Foundation by October 23, 2015.
Producers who suffered severe damage from Hurricane Sandy have until January 29, 2013 to sign up for cost-share assistance through the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP). Removing debris from farmland and restoring permanent fencing are two rehabilitation measures that may be eligible for assistance of up to 75% of their cost. To be eligible, approved restoration measures must not be carried out until an application has been filed, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) has done an on-site inspection of damage, and a needs determination has been made by the appropriate agency.
As Hurricane Sandy barrels into the Northeast, many farmers are feeling the impact of this superstorm. Family farm organizations, state departments of agriculture and emergency management agencies have issued warning, urging farmers to prepare for the storm’s damage. The National Young Farmers’ Coalition has compiled a list of preparedness suggestions to help farmers minimize destruction to their crops, livestock, equipment and farmland.
As the storm continues, farmers are encouraged to take important steps to prepare for the after-effects:
- Compile important phone numbers and documents for your county extension agent, crop insurance agent, emergency management district, county Farm Service Agency (FSA) and veterinarians.
- Document and photograph farm losses to report to your state’s FSA office.
- Visit the FSA website for more information on Disaster Assistance Programs.
- Any damage to homes or barns should be reported to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 1-800-621-FEMA.
For state-specific information about Hurricane Sandy, contact your state’s department of agriculture.
This post will be updated with more resources as they come in. Please let us know if we are missing any important information or assistance programs. Stay safe!
**UPDATE** For information on how to support recovery efforts in state’s affected by Sandy, visit the Responding to Sandy resources page compiled by The Vermont Community Foundation. Visit Farm Aid’s Disaster Assistance for Family Farmers page for a comprehensive list of recovery resources available to farmers facing natural disasters.
The National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service (ATTRA), managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has put together a wealth of resources on Water Quality, Conservation, Drought, and Irrigation for farmers across the country facing this historic and severe drought (see the U.S. Drought Monitor map for the most up-to-date conditions across the country). These publications offer information and recommendations for drought-stricken farmers on topics that address crop and livestock water use and conservation, soil moisture management and proper irrigation. Examples, include:
For more information and to access these resources, visit ATTRA’s Drought Resource Guide webpage. Also, be sure to consult Farm Aid’s Diaster Assistance for Farmers page for additional assistance farmers can consider when disasters strike.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has expanded the FSA emergency loan program to include assistance for equine operations facing losses due to natural disasters.
Certain equine farms and ranches within or contiguous to a county declared a disaster area by the President or the Secretary of Agriculture can apply for emergency funds to restore or replace essential property, cover production costs associated with the disaster, pay essential living expenses, reorganize the operation, and refinance certain debts.
For more information on FSA’s emergency loan program eligibility, requirements, terms and conditions, please refer to the FSA emergency loan program fact sheet and www.fsa.usda.gov.