USDA Encourages Early Registration for FSA Programs
WASHINGTON, March 21, 2014 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia today recommended that farmers and ranchers who plan to participate in FSA programs register in advance. Producers are encouraged to report farm records and business structure changes to a local FSA Service Center before April 15, 2014.
Enrollment for the disaster programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, including the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will begin by April 15, 2014.
“We expect significant interest in these programs,” said Garcia. “Early registration should help improve the sign-up process and allow us to expedite implementation of the programs. I strongly encourage producers to complete their paperwork ahead of time.”
Examples of updates or changes to report include:
- New producers or producers who have not reported farm records to FSA.
- Producers who have recently bought, sold or rented land. Those producers need to ensure that changes have been reported and properly recorded by local FSA county office personnel. Reports of purchased or sold property should include a copy of the land deed, and if land has been leased, then documentation should be provided that indicates the producer had/has control of the acreage.
- Producers that have changed business structures (e.g. formed a partnership or LLC) need to ensure that these relationships and shares are properly recorded with FSA. Even family farms that have records on file may want to ensure that this is recorded accurately as it may impact payment limits.
Farm records can be updated during business hours at FSA Service Centers that administer the county where the farm or ranch is located. Producers can contact their local FSA Service Center in advance to find out what paperwork they may need. In addition, bank account information should be supplied or updated if necessary to ensure that producers receive payments as quickly as possible through direct deposit.
While any producer may report farm records and business structure changes, it is especially important for producers who suffered livestock, livestock grazing, honeybee, farm-raised fish, or tree/vine losses for 2011, 2012, 2013 or 2014, and may be eligible for assistance through one of the four disaster programs.
Farmers say tax changes pose threat
MAKAWAO – Upcountry farmers said this week that they have concerns about proposals to change the way agricultural lands are taxed.
A number of landowners said any changes that increased what they pay in property taxes could put small farmers and ranchers out of business. Others questioned how the proposal would affect people who stop farming because of old age.
“I’m retired, and I’m worried about how we’re going to afford this,” said former persimmon farmer Blanche Ito. “All of a sudden, we’re faced with this new bill that might increase my taxes, and that concerns me.”
Ito was among around 40 residents who attended a special meeting of the Maui County Council Budget and Finance Committee on Monday night at Kalama Intermediate School in Makawao.
The committee is considering legislation that would tax the land under a home on an agricultural lot in the same way as a regular residential property.
Currently, an agricultural house lot is taxed as a percentage of the larger parcel’s total value, often resulting in a significantly lower amount than what a similar lot in a residential neighborhood would be worth. Council members have said the measure would be a first step in bringing more equity to the property tax system.
But several testifiers questioned that idea.
Axis deer on Hawaii island pose problem for state
State officials are developing plans to remove axis deer in Hawaii County before damage becomes significant to ranch grasslands, farm crops and plants that are vital to maintain watershed areas.
“We will need to take quick and effective action to prevent costly and destructive impacts on the Big Island that will last for generations, perhaps forever,” said William Aila, director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Kahua Ranch Ltd. Chairman Monte Richards said axis deer can cause great damage to Hawaii island’s forest in Kohala and become difficult to remove once they’re established.
“The thing is to get to them early, and you’ve got a chance,” Richards said.
Richards said Hawaii island ranchers successfully fought against the idea of importing axis deer in the 1960s. He suspects the axis deer were illegally shipped to the island in recent years by someone who wanted the animal for game hunting.
State conservation officials working closely with trackers and using game cameras to survey areas in recent weeks have confirmed the presence of axis deer across the island, including in Kohala, Kau, Kona and Mauna Kea.
New Generation of Farmers Emerges in Oregon
CORVALLIS, Ore. — For years, Tyler Jones, a livestock farmer here, avoided telling his grandfather how disillusioned he had become with industrial farming.
After all, his grandfather had worked closely with Earl L. Butz, the former federal secretary of agriculture who was known for saying, “Get big or get out.”
But several weeks before his grandfather died, Mr. Jones broached the subject. His grandfather surprised him. “You have to fix what Earl and I messed up,” Mr. Jones said his grandfather told him.
Now, Mr. Jones, 30, and his wife, Alicia, 27, are among an emerging group of people in their 20s and 30s who have chosen farming as a career. Many shun industrial, mechanized farming and list punk rock, Karl Marx and the food journalist Michael Pollan as their influences. The Joneses say they and their peers are succeeding because of Oregon’s farmer-foodie culture, which demands grass-fed and pasture-raised meats.
“People want to connect more than they can at their grocery store,” Ms. Jones said. “We had a couple who came down from Portland and asked if they could collect their own eggs. We said, ‘O.K., sure.’ They want to trust their producer, because there’s so little trust in food these days.”
Garry Stephenson, coordinator of the Small Farms Program at Oregon State University, said he had not seen so much interest among young people in decades. “It’s kind of exciting,”
Rain does little to ease drought
The statewide drought appears to be easing as cooler La Nina conditions bring more rain to Hawaii, according to the National Weather Service.
But farmers and ranchers said a protracted amount of rain is needed before they can recover from several years of extremely dry conditions.
Some areas, such as southwestern Kauai and leeward sections of the Big Island and Maui, did not receive significant rainfall in October, continuing extreme drought conditions, National Weather Service officials said Friday.
Late Thursday, thunderstorms along with lightning passed by Hawaii, and most of the anticipated heavy rainfall missed the islands.
The weather service reported 0.15 inches of rain Thursday at Honolulu Airport and 0.6 inches at Lihue Airport but none for airports in Hilo and Kahului.
In October, while many places reported less than normal rainfall, some areas exceeded their normal monthly average, including Haiku on Maui with 5.71 inches — 12 percent above normal — and Honaunau on the Big Island with 5.54 inches of rain, 7 percent above normal.
Isle agriculture, cuisine celebrated at weekend festival | Hawaii247.org
Hawaiian wild boar will be sizzling on the rotisserie, its tempting aroma wafting from an open fire. Also dazzling diners will be tantalizing cuisine prepared at numerous chef stations using locally raised lamb, mutton, goat, pork and beef—plus a cornucopia of fresh, island-grown veggies.
The onolicious fun is part of the 14th Mealani A Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.
The day-long ag showcase features Big Island products Friday, Sept. 18 and culminates with the 6-8 p.m. taste extravaganza.
More than 30 of the state’s premiere chefs rely on their culinary expertise to prepare delectable dishes using a variety of meat cuts — everything from beef tongue to oxtail.
While “grazing the range,” eager eaters can get acquainted with Hawaii’s food producers at gaily-decorated vendor booths and talk story with the farmers and ranchers who make a living growing our food. Tickets are $40 presale; $80 at the door.
Prior to the evening taste experience, learn how to prepare local, pasture-raised beef at a 4 p.m. culinary demonstration: “How to Cook Grass-Fed Beef 101” by Chefs Jackie Lau and Ronnie Nasuti of Roy’s Restaurants-Hawaii.
Participants receive a takeaway recipe and cooking tips. Tickets are $10 for the informative, hour-long cooking demo.