Farm Service Agency Tree Assistance Program Provides Aid to Florida Citrus Growers Combatting Greening

Larry Black is a fifth-generation citrus grower and general manager of Peace River Packing Company in Polk County, Fla.

By Lauren Moore, FSA Public Affairs Specialist

Adversity isn’t a stranger to Florida citrus growers. Throughout Florida’s history of citrus production, producers have dealt with damages left in the wake of multiple hurricanes and freezes.

Larry Black is a fifth-generation citrus grower and general manager of Peace River Packing Company in Polk County, Fla. His family has been a part of the citrus industry for over a century, planting citrus trees when they settled in Fort Meade in 1852. Continue reading

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FSA Helps “Berries by Bill” Bring Local Produce to Arkansas Schools

Bill Landreth, owner of Berries by Bill, delivers fresh seasonal fruit to a local school in Newport, Arkansas as part of the Farm to School program. 

By Jason Floriani, Arkansas FSA Farm Loan Officer

Bill Landreth, owner of Berries by Bill, Inc., has a u-pick strawberry patch and grows a variety of fresh produce sold on his farm and at local farmer’s markets. He can also be found making deliveries of his seasonal fruits to local schools in Arkansas.

Landreth said this is a “win-win” for him and the students. He is able to reduce waste by moving more of his product, while the students obtain nutritional, locally-grown, fresh fruit that might not always be available to them outside of school.  Since strawberries are normally harvested from early April through the end of May, his strawberries add variety to the school menu before school is out for summer. Continue reading

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Family Fruit and Vegetable Grower Depends on USDA Natural Disaster Safety Net for Long Term Success

 

Beth Hubbard (right), owner of Corey Lake Orchards, worked with Sharon Hoch (left) and Grant Drallette (center) from Michigan’s St. Joseph County FSA office to insure crops on her farm through FSA’s Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

by Savannah Halleaux, Public Affairs & Outreach Coordinator, Michigan FSA 

At Corey Lake Orchards in Three Rivers, Michigan, (South of Kalamazoo) springtime means the strawberry beds are prepped, trees in the orchard are budding, grape pruning is done and tomatoes are thriving in the greenhouse. Manager Beth Hubbard waits for her asparagus crop to be harvest-ready, kicking off another season at the farm’s retail market.

In 2008, Hubbard left corporate America to manage her family’s farm and discovered the importance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) safety net programs for diversified fruit and vegetable producers.

“You would think that with all this crop diversity we’d be financially covered,” explained Hubbard. “For example, if we had a bad year on strawberries, we’d have a good year on plums and it would be a wash. It doesn’t work that way. You can have a couple crop failures and the others still don’t tide you over.” Continue reading

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Farm Service Agency Youth Loan Program Helps Georgia FFA Member Achieve Her Dream

Lizzi Neal of Perry, Georgia, has used four Farm Service Agency (FSA) youth loans to purchase, raise and exhibit livestock.

by Lauren Moore, FSA Public Affairs Specialist

Elizabeth “Lizzi” Neal’s passion for farming can be credited to her middle school agriculture teacher and a pig named Marmaduke.

Neal purchased Marmaduke, a crossbred market barrow, as her first show animal when she was in sixth grade at Perry Middle School in Perry, Georgia. Soon after, she became involved in various events and competitions. Continue reading

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FSA Program Supports Ethanol Production, Improves Iowa Farmer’s Bottom Line

Bailed stover ready for shipment to a cellulosic ethanol plant. Photo courtesy of Jay Gunderson.

By Kelly Novak, FSA Energy Programs Manager

There’s an old saying that when a farmer raises a hog the only part that isn’t used is the squeal.

In Ringsted, Iowa, Jay and Roslyn Gunderson raise hogs, along with soybeans and corn, on their 1,500 acre farm. The hogs eat the corn and produce plenty of nutrient-rich manure as a byproduct. This effluent is used to nourish the soil, but that leaves another by-product to be handled: corn stover, stalks left after the corn harvest. Recently, the Gunderson’s came to a feedstocks logistics conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to discuss the importance of corn stover and operations like theirs to renewable energy production.  Continue reading

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Farm Loan Deputy Administrator Talks Farm Credit at 2017 Ag Outlook Forum

FSA Farm Loan Programs Deputy Administrator Jim Radintz addresses an audience at USDA’s 93rd Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Virginia. He stressed that FSA’s $23 billion portfolio is vital to the economic health of farms and rural communities. Photo: Lance Cheung, USDA

By Wayne Maloney, Farm Service Agency

Credit is the lifeblood of agriculture, and a top USDA loan official talked about the importance of the Farm Service Agency to a large audience of lenders, crop insurance professionals, journalists and producers at the 2017 Agricultural Outlook Forum.  FSA Farm Loan Programs Deputy Administrator Jim Radintz discussed FSA’s role as part of a distinguished panel at the recent USDA Ag Outlook Forum in Crystal City, Virginia.  Continue reading

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Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service Officials Ask for Your Help in Controlling Palmer amaranth

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant physiologist Franck Dayan observes wild-type and herbicide-resistant biotypes of Palmer Amaranth (pigweed) as Mississippi State University graduate student, Daniela Ribeiro collects samples for DNA analysis at the ARS Natural Products Utilization Research Unit in Oxford, Miss. USDA photo by Stephen Ausmus.

By Chris Beyerhelm, Acting Administrator, Farm Service Agency and Leonard Jordan, Acting Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service

USDA has learned that Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri), an invasive weed, may have infested some newly-seeded (2016) conservation plantings across the upper Midwest. Palmer amaranth is highly competitive, and in fact, is the most competitive of the pigweed species. It grows rapidly and one plant can produce a quarter-million seeds.

We are concerned that this weed may cause conservation planting stand failure and spread from conservation plantings into crop fields. It can greatly inhibit crop growth. Yield losses have been reported at up to 91 percent for corn and 79 percent for soybeans. It can also be toxic to livestock because there is nitrate in the leaves. Continue reading

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USDA Microloans Fund Nine New Farmers in New York City

Administrator Val Dolcini visited new urban farms at the Square Roots campus in Brooklyn. He is pictured in front of one of the container farms with several of the borrowers and FSA staff (l-r): Jonathan Bernard, new farmer; Josh Aliber, new farmer; Carol Ronne, FSA Farm Loan Manager; Tobias Peggs, Square Roots CEO; Nabeela Lakhani, new farmer; Jim Barber, FSA NY State Director; and Val Dolcini, FSA Administrator.

FSA Administrator Val Dolcini Makes Urban Farm Visits

By Lynnette Wright, Public Affairs Specialist, New York Farm Service Agency

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini and New York State Executive Director, James Barber, traveled to Brooklyn recently to tour urban agriculture operations funded by USDA microloans. While in New York City Dolcini and Barber met with the producers, legislative representatives and partner organizations. Continue reading

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Message from the Administrator

FSA Issues Fiscal Year 2016 Impacts Report

The New Year affords us the opportunity to take stock of last year’s achievements, reflect on accomplishments, changes in our lives, and plan for the opportunities ahead. It’s also a good time to review our work at FSA over the past 12 months. In that spirit, we have published FSA’s new IMPACTS: Selected Accomplishments 2016 that highlights many of the great things we’ve done for America’s farmers and ranchers.

The Impacts Report is a summary review of the various programs and initiatives administered by the agency, including simple charts that show how agency funds were spent when serving production agriculture. Continue reading

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CRP Change Could Help New Farmers

Joe Dunn (left) talks to USDA Deputy Under Secretary Lanon Baccam and his son-in-law, Aaron White. Baccam visited the Dunn farm in central Iowa to announce changes to the CRP.

By Gene Lucht, Missouri Farmer Today

Link to article in Missouri Farmer Today: http://www.missourifarmertoday.com/news/crop/crp-change-could-help-new-farmers/article_da9d79cc-d29a-11e6-b1f0-9b4d6432a9f8.html

CARLISLE, Iowa — Beginning farmers will see increased opportunities to buy or rent farmland through a change in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) rules announced last week.

USDA officials came to the Joe Dunn farm near Carlisle, Iowa, to announce the change, saying that, as of Jan. 9, some landowners with property in existing CRP contracts would be able to terminate those contracts early without a penalty as long as they are transferring the property to a new or beginning farmer.

Continue reading

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