Inflation Reduction Act in Action | Farm Loans: Keeping Farmers Farming

Marcus Milford stands in foreground with two poultry barns in the background.

Marcus Milford has operated a poultry farm in Alabama since 2009. Photo by Rasheda Beckles, FSA.

By: Rasheda Beckles, FSA, Elmore Service Center, Wetumpka, Alabama  

Through no fault of their own, our nation’s farmers and ranchers have faced incredibly tough circumstances. That includes producer Marcus Milford of Alexander City, Ala., who is one of the more than 20,000 producers who received life-changing, transformational support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), USDA has been able to provide approximately $1.1 billion in immediate assistance for distressed borrowers, including those who were behind on their USDA farm loans, to help make them current.  

This helped producers like Marcus who were at risk of losing their operations due to several unprecedented challenges, including trade disruptions, a worldwide pandemic, continued impacts on input costs and markets, and more frequent, more intense, climate-induced natural disasters.  Continue reading

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Inflation Reduction Act in Action | Farm Loans: USDA Helps Save, Strengthen Maine Dairy

Dairy producer Tom Drew stands in front of his tractor and equipment.

Tom Drew has operated an organic dairy farm in Maine since 1994. Photo by Kevin Barnes, FSA.

By: Kevin Barnes, FSA, Presque Isle Service Center, Maine

Through no fault of their own, our nation’s farmers and ranchers have faced incredibly tough circumstances over the last few years. That includes dairy producer Tom Drew of Woodland, Maine, who is one of the more than 20,000 producers who received life-changing, transformational support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), USDA was able to provide approximately $1.1 billion in immediate assistance for the borrowers who were behind on their USDA farm loans to help make them current.

This helped producers like Tom who were at risk of losing their operations due to several unprecedented challenges, including trade disruptions, a worldwide pandemic, continued impacts on input costs and markets, and more frequent, more intense, climate-induced natural disasters.

Tom has been operating an organic dairy farm since 1994 where he currently manages a herd of 200 plus cattle and milks approximately 55 cows daily. He has had a farm loan with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) since 2015. Continue reading

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Lead Your FSA: A Veteran of Agriculture and Service

Thoune Hongphao stands in his sugar cane juice stand surrounded by fresh fruits.

Thoune is the current chairperson for the Honolulu FSA County Committee. Photo courtesy of Thoune Hongphao.

By: Josephine Lealasola, FSA

The nomination period for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s annual county committee election began June 15 and continues through Aug. 1, 2022. Throughout the nomination period, we’ll be introducing county committee members from across the nation. This week meet Thoune Hongphao, the current chairperson for the Honolulu FSA County Committee in Hawaii.   

A Natural Path 

Thoune is a third-generation farmer who immigrated from Laos to the United States when he was in high school. Thoune joined the Army upon graduating from high school and served a distinguished 20-year career, which included a tour in Afghanistan serving as a heavy equipment mechanic specializing in the maintenance of tanks and combat vehicles.  Continue reading

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Lead Your FSA: A Learning Experience

Marcia Hoplin kneels in a green field.

Marcia Hoplin currently serves as the chairman of her local FSA county committee in Traill County, North Dakota. USDA Photo.

By: Lindsey Abentroth, FSA

The nomination period for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s annual county committee election began June 15 and continues through Aug. 1, 2022. Throughout the nomination period, we’ll be introducing county committee members from across the nation. This week meet Marcia Hoplin of Traill County, North Dakota, where she currently serves as the chairman of her local FSA county committee.

Getting Started

Marcia has been involved in agriculture her entire life. Growing up, she was her father’s main hand on the farm. Marcia took over the 1,000-acre grain and bean farm when he passed away in 1997 and has been running the farm by herself ever since. Continue reading

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Living a Generational Legacy in South Carolina

 Pictured left to right are Markel, Warren, and Corey Dixon, standing by a Dixon Farms sign.

From left to right, Markel, Warren, and Corey Dixon own and operate Dixon Farms, a sixth-generation farm in Horry County that has been in operation for nearly 200 years. Photo by Sabrenna Bryant, FSA.

By: Sabrenna Bryant, FSA, South Carolina 

Meet the Dixon Family of Aynor, South Carolina. When speaking to Warren Dixon about his family’s farming operation there is unmistakable pride in his voice. Dixon Farms has maintained continual operation for over 200 years and is still going strong as the sixth generation now emerges to join the family business.

“We’ve been in this area for a long time, and much of the land that we rent is small, minority owned farms,” Warren said. “In the past, much of this land supported 30-40 minority families. The family currently farms 800 acres, our main crops being tobacco, sweet potatoes, soybeans, and corn.” Continue reading

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Lead Your FSA: Generational Passion for Agriculture

Chris Naylor, county committee member, stands in the center of the photo next to a big round bale of hay.

Meet Chris Naylor of Sampson County, where he currently serves as chairman of his local FSA county committee. Photo by Alicia Best, FSA.

By: Alicia Best, FSA

The nomination period for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s annual county committee election began June 15 and continues through Aug. 1, 2022. Throughout the nomination period, we’ll be introducing county committee members from across the nation. This week meet Chris Naylor of Sampson County, North Carolina, where he currently serves as chairman of his local FSA county committee. Continue reading

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Lead Your FSA: Empowering a Community with Urban Agriculture

Urban COC member Mike Beauchamp stands on the left and is receiving money from a a patron of the farmers market, shown on the right.

Mike Beauchamp is the owner of Know Dat Grow Dat urban farm and a member of the new FSA Urban County Committee in New Orleans. Photo by Anthony Reed, FSA.

By: Anthony Reed, FSA

The nomination period for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s annual county committee election began June 15 and continues through Aug. 1, 2022. Throughout the nomination period, we’ll be introducing county committee members from across the nation. This week meet Mike Beauchamp of New Orleans, Louisiana, where he is the owner of Know Dat Grow Dat urban farm and a member of the new FSA Urban County Committee. Continue reading

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Lead Your FSA: A History of Public Service

Photo of producer John Litz with his farm operation in the background.

John Litz is the current FSA state executive director for Tennessee, and a former member of his local county committee in Hamblen County. Photo courtesy of John Litz.

By: Greer Gill, FSA

The nomination period for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s annual county committee election began June 15 and continues through Aug. 1, 2022. Throughout the nomination period, we’ll be introducing county committee members from across the nation. This week meet John Litz, the current FSA state executive director for Tennessee, and a former member of his local county committee in Hamblen County. Continue reading

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Growing Apples and Autumn Traditions

Eric Behling is a fourth-generation farmer and owner of Behling Orchards. Photo by Lynnette Wright, FSA.

By Lynnette Wright, FSA, New York

Meet Eric Behling, fourth-generation farmer and co-owner of Behling Orchards in Mexico, New York. The farm spans over 800 acres, 200 of which are apple orchards. Those orchards produce 80 different varieties of apples, including many acres of Honeycrisp, their number one seller.

Behling Orchards is owned and operated by Eric, his brother, Steve, mother, Marion, and son, Orion. In addition to apples, they grow a variety of winter squash, pumpkins, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and much more. Continue reading

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Growing and Grafting a Dream

Dick and Jean Hoffman started Hoffman Pecan Farm in 1962 with a few pecan trees and 80 acres. Photo by Kelsey Chambers, FSA.

By Madeline Alewine, FSA, Oklahoma

Meet Dick Hoffman of Hoffman Pecan Farm in Payne County, Oklahoma. Dick and his wife, Jean, started the operation in 1962 with a few pecan trees and 80 acres. Over the course of 58 years, their small purchase has grown into a much larger farm with more than 1,000 trees and over 100 different pecan varieties.

Growing the Business

Hoffman Pecan Farm is a family business operated by Dick, Jean, and their three sons. The family attributes their success to good grafting practices and great business.

Five years after the Hoffman’s initial land purchase, they were encouraged to begin grafting pecan trees. It was in 1981 that Oklahoma State University recruited Dick to provide the grafting wood to other pecan producers around the state. Continue reading

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