Dates of Importance
September 5, Offices closed in observance of Labor Day.
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Gibson County Fair
August 29- September 3, Fair Week, FSA will maintain a booth in the Durand Lowery Building.
Fair books are available at the Gibson County Ag Extension Service. Contact Gibson County Extension Service, 731-855-7656 with questions.
Using the correct signature when doing business with FSA can save time and prevent a delay in program benefits.
The following are FSA signature guidelines:
- A married woman must sign her given name: Mrs. Mary Doe, not Mrs. John Doe
- For a minor, FSA requires the minor's signature and one from the minor’s parent
Note, by signing a document with a minor, the parent is liable for actions of the minor and may be liable for refunds, liquidated damages, etc.
When signing on one’s behalf the signature must agree with the name typed or printed on the form or be a variation that does not cause the name and signature to be in disagreement. Example - John W. Smith is on the form. The signature may be John W. Smith or J.W. Smith or J. Smith. Or Mary J. Smith may be signed as Mrs. Mary Joe Smith, M.J. Smith, Mary Smith, etc.
FAXED signatures will be accepted for certain forms and other documents provided the acceptable program forms are approved for FAXED signatures. Producers are responsible for the successful transmission and receipt of FAXED information.
Spouses may sign documents on behalf of each other for FSA and CCC programs in which either has an interest, unless written notification denying a spouse this authority has been provided to the county office.
Spouses cannot sign on behalf of each other as an authorized signatory for partnerships, joint ventures, corporations or other similar entities. Likewise, a spouse cannot sign a document on behalf of the other in order to affirm the eligibility of oneself.
Any member of a general partnership can sign on behalf of the general partnership and bind all members unless the Articles of Partnership are more restrictive. Spouses may sign on behalf of each other’s individual interest in a partnership, unless notification denying a spouse that authority is provided to the county office. Acceptable signatures for general partnerships, joint ventures, corporations, estates, and trusts must consist of an indicator “by” or “for” the individual’s name, individual’s name and capacity, or individual’s name, capacity, and name of entity.
For additional clarification on proper signatures contact your local FSA office.
If you have experienced delays in receiving Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments, Loan Deficiency Payments (LDPs) and Market Gains on Marketing Assistance Loans (MALs), it may be because you have not filed form CCC-941, Adjusted Gross Income Certification.
If you don’t have a valid CCC-941 on file for the applicable crop year you will not receive payments. All farm operator/tenants/owners who have not filed a CCC-941 and have pending payments should IMMEDIATELY file the form with their recording county FSA office. Farm operators and tenants are encouraged to ensure that their landowners have filed the form.
FSA can accept the CCC-941 for 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Unlike the past, you must have the CCC-941 certifying your AGI compliance before any payments can be issued.
In order to claim a Farm Service Agency (FSA) payment on behalf of a deceased producer, all program conditions for the payment must have been met before the applicable producer’s date of death.
If a producer earned a FSA payment prior to his or her death, the following is the order of precedence for the representatives of the producer:
- administrator or executor of the estate
- the surviving spouse
- surviving sons and daughters, including adopted children
- surviving father and mother
- surviving brothers and sisters
- heirs of the deceased person who would be entitled to payment according to the State law
For FSA to release the payment, the legal representative of the deceased producer must file a form FSA-325 to claim the payment for themselves or an estate. The county office will verify that the application, contract, loan agreement, or other similar form requesting payment issuance, was signed by the applicable deadline by the deceased or a person legally authorized to act on their behalf at that time of application.
If the application, contract or loan agreement form was signed by someone other than the deceased participant, FSA will determine whether the person submitting the form has the legal authority to submit the form.
Payments will be issued to the respective representative’s name using the deceased program participant’s tax identification number. Payments made to representatives are subject to offset regulations for debts owed by the deceased.
FSA is not responsible for advising persons in obtaining legal advice on how to obtain program benefits that may be due to a participant who has died, disappeared or who has been declared incompetent.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is updating its farm loan programs to better support current borrowers, including historically underserved producers. These improvements are part of USDA’s commitment to increase equity in all programs, including farm loans that provide important access to capital for covering operating expenses and purchasing land and equipment.
The 2018 Farm Bill authorized FSA to provide equitable relief to certain direct loan borrowers, who are non-compliant with program requirements due to good faith reliance on a material action of, advice of, or non-action from an FSA official. Previously, borrowers may have been required to immediately repay the loan or convert it to a non-program loan with higher interest rates, less favorable terms, and limited loan servicing.
Now, FSA has additional flexibilities to assist borrowers in such situations. If the agency provided incorrect guidance to an existing direct loan borrower, the agency may provide equitable relief to that borrower. FSA may assist the borrower by allowing the borrower to keep their loans at current rates or other terms received in association with the loan which was determined to be noncompliant or the borrower may receive other equitable relief for the loan as the Agency determines to be appropriate.
USDA encourages producers to reach out to their local loan officials to ensure they fully understand the wide range of loan and servicing options available that can assist them in starting, expanding or maintaining their operation.
Equitable relief is one of several changes authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill that USDA has made to the direct and guaranteed loan programs. Other changes that were previously implemented include:
- Modifying the existing three-year farming experience requirement for Direct Farm Ownership loans to include additional items as acceptable experience.
- Allowing socially disadvantaged and beginning farmer applicants to receive a guarantee equal to 95%, rather than the otherwise applicable 90% guarantee.
- Expanding the definition of and providing additional benefits to veteran farmers.
- Allowing borrowers who received restructuring with a write down to maintain eligibility for an Emergency loan.
- Expanding the scope of eligible issues and persons covered under the agricultural Certified Mediation Program.
Additional information on these changes is available in the March 8, 2022 rule on the Federal Register.
FSA has taken other recent steps to increase equity in its programs. Last summer, USDA announced it was providing $67 million in competitive loans through its new Heirs’ Property Relending Program to help agricultural producers and landowners resolve heirs’ land ownership and succession issues. FSA also invested $4.7 million to establish partnerships with organizations to provide outreach and technical assistance to historically underserved farmers and ranchers, which contributed to a fourfold increase in participation by historically underserved producers in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2), a key pandemic assistance program, since April 2021.
Additionally, in January 2021, Secretary Vilsack announced a temporary suspension of past-due debt collection and foreclosures for distressed direct loan borrowers due to the economic hardship imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Producers can explore available loan options using the Farm Loan Discover Tool on farmers.gov (also available in Spanish) or by contacting their local USDA Service Center. Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Due to the pandemic, some USDA Service Centers are open to limited visitors. Producers can contact their local Service Center to set up an in-person or phone appointment to discuss loan options.
The word “buffer” may evoke a safety net, a filter or an area of shrubs and trees. In the landscape context, that’s pretty much what it is. A buffer, when referred to by a conservationist at the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is a small strip of land of trees, shrubs and other plants. This strip provides protection from things like wind or pollutants entering waterways and plays a crucial role as a safety net for the environment.
If properly used, buffers remove more than 50 percent of nutrients and pesticides, 60 percent of some pathogens and 75 percent of sediment. In addition to trapping pollutants, buffers slow water runoff and increase the amount of water that enters the ground, recharging our aquifers and protecting communities downstream from flooding.
During the winter buffers help trap snow and cut down on soil erosion in areas with strong winds. They also can protect livestock and wildlife from harsh weather, shield buildings from wind damage and reduce noise and odor coming from a farm. Buffers also give many benefits for local wildlife. They provide food and shelter for many wildlife species like quail, rabbit and other fun-to-watch species while serving as corridor connectors that enable wildlife to move safely from one habitat area to another.
The NRCS helps private landowners create buffers on their land, along waterways and between fields. If used as part of a comprehensive conservation system, buffers make good use of areas that are not ideal for growing crops or other uses.
For more information, contact the Gibson County NRCS Service Center at 731-855-0023 ext. 3 or visit nrcs.usda.gov.