Tuesday, October 22, 2013

USDA Issues CRP Payments

USDA Issues Conservation Reserve Program Rental Payments,

Direct Payments and ACRE Payments

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2013 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA has begun distributing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) annual rental payments to participants across the country. USDA also will distribute 2013 direct payments and 2012 Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program payments beginning Oct. 24.  Payments originally were scheduled to be issued earlier in the month, but were delayed by several weeks due to the lapse in Federal funding.

“Farmers, ranchers and rural landowners across the country count on USDA programs and the payment delays due to the shutdown were an unnecessary burden,” Vilsack said. “USDA has prioritized making these scheduled payments without any further delay and Farm Service Agency staff have worked hard to get this assistance out the door as quickly as possible.”
Producers will receive payments on almost 700,000 CRP contracts on 390,000 farms covering 26.8 million acres. In exchange for a yearly rental payment provided by USDA on contracts ranging from 10 to 15 years, farmers and ranchers enrolled in CRP agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant grasses or trees that will improve water quality and improve waterfowl and wildlife habitat.  CRP reduced runoff and leaching of nitrogen and phosphorus into waterways by an estimated 605 million pounds and 121 million pounds, respectively, in 2012, and soil erosion reductions totaling 308 million tons in 2012.

Direct payments for 2013 for the DCP and ACRE programs are being made to the more than 1.7 million farms enrolled in the Farm Service Agency’s programs. Producers with base acres of certain commodities are eligible for DCP payments.  ACRE payments for 2012-crop barley, corn, grain sorghum, lentils, oats, peanuts, dry peas, soybeans, and wheat are scheduled to be released beginning Oct. 24 and contingent upon national average market prices and yields in each state.  ACRE payments for upland cotton are scheduled to be made in early November, after the 2012/13 average market year price is published in the Agricultural Prices publication scheduled to be released on October 31.  ACRE payments are scheduled to be made for large chickpeas, small chickpeas, canola, crambe, flaxseed, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower, sesame, and sunflowers are scheduled to be made in early December, after the 2012/13 average market year price is published in the Agricultural Prices publication scheduled to be released on November 27.  ACRE payments for long grain and medium and short grain rice are scheduled to be made in early February 2014 after the final 2012/13 average market year price is published in the Agricultural Prices publication scheduled to be released on January 31, 2014.

The 2008 Farm Bill, extended by the American Tax Payer Relief Act of 2012, provides authority to enroll land in DCP, ACRE and CRP through Sept. 30, 2013, however, no legislation has been enacted to reauthorize or extend this authority.  Effective Oct. 1, 2013, FSA does not have legislative authority to approve or process applications for these programs.

For more information on CRP, DCP and ACRE, producers should contact their local FSA office or visit FSA's website at www.fsa.usda.gov

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lincoln County applies for disaster funds

By Will Bublitz

At their Tuesday, Oct.8 meeting, the Lincoln County Commissioners received a report about the damage in the county from the huge storm that devastated portions of Colorado's Front Range in mid-September.

John DeWitt, the county's Emergency Manager, told the commissioners that two bridges were destroyed on County Road 43 south of Road S. The two bridges, located about a quarter mile apart on CR 43, were swept away by a flash flood on September 12.

"Each of the bridges consisted on three six-foot-wide metal culvert pipes covered with a concrete rip-rap with a dirt overlay," DeWitt said. "They were completely destroyed. Some residents east of there reported rain measurements of 9 to 10-plus inches during the day the bridges were destroyed." 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Obamacare OpEd

What ObamaCare means for rural Coloradans

By Mark Hillman

Whether by design or coincidence, rural residents can expect to take it in the pocketbook as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”) takes effect over the next 15 months.

Insurance exchanges, for those wanting to buy insurance, open on October 1 of this year.  In 2014, everyone is required to buy “qualified” insurance coverage or pay a penalty to the IRS.

However, the new law’s impact on for people in rural areas isn’t the same as for those in urban areas.
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, rural residents are more likely to purchase their own coverage through the individual market or to be covered by employers with less than 50 employees.

Individuals under 35 are now experiencing premium increases of 40% and higher.  Others are finding that insurance plans they’ve used for years are being discontinued because politicians and bureaucrats have deemed them inadequate.