U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday that all Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices nationwide will soon reopen to provide additional administrative services to farmers and ranchers during the lapse in federal funding. Certain FSA offices have been providing limited services for existing loans and tax documents since January 17, and will continue to do so through January 23. Beginning January 24, however, all FSA offices will open and offer a longer list of transactions they will accommodate.
Additionally, Secretary Perdue announced that the deadline to apply for the Market Facilitation Program, which aids farmers harmed by unjustified retaliatory tariffs, has been extended to February 14. The original deadline had been January 15. Other program deadlines may be modified and will be announced as they are addressed.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has temporarily recalled all of the more than 9,700 FSA employees to keep offices open from 8 am to 4:30 pm weekdays beginning January 24. President Trump has already signed legislation that guarantees employees will receive all backpay missed during the lapse in funding.
For the first two full weeks under this operating plan (January 28 through February 1 and February 4 through February 8), FSA offices will be open Mondays through Fridays. In subsequent weeks, offices will be open three days a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays if needed to provide the additional administrative services.
Agricultural producers who have business with the agency can contact their FSA service center to make an appointment.
FSA can provide these administrative services, which are critical for farmers and ranchers, because failure to perform these services would harm funded programs. FSA staff will work on the following transactions:
Market Facilitation Program.
Marketing Assistance Loans.
Release of collateral warehouse receipts.
Direct and Guaranteed Farm Operating Loans, and Emergency Loans.
Service existing Conservation Reserve Program contracts.
Sugar Price Support Loans.
Dairy Margin Protection Program.
Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage.
Livestock Forage Disaster.
Emergency Assistance Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program.
Livestock Indemnity Program.
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
Tree Assistance Program.
Remaining Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program payments for applications already processed.
Transactions that will NOT be available include, but are not limited to:
New Conservation Reserve Program contracts.
New Direct and Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loans.
Farm Storage Facility Loan Program.
New or in-process Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program applications.
Emergency Conservation Program.
Emergency Forest Rehabilitation Program.
Biomass Crop Assistance Program.
Grassroots Source Water Protection Program.
With the Office of Management and Budget, USDA reviewed all of its funding accounts that are not impacted by the lapse in appropriation. We further refined this list to include programs where the suspension of the activity associated with these accounts would significantly damage or prevent the execution of the terms of the underling statutory provision. As a result of this review, USDA was able to except more employees. Those accounts that are not impacted by the lapse in appropriation include mandatory, multiyear and no year discretionary funding including FY 2018 Farm Bill activities.
Updates to available services and offices will be made during the lapse in federal funding on the FSA shutdown webpage. Programs managed by FSA that were re-authorized by the 2018 farm bill will be available at a later date yet to be determined.
2018 AFBF Impact Report
AFBF’s impact would not have been possible without the strength of our engaged grassroots advocates, our state Farm Bureau peers, and our industry partners. The signing of the 2018 farm bill was symbolic of the impact we can have when agriculture works together to speak on behalf of U.S. farmers, ranchers and rural Americans.
Farm Bill Signed Thursday, December 20
On December 20, a group of AFBF representatives was invited to the Whitehouse to watch President Donald J. Trump sign the 2018 Farm Bill into law. AFBF President Zippy Duvall released the following comment:
“The Agriculture Improvement Act—H.R. 2—is now law. Enactment means risk management tools, foreign market development and environmental stewardship programs continue to be available, and on terms that reflect a much tougher farm economy than the one we faced when the last farm bill became law.
“The farm bill helps to ensure the food security and economic security of our nation. Directly or indirectly, it benefits everyone in towns large and small. This farm bill:
Brings another five years of certainty to farm and ranch families;
Upholds fiscal responsibility by being budget neutral;
Improves risk management programs;
Protects crop insurance;
Funds much-needed trade development;
Invests in the future with funding for ag research and beginning farmer programs; and
Continues nutrition assistance (three-quarters of total farm bill funding) for lower-income Americans.
“We are grateful to President Trump for his support. We also thank Chairmen Roberts and Conaway and Ranking Members Stabenow and Peterson for producing legislation that passed with strong, bi-partisan support. We look forward to working with Agriculture Secretary Perdue as he and his team at USDA implement this law and put new program provisions in place quickly.
As RIFB renewals are rolling out, remember to keep your membership current to maintain your Farm Family Insurance discount!
Farm Family, an American National company, is part of a team that offers a full line of insurance products through one local agent. That way they can help you ensure that your property and liability insurance needs are covered. So, whether it’s auto, home, life, farm or business insurance, you can feel confident you’re getting options to fit your lifestyle and budget.
Your current Rhode Island Farm Bureau membership entitles you to discounts on:
– 5% discount for personal auto
– 3% discount for the SFP, including Country Estate Insurance
– 3% BOP discount up to $100. (Certain classes not eligible for the discount, ask your agent.)
Contact your Farm Family agent to make sure you are getting the best discount.
Not a Farm Family Insurance customer? To find out more about Farm Family Insurance, click the following link to find an agent near you. www.americannational.com
RI Sales Tax Exemption on Seeds and Plants
Late this spring we had several calls regarding the Sales Tax Exemption on Seeds and Plants. We are happy to say that after considerable work trying to get seeds and plants used to grow food and food ingredients exempted from the state sales tax, the following changes were passed in last year’s state budget. State Budget link here. Page 178, lines 11-14.
Here is the much abbreviated, relevant text.
Sales and Use Taxes – Liability and Computation
§ 44-18-30. Gross receipts exempt from sales and use taxes.
There are exempted from the taxes imposed by this chapter the following gross receipts:
(65) Seeds and plants used to grow food and food ingredients. From the sale, storage, use, or other consumption in this state of seeds and plants used to grow food and food ingredients as defined in § 44-18-7.1(l)(i). “Seeds and plants used to grow food and food ingredients” shall not include marijuana seeds or plants.
44-18-7.1(l)(i). “Food and food ingredients” means substances, whether in liquid, concentrated, solid, frozen, dried, or dehydrated form, that are sold for ingestion or chewing by humans and are consumed for their taste or nutritional value and seeds and plants used to grow food and food ingredients. “Food and food ingredients” does not include “alcoholic beverages”, “tobacco”, “candy”, “dietary supplements”, “soft drinks”, or “marijuana seeds or plants.”
THE PURPOSE OF THE RI FARM BUREAU
The Rhode Island Farm Bureau is an independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization of farm and ranch families united for the purpose of analyzing their problems and formulating action to achieve advancement and, thereby, to promote the national well-being.
Farm Bureau is local, county, state, national, and international in its scope and influence and is non-partisan, non-sectarian and non-secret in character. Farm Bureau is the voice of agricultural producers at all levels.
Statement from 1997 Policy Manual of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Support Rhode Island Farms by joining the Rhode Island Farm Bureau.
Your Membership in RIFB entitles you to …
- A complete line of insurance services through the Farm Family Insurance Companies
Discounts available on Automobile, Special Farm Packages (inc. Country Estate) & BOP
- Discounts on Case IH, CAT, Dungarees.com, Grainger and John Deere
- Discount on prescription lenses and frames through Coast to Coast Vision Plan
- Discount at participating Choice hotels and Wyndham hotels
- Discounts from Avis and Budget.
- Thousands of additional discounts when you use your membership number and log into Access Benefits.
Click here to learn more about RIFB membership benefits.