urgent news re USDA Insurance Programs

Montana State Beekeepers – Greg Fullerton asked that this be passed along to the membership.  This is a time sensitive issue, with action to be taken by June 1:
The following items are URGENT, sent from the California State Beekeepers. CSBA members will already have received them and, as this pertains only to the US:


The first 4 attachments have to do with these requirements, and THEY ARE TIME-SENSITIVE.  Further, Kevin Rader at Beekeeping Insurance Services has been spearheading this effort for beekeepers throughout the country and can be helpful if you need questions answered.  You can call him at 888-537-7088, but he specifically made the following points in an email to me today:

1 – This is for commercial, sideline and hobbyists, not just commercial although they most likely get the biggest benefit because of their size, but I could make an argument that a hobbyist gets the same help on a proportionate scale.  This is for ALL USDA programs including FSA programs like NAP & ELAP.

2 – Even if the beekeeper has NO interest in a government program at this time, you never know what happens 1 year, 2 years, 5 years down the road, and having this form done in a timely manner is super important.  You might say, “Well, if it’s 5 years down the road, we’ll worry about it then”, but you would still need to complete the new form by 6/1.  Bottom line: it doesn’t hurt to have this form on file with the FSA office.

Now, here’s the actual email set from the government:

Hello, as we continue to encourage producers to file a complete AD 1026 with Farm Service Agency by June 1, 2015, we want to share with you a request made by our collective leadership which highlights the availability of the regulations for your review titled RULE REFERENCE materials (attached), and which also transmit updated Frequently Asked Questions (attached) and Conservation Compliance and Crop Insurance Fact Sheet which includes explanation of “affiliated persons” (attached).

We have learned that in 2014 the majority of producers (58%) signing up for crop insurance in California did not have a conservation compliance certification (AD-1026) on file.  In 2014, 13% of the policies were new to crop insurance.  Since conservation compliance for crop insurance premium subsidy is new, it may take more effort to help these producers understand the process so that they can maintain the crop insurance subsidy.  We appreciate your support to get the word out.

If you have any questions please let me know.

Luana Kiger, USDA-NRCS, Special Assistant to STC
430 G Street #4164
Davis, CA 95616-4164
Voice:  530-792-5661
Fax:  530-792-5790
Email:  Luana.Kiger@ca.usda.gov

Subject: RMA, FSA and NRCS Leaders Ask for Continued Help in Ensuring All Meet Conservation Compliance

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for helping to successfully implement the Farm Bill over this last year. Your work makes a difference in the lives of millions of American farmers, ranchers and growers. Our partners, stakeholders, legislators and the press have all praised your outstanding work.

And we still need your help.

Today we made available for the public an interim final rule that sets forth the regulations for the conservation compliance provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill that field offices have been implementing.  The changes in the regulation implement the linkage between conservation compliance provisions and federal crop insurance premium subsidies; amend the provisions for the Mitigation Banking Program that enables third parties to hold easements; and provide for other minor technical adjustments.  You will find a summary of the regulation’s changes online here<http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_Federal_Notices/conservation_compliance.pdf>.   The interim final rule does not change the conservation compliance provisions that apply to programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The conservation compliance provisions expand our customer base.  We are responsible for providing timely assistance to help ensure that persons seeking federal crop insurance premium subsidies remain compliant with Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions.  Producers wanting crop insurance support for the 2016 reinsurance year, which begins July 1, 2015, must have a certification form, AD-1026, on file with FSA by June 1, 2015.   We cannot extend the deadline. While we have extended program deadlines in the past, this one cannot be changed. It is important that everyone realize this deadline is firm.  Many farmers, ranchers or growers already have an AD-1026 on file since it’s required for participation in other USDA programs such as marketing assistance loans, farm storage facility loans and disaster assistance. However, some producers who only receive crop insurance support, but do not participate in other USDA programs, may not.

In addition to persons seeking USDA program benefits, any affiliated person<http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/newsReleases?area=newsroom&subject=landing&topic=pfs&newstype=prfactsheet&type=detail&item=pf_20141030_consv_en_helwc_afl.html> who has a separate farming interest as an owner, operator or other producer must also complete, sign and file form AD-1026. We are still hearing from stakeholder groups that producers who are newly subject to conservation compliance provisions are confused about affiliated person rules.  Refer questions regarding who should sign the AD-1026 to FSA. Information is also provided on the form AD-1026 Appendix<http://forms.sc.egov.usda.gov/efcommon/eFileServices/eForms/AD1026.PDF>.

The June 1 deadline is specific to people seeking the federal crop insurance premium subsidy and does not apply to people seeking FSA loan, disaster or other assistance or FSA and NRCS conservation program benefits. For these programs, the form AD-1026 is filed as part of the process to determine eligibility under those programs.

Here’s how you can help. We need to focus our outreach efforts on those who want to receive federal crop insurance premium subsidies who are not familiar with conservation compliance.  Premium subsidies provide key benefits to many producers, especially those with specialty crops, vineyards and orchards. Often producers cannot secure their operating loans without insurance and cannot afford the insurance without the premium subsidy, making it imperative we continue our messaging about the June 1 deadline and sharing information across all agricultural sectors to ensure producers are in compliance.

Our goal is to make sure all producers have the opportunity to continue their crop insurance program participation while complying with the Act. Nationally, FSA, RMA and NRCS continue to work with stakeholder groups on outreach and are working on additional guidance to clarify provisions where necessary. RMA is working with crop insurance providers to help reach out to producers who have not yet filed the form AD-1026.

At the local level, we ask you to continue your outreach efforts. We have a wealth of resources available on USDA’s Conservation Compliance webpage<http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/national/programs/farmbill/?cid=stelprdb1257899>, including frequently asked questions, fact sheets and other resources. Each agency will provide additional guidance for how to accelerate outreach efforts.

If you have questions, please reach out to your agency conservation compliance contact:

RMA, Richard Flournoy, (202) 690-2369, richard.flournoy@rma.usda.gov
NRCS, Leslie Deavers, (202) 690-4616, leslie.deavers@wdc.usda.gov
FSA, Joseph Fuchtman, (202) 260-9146, joseph.fuchtman@wdc.usda.gov

We’re proud to stand alongside you as we continue to implement the Farm Bill. Thank you for your outstanding work.

Brandon Willis – Administrator, Risk Management Agency                        
Val Dolcini –  Administrator, Farm Service Agency                        
Jason Weller – Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service


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