Tuesday, April 8,  2014


Today's Update!


USDA Officially Announces Sign-Up Date for Farmer and Rancher Disaster Assistance Programs 


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced farmers and ranchers can sign-up for disaster assistance programs, reestablished and strengthened by the 2014 Farm Bill, beginningTuesday, April 15, 2014.  Quick implementation of the programs has been a top priority for USDA.  

"These programs will provide long-awaited disaster relief for many livestock producers who have endured significant financial hardship from weather-related disasters while the programs were expired and awaiting Congressional action," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "President Obama and I prioritized the implementation of these disaster assistance programs now that the Farm Bill has restored and strengthened them." 

The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014. 

Enrollment also begins on April 15 for producers with losses covered by the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). 

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) employees have worked exceptionally hard over the past two months to ensure eligible farmers and ranchers would be able to enroll to receive disaster relief on April 15.  

To expedite applications, all producers who experienced losses are encouraged to collect records documenting these losses in preparation for the enrollment in these disaster assistance programs.  Information on the types of records necessary can be provided by local FSA county offices.  Producers also are encouraged to contact their county office ahead of time to schedule an appointment. 

For more information, producers may review the 2014 Farm Bill Fact Sheet, and the LIP, LFP, ELAP and TAP fact sheets online, or visit any local FSA office.  



USDA Announces $20 Million Effort to Reduce Damage Caused by Feral Swine 


Undersecretary for USDA's Marketing and Regulatory Programs Edward Avalos has announced USDA is kicking off a national effort to reduce the devastating damage caused by feral, or free ranging, swine. The $20 million program aims to help states deal with a rapidly expanding population of invasive wild swine that causes $1.5 billion in annual damage and control costs.

"Feral swine are one of the most destructive invaders a state can have," said Undersecretary Avalos. "They have expanded their range from 17 to 39 states in the last 30 years and cause damage to crops, kill young livestock, destroy property, harm natural resources, and carry diseases that threaten other animals as well as people and water supplies. It's critical that we act now to begin appropriate management of this costly problem."

The Wildlife Services (WS) program of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will lead the effort, tailoring activities to each state's circumstance and working closely with other Federal, State, Tribal, and local entities. WS will work directly with states to control populations, test animals for diseases, and research better methods of managing feral swine damage. A key part of the national program will include surveillance and disease monitoring to protect the health of our domestic swine.

Feral swine have become a serious problem in 78% of all states in the country, carrying diseases that can affect people, domestic animals, livestock and wildlife, as well as local water supplies. They also cause damage to field and high-value crops of all kinds from Midwestern corn and soybeans to sugar cane, peanuts, spinach and pumpkins. They kill young animals and their characteristic rooting and wallowing damages natural resources, including resources used by native waterfowl, as well as archeological and recreational lands. Feral swine compete for food with native wildlife, such as deer, and consume the eggs of ground-nesting birds and endangered species, such as sea turtles. 



Do Your Homework On The 2014 Farm Bill


The U.S. Department of Agriculture was left with the huge task of implementing the new Farm Bill, once it became the law of the land. But, over the course of the next few months, producers must make some major decisions on how the farm legislation impacts their individual operations - and these choices are likely to have long-lasting results. That's the message from North Dakota State University Extension farm management specialist Dwight Aakre.

What this means is farmers and ranchers will need to study the various options that are available to them and then do some pencil pushing to determine what fits best in their plans for the future. And the stakes are high, since Aakre feels there will be a definite advantage for those enrolling in the farm program that runs through 2018.

All of the commodity programs that farmers and ranchers have become familiar with have now disappeared and have been replaced with new. And new programs naturally mean an entirely new list of acronyms - PLC (Price Loss Coverage), ARC (Agricultural Risk Coverage) and SCO (Supplemental Coverage Option), are just a few that producers will need to become familiar with.

But along with these new programs comes the opportunity to reallocate your farm's base acres, and since payments under the 2014 Farm Bill are calculated on base acres, it's important to research how a reallocation of base acres could potentially impact your operation. And once that decision on base acres, along with several other options, is made later this year, that decision is locked in place for at least the remaining duration of the farm bill.

And to make no decision this year could be even worse, since the farm would be locked into the default provisions of the program.

If you think there are some weighty decisions that lie ahead, you're right. But, the good part is there will be several informational sources at your disposal, that will help make the decision process easier. University Extension Services, major ag lenders, crop insurance agencies, plus many others will soon have information, spreadsheets and advice in place to help sort out the various options available and which may work better in certain situations.

And, you will have a reasonable amount of time to explore those options before a final decision is required. No official time line has yet been set forth by USDA, but Aakre expects it will be late summer or early fall before farmers will be asked to register their option choices at their local FSA offices.

Early indications would suggest that selecting the right options could have a big pay back in terms of farm program payments. In a recent education seminar conducted by Aakre, he suggested farmers will definitely want to take part in this farm program, since he expects some pretty good payments coming out of this farm bill. But the question is, how do you maximize those payments?

The answer is do your homework. Decision time will eventually arrive and the best results will come out of combining the best information you have gathered with the research results you have gained by going through the various scenarios. 






Monday's    Closing Market Prices


Nov  Soybeans                  1208.2 down .2

Dec Cotton                         7984 down 8

North & South

   Delta Cotton                    8662 down 178

Sept  Corn                          505.4 down 1.2

Sept   Rice                          1433 up 2

Sept  Wheat                        692.6 up 7.4

#16 Sugar May                    2414 down 61

April   Live Cattle                 142-95 down 10

April Feeder Cattle              177-80 up 10




Don Molino & Neil Melancon 

Please contact us with any questions or feedback regarding information you would like to receive in this e-letter. 


Don Molino

Senior Farm Broadcaster



(225) 291-2727, ext. 210