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Farm Service Agency


General
Aerial Photography
Disaster Assistance
Farm Loans

General

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The Farm Service Agency (FSA) helps stabilize farm incomes by providing federal funding for farm loans, commodity support prices, land conservation incentive, and crop disaster assistance. FSA offers loans to purchase farms, equipment, livestock, or operating supplies. Commodity payments are made when normal market prices are depressed. Hillsdale County has a large Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to help farmers plant long term covers to protect fragile soils, improve water quality, and help preserve wildlife. Programs are also available to aid farmers in recovering from weather related setbacks.

Aerial Photography

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- Farmers who participated in farm programs when they began in 1933 needed to have an accurate measurement made of their fields. In 1935 USDA began to use rectified-to-scale aerial photography to more efficiently measure acreage. USDA's Aerial Photography Field Office (APFO) in Salt Lake City, UT has the largest source of historical and current imagery of the US dating from 1955. For more information and ordering. Link www.apfo.usda.gov.
- The local FSA Office has photocopies of aerial photography by section within each township for all of Hillsdale County for the year 1993. Photography for the year 1988 is also available in the local office.
- The Local FSA Office has current aerial slides by section in each township from 1987 to present of Hillsdale County. These can be used to compare changes in cropland over the years. Duplicates can be made.

Disaster Assistance

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Weather related crop losses can be economically disastrous to farmers. FSA has programs available to help offset some of the losses. Losses greater than 50% of the producers expected producation may quality for direct payments. Low interest disaster loans are also available.

Farm Loans

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FSA offers direct and guaranteed farm ownership and operating loans to farmers who are temporarily unable to obtain private, commercial credit. Often FSA borrowers are beginning farmers who can't qualify for conventional loans because they have insufficient financial resources. Funding for direct loans is limited, and applicants sometimes have to wait for funds to become available.

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The 1996 farm bill provided for fixed but declining transition payments, and loan deficiency payments for the years 1996-2002. The local FSA office paid 1350 participants a total of $3 million in Production Flexibility Contract Payments and $3.1 million in Market Loss Assistance Payments, 675 participants a total of $3.5 million in Loan Deficiency Payments.

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To be eligible for certain FSA benefits accurate crop acreages must be reported. Producers report in June and July after crops are planted. Hillsdale County has 202,000 acres reported in a typical year. The following are the major crops reported:
Alfalfa 10,370 acres
Corn 61,065 acres
CRP 31,650 acres
Grass 4,440 acres
Mixed Hay 3,310 acres
Soybeans 76,640 acres
Wheat 12,575 acres

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