The 2019 crop year will go down in history for its weather, livestock losses, less-than-optimal crop growing season, and fluctuating crop and livestock prices. Many folks will be glad to see it end.

As producers race to complete harvest, wean calves and prepare for winter, staff at local Farm Service Agency offices are ready to assist the with several U.S. Department of Agriculture programs.

MFP sign-ups

Sign-ups will continue through Dec. 6 for the Market Facilitation Program that assists farmers who continue to have trade-related income damages.

USDA will provide up to $14.5 billion in direct payments to ag producers as part of a broader trade relief package announced in late July.

Payments are based on 2019 planted acres for non-specialty crops such as alfalfa, corn, millet, rye, sorghum, soybeans and wheat, and specialty crops such as fresh grapes and sweet cherries.

Per-hundredweight dairy payments are based on the production history, while hog producer payments are based on live hogs owned on a selected day between April 1-May 15, 2019.

Get MFP information at or an FSA office.

Loan requests

Marketing Assistance Loans provide financing and marketing assistance for wheat, feed grains, soybeans and other oilseeds, pulse crops, rice, peanuts, cotton, wool and honey.

The focus is interim financing after harvest so producers can meet cash flow needs without selling commodities when market prices typically are low.

FSA offices are accepting requests for 2019 MALs and Loan Deficiency Payments for eligible commodities after harvest. A final dates is set for each commodity.

Also, commodity certificates are available to loan holders, with outstanding non-recourse loans for wheat, upland cotton, rice, feed grains, pulse crops (dry peas, lentils, and large and small chickpeas), peanuts, wool, soybeans and designated minor oilseeds.

These certificates can be purchased at the posted county price, adjusted world price or national posted price for the quantity of commodity under loan and must be immediately exchanged for the collateral, which satisfies the loan. MALs redeemed with commodity certificates are not subject to adjusted gross income provisions.

A producer must retain beneficial interest in the commodity until the loan is repaid or the Commodity Credit Corporation takes title to the commodity.

2019 livestock losses

The Livestock Indemnity Program assists producers with livestock deaths exceeding normal mortality that are caused by adverse weather, disease, or attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law.

Weather conditions include floods, blizzards, extreme heat or extreme cold.

FSA county committees can accept veterinarian certifications that livestock deaths were directly related to adverse weather or unpreventable through good animal husbandry and management.

Livestock owners must file a notice within 30 calendar days of when the loss is first apparent. Supporting documentation is due to the local FSA office within 60 calendar days after the end of the calendar year in which the eligible loss condition occurred.

The documentation may include beginning inventory listed on balance sheets or financial statements, receipts for purchases and sales, calving records, calendar year loss records, rendering truck invoices, Federal Emergency Management Agency disposal invoices, vet certifications, certification of third party knowledge of losses, photographs, and producer management statements.

USDA has established a normal mortality rate for each type and weight range of eligible livestock. For example, 1.5 percent for adult beef cows and 5 percent for non-adult beef cattle weighing less than 400 pounds.

Payment applications must be submitted by March 1, 2020.

NAP deadline

Crops not covered by insurance may be eligible for the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

Federal crop insurance covers crop losses from natural adversities such as drought, hail and excessive moisture. NAP covers natural disaster losses on crops for which there is no available permanent federal crop insurance program, including perennial grass forage and grazing crops, fruits, vegetables, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, aronia berries, honey and industrial crops.

The NAP service fee is the lesser of $325 per crop or $825 per producer per county, not to exceed $1,950 for a producer with farming interests in multiple counties.

The levels begin at 50 percent crop coverage at 55 percent of market price, with additional premium fee options at 55 percent-65 percent of crop coverage at 100 percent of market price.

NAP deadlines include Friday for perennial grasses, alfalfa and mixed forages, and Nov. 20 for apples, aronia berries and grapes.

Additional help

More information about these and other USDA programs is available at and local FSA offices, including options for loan customers unable to make payments.

In Nebraska, the Rural Response Hotline provides referral and support services for farmers, ranchers and rural residents and their families. Call 800-464-0258.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture manages a mediation services program for borrowers, creditors and USDA program participants, and free one-on-one education on ag financial and legal matters. Call 800-446-4071.

Randa May is a U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency county executive director based in Kearney for Buffalo and Sherman counties.

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