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DEADLINE AWARENESS: Make sure you know about upcoming deadlines for aid programs. The deadline for Market Facilitation Program is Dec. 6.

Have you covered all your bases for aid?

Don’t put off meeting one-on-one with your local Farm Service Agency representative.

South Dakota’s farmers may think they’ve applied for all the programs they can to help mitigate some of the losses brought on by extreme weather and the trade war, but Paul Shubeck, South Dakota’s Farm Service Agency executive director, says there may be other resources available.

“Please make an appointment to meet with your county’s FSA staff. There are programs available that are based on individual farm circumstances, so one-on-one meetings are essential,” says Shubeck, who spent the first 40 years of his career farming Lincoln County.

Even though no one has time for meetings, don’t put meeting with FSA off, Shubeck urges.

“All programs have deadlines, which we have no control over,” he says. “Our biggest fear is a farmer will come in and we have to say, ‘We could have helped, but the deadline for this program is over.’”

As a retired farmer, Shubeck says he understands the challenges and feels the pain farm families are going through.

“I have a real heart for helping farmers succeed,” he says. “Once you’re a farmer, you’re always a farmer.”

His son, John, took over the family farm when the Trump administration appointed Shubeck to join South Dakota’s USDA-FSA team in 2017.

Like so many farms across the state, a percentage of John’s crop acres are listed among the 4 million acres South Dakota’s producers were unable to plant. After the early October blizzard, John’s wondering how he’ll be able to harvest the soybeans and corn he was able to late plant.

“Between prevent plant, not getting crops planted early enough now, the big worry is getting fields harvested,” Shubeck says. “It’s a situation where our farm economy has been in decline for the last three to four years, and these multiple weather events hurt us even more.”

Working for you

When farmers do meet with their local FSA staff, Shubeck wants them to know that they are working with a team of individuals who care.

“Every time I meet with county staff at one of our 55 offices, they always refer to the farmers they serve as, ‘my farmers,’” he says.

In his role, Shubeck says he makes every effort to ensure USDA staff in Washington, D.C., understand the situation South Dakota’s farmers are in.

“Nationally, there are 18 million acres of prevent plant. So, when 4 million are in South Dakota, they take notice,” he says.

Don’t wait to schedule an appointment to discuss your farm’s individual circumstances, he advises. Program deadlines are quickly approaching.

Programs to ask about

During your one-on-one meeting with county FSA staff, Shubeck encourages farmers to ask about the following programs:

ARC-PLC. The deadline for Agriculture Risk Coverage-Price Loss Coverage is March 15, 2020.

MFP. The deadline for the Market Facilitation Program is Dec. 6.

WHIP-Plus. This disaster program is available to qualified farmers who faced a wide variety of disasters during 2018-2019. In addition to flooding and drought, this program applies to damaged grain and grain bins; milk dumped due to flooded roads; and tornado damage — the list is quite extensive.

Visit your local FSA to learn more or check out FSA programs and services online.

Source: South Dakota Farmers Union, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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