Val Dolcini, Farm Service Agency administrator, was in Wisconsin Aug. 11-13 visiting the FSA office in Eau Claire and attending a meeting in Milwaukee. This was Dolcini's first visit to Wisconsin since being appointed FSA administrator in September 2014. Before that, he served as the state Farm Service Agency director in California for five years.
"Wisconsin is the 29th state I have been to since I was appointed FSA administrator," Dolcini says. "I will be visiting four more states next week and I will be in the Dakotas in mid-September, so the list continues to grow."
Dolcini was visiting several FSA offices in southwestern Minnesota before driving to Eau Claire and Milwaukee.
"The condition of the crops from western Minnesota to eastern Wisconsin is just tremendous," he noted. "I'm sure both states will be seeing some record yields this year."
According to Dolcini, there are 2,124 FSA offices across the country.
"We have 13,000 employees who man those offices," he said. "We publicize those programs and work with farmers. "FSA offices are a real vital link in rural America for farmers to reconnect with their government."
Dolcini is busy encouraging farmers to signup for a variety of FSA programs by Sept. 30. He acknowledged this is a busy time of year for many Wisconsin farmers, but he hopes more farmers will visit their local FSA offices during September. There are a number of programs farmers need to sign up for by Sept. 30.
The deadline to signup for the Dairy Margin Protection Program is Sept. 30.
"We had our first signup last December," he said. "We enrolled 25,000 dairy farm families, which is about half of all dairy farms in the nation. The DMP Program was a part of the 2014 Farm bill and we think it is an important part of the dairy safety net."
The Agriculture Risk Coverage Program and the Price Loss Coverage Program replaced the Direct Payment Program, Dolcini said.
The PLC program payments are issued when the effective price of a covered commodity is less than the respective reference price for that commodity. The effective price equals the higher of the market year average price or the national average loan rate for the covered commodity.
The ARC-CO program provides revenue loss coverage at the county level. ARC-CO payments are issued when the actual county crop revenue of a covered commodity is less than the ARC-CO guarantee for the covered commodity. The ARC-CO payment is equal to 85% of the base acres of the covered commodity times the difference between the county guarantee and the actual county crop revenue for the covered commodity.
"In the fall of 2014, we began a process of educating farmers around the country about these programs," he said. The deadline to signup for ARC/PLC is Sept. 30.
"This is the first time they have been able to signup for this program," he explained. "These choices are good for the life of the farm bill which expires in 2018.
CRP is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
"The Conservation Reserve Program is a wonderful tool for farmers and ranchers around the nation to put land in conservation," he said. "Thanks to CRP, we have sequestered millions of tons of carbon and we have created thousands of acres of habitat for water fowl and wildlife." The next CRP signup begins Dec. 1.