Tag Archives | USDA

Public Meetings for Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Who Claim Past USDA Discrimination

Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Lynn Voigt announced on October 4, 2012 that a series of public meetings will be held in Oregon to explain the discrimination claims process that opened on September 24, 2012 and will remain open until March 25, 2013.

Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege discrimination by the USDA in past decades can file claims during this period and may receive a cash payment or loan forgiveness.
“We encourage those Hispanic and women farmers or ranchers in Oregon who feel they may have experienced discriminatory treatment to attend a meeting to learn more about this claims process,” said Voigt. “At FSA we are dedicated to ensuring fair and equal treatment for all Oregon farmers and ranchers in our state.”
Attend a local meeting to learn more about this claims process:

Monday, October 15 5:00 PM

Medford Red Lion
200 N Riverside Ave, Medford, OR

Tuesday, October 16 5:00 PM

Eugene Red Lion
205 Coburg Rd, Eugene, OR

Wednesday, October 17 8:00 AM

McMinnville Community Center
600 NE Evans Street, McMinnville, OR

Wednesday, October 17 5:30 PM

Linn County Fair and Expo Center
3700 Knox Butte Rd, Albany, OR

Hispanic and women farmers who believe they have faced discriminatory practices from the USDA must file a claim by March 25, 2013 in order to participate in this claims resolution process. This voluntary claims process will make available at least $1.33 billion for cash awards and tax relief payments, plus up to $160 million in farm debt relief to eligible Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers.
As announced in February 2011, the process offers a voluntary alternative to litigation for each Hispanic or female farmer and rancher who can prove that USDA denied their applications for loan or loan servicing assistance for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000. There are no filing fees to participate in the program.

A national toll-free information line is available at 1-888-508-4429 and a national website has been established at www.farmerclaims.gov. Claimants must register for a claims package (by calling the number or visiting the website) and the claims package will be mailed to claimants.
For details about the public meetings in Oregon, you can contact the FSA State Office at 503-692-3688 ext 235. A list of all Oregon meeting location addresses and dates is also available at www.fsa.usda.gov/or .

Contact: Kent Willett
503-692-3688 ext. 235

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Assistance Available for New, Beginning, or Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

If you fall into the category of a new, beginning, or socially disadvantaged farmer, mark August 4, 2012 on your calendar!

The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, and the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association and Rural Coalition are hosting a workshop to share information regarding the USDA Farm Bill programs and services. In addition they will cover information on Conservation Easements and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

Representatives from the hosting organizations will be at the Woodburn Public Library from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday August 4th to share information and assist you in taking advantage of the opportunities available. Come when you can, for any length of time!

Download the flyer:

FSA Conservation Loan Program for Farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) makes and guarantees loans to promote conservation practices on farms and ranches that help protect natural resources throughout the United States.

The goal of FSA’s Conservation Loan (CL) program is to provide access to credit for farmers who need and want to implement conservation measures on their land but do not have the “up front” funds available to implement these practices.

Unlike FSA’s traditional farm ownership and operating loan programs that are targeted toward smaller and less financially established farmers, eligibility requirements for the CL program are expanded to permit FSA to provide assistance to some applicants who may be large and financially strong.

FSA Conservation Loan Program

CL funds can be used to implement a conservation practice approved by the Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS), such as:

  • Reducing soil erosion;
  • Improving water quality;,
  • Promoting sustainable and organic agricultural practices.

Specific conservation practices include:

  • Installation of conservation structures;
  • Establishment of forest cover;
  • Installation of water conservation measures;
  • Establishment or improvement of permanent pastures;
  • Transitioning to organic production;
  • Manure management, including manure digestion systems;
  • Adaptation of other emerging or existing conservation practices, techniques or technologies.

Interested applicants who do not already have NRCS-approved conservation plans should work with the local NRCS staff to develop a conservation plan, including all applicable conservation practices. New or existing conservation plans must be NRCS approved before FSA can provide financing.

Rates and Terms

Those interested may apply for guaranteed CLs with loan limits up to $1,214,000 (amount adjusted for inflation), by applying with lenders working with FSA, to obtain a guarantee.

Interest rates on guaranteed CLs will vary, but may not exceed the rate charged the lender’s average farm customer.

Terms will vary and will be based on the life of the security offered, but not to exceed 20 years. CLs must be fully secured and can only be approved for those who have the ability to repay them.

Streamlined CL Application

A streamlined application process reduces paperwork requirements for applicants with a strong financial position by eliminating the requirement to provide a cash flow document and supplementary documentation.

To submit a streamlined CL application, the applicant must be current on payments to all creditors, have a debt-to-asset ratio of 40 percent or less, have a minimum FICO score of 700, have a net worth of at least three times the loan amount and have not received FSA loan servicing within the past five years.

For More Information and Eligibility Criteria

Additional information may be obtained at local FSA offices or through the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all of its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, genetic information, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Source: USDA FSA website

Read the factsheet (PDF format): FSA Conservation Loan Program factsheet

USDA Announces CRP General Signup

Landowners and Producers Will Have 4-Week Window Beginning in March to Enroll

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2012—Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS) Michael Scuse announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will conduct a four-week Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general signup, beginning on March 12 and ending on April 6. CRP has a 25-year legacy of successfully protecting the nation’s natural resources through voluntary participation, while providing significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities across the United States.

“It is USDA’s goal to ensure that we use CRP to address our most critical resource issues,” said Scuse. “CRP is an important program for protecting our most environmentally sensitive lands from erosion and sedimentation, and for ensuring the sustainability of our groundwater, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. As always, we expect strong competition to enroll acres into CRP, and we urge interested producers to maximize their environmental benefits and to make cost-effective offers.”

CRP is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them use environmentally sensitive land for conservation benefits. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and develop wildlife habitat. In return, USDA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years. Producers with expiring contracts and producers with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to evaluate their options under CRP. Producers also are encouraged to look into CRP’s other enrollment opportunities offered on a continuous, non-competitive, signup basis.

Currently, about 30 million acres are enrolled in CRP; and contracts on an estimated 6.5 million acres will expire on Sept. 30, 2012.

Offers for CRP contracts are ranked according to the Environmental Benefits Index (EBI). USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) collects data for each of the EBI factors based on the relative environmental benefits for the land offered. Each eligible offer is ranked in comparison to all other offers and selections made from that ranking. FSA uses the following EBI factors to assess the environmental benefits for the land offered:

  • Wildlife habitat benefits resulting from covers on contract acreage;
  • Water quality benefits from reduced erosion, runoff and leaching;
  • On-farm benefits from reduced erosion;
  • Benefits that will likely endure beyond the contract period;
  • Air quality benefits from reduced wind erosion; and
  • Cost.

Over the past 25 years, farmers, ranchers, conservationists, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts have made CRP the largest and one of the most important in USDA’s conservation portfolio. CRP continues to make major contributions to national efforts to improve water and air quality, prevent soil erosion by protecting the most sensitive areas including those prone to flash flooding and runoff. At the same time, CRP has helped increase populations of pheasants, quail, ducks, and other rare species, like the sage grouse, the lesser prairie chicken, and others. Highlights of CRP include:

  • CRP has restored more than two million acres of wetlands and two million acres of riparian buffers;
  • Each year, CRP keeps more than 600 million pounds of nitrogen and more than 100 million pounds of phosphorous from flowing into our nation’s streams, rivers, and lakes.
  • CRP provides $1.8 billion annually to landowners—dollars that make their way into local economies, supporting small businesses and creating jobs; and
  • CRP is the largest private lands carbon sequestration program in the country. By placing vulnerable cropland into conservation, CRP sequesters carbon in plants and soil, and reduces both fuel and fertilizer usage. In 2010, CRP resulted in carbon sequestration equal to taking almost 10 million cars off the road.

In 2011, USDA enrolled a record number of acres of private working lands in conservation programs, working with more than 500,000 farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and prevent soil erosion. Moreover, the Obama Administration, with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, has worked tirelessly to strengthen rural America, implement the Farm Bill, maintain a strong farm safety net, and create opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers. U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing one of its most productive periods in American history thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of our producers.

For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit a local FSA service center or www.fsa.usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Click here for the official source of this posting.

USDA Service Center

Our office is also part of a USDA Service Center!

USDA partners are in suite 120

A service center is a single location where customers can access the services provided by the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service. In some locations, USDA Rural Development agencies are also present.

In our Oregon City office, our federal partners are the USDA Farm Service Agency and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Contact USDA staff

Farm Service Agency

  • Lorry Brown – FSA – 503.210.6022

Natural Resources Conservation Service

  • Kris Homma – NRCS – 503.210.6031
  • Lee Ko – NRCS – 503.210.6032

USDA forms and documents

Many of the forms and documents you may need in working with our FSA and NRCS partners are available online at the USDA Service Center Agencies Online Services website.

Find us

You can find your local NRCS office online. The Oregon City USDA Service Center is located with the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District:

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