February 19, 2009

Ag Forum held in McClusky


A gathering of about 30 area agricultural producers heard a wide spectrum of speakers on pertinent information on topics that ranged from the intricacies of the new farm bill to the ways of feeding cattle herds in severe winter weather. The Forum was held on Feb. 11 at McClusky City Hall. Connie Jerome, Sheridan County FSA Director, handled the wary and irritated producers who were apparently not in agreement with many of the new program (Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008) requirements. "You do not have to participate in the programs," she told them. "But if you do, these are the rules." In particular was a requirement to track and document shared labor, custom service work done, and those gray areas where one farmer might help another farmer in a labor and equipment exchange. Planning ahead for these situations isn’t always foreseeable. One producer asked, "If I plan and don’t do, am I okay? Jerome answered "Yes." "If I buy and don’t have in plan, am I in trouble? The producer then asked. "Maybe," Jerome answered. Some of the information required was the IRS filings for the year or years previous. Also used were percentage of income, both farm and non-farm to determine if the producer was within the program’s (DCP) limits of income. If greater than 66.66 percent, they would likely be ineligible. "Actively engaged," "CCC-902 and CCC-926," "left hand and right hand contributions," "adjusted gross income," "non-farm income less than $500,000" and "Farm Income less than $750,000," and "CRP, which is non-farm income, less than $1 million" were all part of the payment eligibility/limitation directives.

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