Waldo County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director CED Maria T. Granger announced that special provisions will made to the FSA emergency loan program and to the Risk Management Agency (RMA) federal crop insurance program in order to provide greater flexibility for livestock producers facing forage and feed shortages as a result of drought.

On Aug. 22, Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack announced that modifications will be made to the emergency loan program allowing loans to be made earlier in the season. In the past, emergency loan eligibility was determined after the production cycle. Producers will no longer have to wait until the end of the production cycle to obtain a loan. This change will support producers who currently need assistance to help offset high production costs.

Vilsack also announced that a special provision will be made to the federal crop insurance program through RMA that will allow producers to hay or graze cover crops without forfeiting crop insurance eligibility on planted 2013 spring crops. This change is beneficial to livestock producers making forage and feed available this fall and winter. However, before making any plans to plant crop cover, producers should consult with their insurance agent, according to RMA.

“Adding more flexibility to current program requirements will make much-needed assistance more readily available to producers affected by disaster,” said Granger. “These changes in particular should benefit livestock producers who are facing higher feed costs or are at risk of liquidating their herd due to the drought,” she said.

For more information regarding special provisions to the emergency loan program, contact the Waldo County FSA office at 338-1964, ext 2, or visit www.fsa.usda.gov.