FSA head urging ranchers to register early
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The administrator of the agency that oversees federal farm programs is urging farmers and ranchers who plan to participate to register in advance.
Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan Garcia is encouraging producers to report farm records and business structure changes to a local FSA office before April 15. Enrollment for disaster programs authorized by the new farm bill is to begin by that date.
"We expect significant interest in these programs," Garcia said in a statement Tuesday. "Early registration should help improve the signup process and allow us to expedite implementation of the programs. I strongly encourage producers to complete their paperwork ahead of time."
One of the disaster programs authorized by Congress is the Livestock Indemnity Program, which industry officials say should help ranchers in the Dakotas who were hurt by an early October blizzard. The storm that hit with surprising intensity Oct. 4-5 killed more than 43,000 cattle, sheep, horses and bison in South Dakota and more than 1,000 farm animals in North Dakota.
The five-year farm bill was approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama last month, and the federal Agriculture Department agreed to expedite the Livestock Indemnity Program after pressure from congressional delegations in both Dakotas.