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The planting season of 2019 will be in the history books for a lot of negative reasons. One of those is the numerous producers dealing with delayed planting, resulting many times in fallow fields. While there are some programs that support the farmer in these times of need, this year has been extreme and the funding may be limited. A group of organizations in southwest lower Michigan have stepped up and offered numerous options for the farmers with needs due to the unstable spring weather. A presentation was offered at a few sites in Michigan with opportunities for the farmers to talk one-on-one with those providing the aid.

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) was set up through the USDA to give financial assistance for farms in need. Two examples of their offerings are Prevent Planting and Dairy Margin Coverage Program. Prevent Planting allows a farmer to leave a field unplanted with the opportunity to get some money for it. 

While it is a fraction of what the farmer would have made, it is helpful during seasons like the one in 2019. The dairy program is also necessary this year, though not for the same reason. Milk prices have been dropping for a while now and it has been difficult to maintain dairy operations. This would offer the difference between the national price of milk and the average cost of feed.

The FSA offers a variety of disaster programs that provide for operations affected by adverse weather conditions and natural issues. The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-Raised Fish helps with losses relating to the previously mentioned disasters along with diseases. The Livestock Indemnity Program offers benefits for operators who have had extreme losses due to weather or attacks by wild animals or insects. 

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program will provide aid to those farmers whose fields are not fit for grazing because of the weather. Finally, the Tree Assistance Program will assist in the replacement of fruit-bearing trees that were destroyed during the adverse weather.

A website (www.fsa.usda.gov) is available to help farmers and producers check into the various programs and see if one works for them.

Crop insurance is another financial opportunity that owners can look into. Various options can be combined to provide for a farmer’s complete operation with many companies able to offer ideas and plans for each individual aspect within the farm.

Farm service organizations can ease the financial burden with additional loan opportunities. These local businesses tend to be more personal and easier to work with. Many provide numerous financial services including tax preparation, accounting, online banking and assistance with farm cash management.

These are hard times for farms and, unfortunately, it isn’t going to get better any time soon. But there are positive solutions that are being developed in light of the negative circumstances. Explore any and all options to find the best one for your farming operation, cash flow and future because there will always be a need for farmers.

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