FAQ: What type of federal farm program support does USDA's Farm Service Agency provide to agricultural producers?
Answer: In our Farm Program FAQ column this week, Wallaces Famer posed that question and other related questions to John Whitaker, state executive director for FSA in Iowa. He provides the following answers regarding FSA and the various programs the agency offers.
Since the 1930s, FSA has provided invaluable support to America's ag producers. Today, Farm Service Agency's responsibilities are organized into five mission areas: Farm Programs, Farm Loans, Commodity Operations, Management, and State Operations. Below are the two primary mission areas administered through FSA's extensive network of county offices.
Farm programs—FSA farm programs include commodity and price support, conservation and disaster assistance programs.
Farm loan programs—FSA provides credit to agricultural producers who are unable to receive private, commercial credit. FSA places special emphasis on providing loans to beginning, minority and women farmers and ranchers.
Programs administered by Farm Service Agency are legislated by Congress through the passage of a farm bill. USDA and its agencies await congressional action on a new farm bill or extension of the current farm bill.
Question: How many programs does USDA have?
Answer: On average, Farm Service Agency administers more than 50 federal farm programs nationwide. There is literally something of interest to everyone regardless of size or type of a particular ag operation. Whether you have a row crop, livestock, diversified, niche market, small or large operation, there are likely Farm Service Agency programs for which you may qualify.
Question: I haven't previously participated in any Farm Service Agency programs and would like to learn more about these programs. What do I need to do to get started?
Answer: The first step is to make an appointment with your local Farm Servce Agency office. FSA's personnel will explain valuable programs and benefits that could be available to you. If you decide to voluntarily enroll your farm in the USDA database, Farm Service Agency will assist you in locating your farm on the aerial photography and will assign you a farm number which will be used to manage future program participation.
Related: Find Your Local FSA By State