Thursday, October 29, 2015

Farm Storage Facility Loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Storage Facility Loan Program (FSFL) provides low-interest financing for producers to build or upgrade farm storage and handling facilities. The FSA is authorized to implement the program through USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).

Eligible Facility Loan Commodities
The following commodities are eligible for farm storage facility loans:
·         Corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, oats, peanuts, wheat, barley or minor oilseeds harvested as whole grain
·         Corn, grain sorghum, wheat, oats or barley harvested as other-than-whole grain
·         Pulse crops - lentils, chickpeas and dry peas
·         Hay
·         Honey
·         Renewable biomass
·         Fruits (includes nuts) and vegetables - cold storage facilities

Eligible Facilities and Upgrades
An FSA farm storage facility loan must be approved by the local FSA county committee before any site preparation and/or construction can be started.

The following types of facilities and upgrades are eligible for farm storage facility loans:
·         New conventional cribs or bins designed and engineered for whole grain storage having a useful life of at least 15 years.
·         New oxygen-limiting structures and remanufactured oxygen-limiting structures built to original manufacturer's specifications and other upright silo-type structures designed for whole grain wet storage having a useful life of at least 15 years.
·         New flat-type storage structures, with permanent floors and bulkheads, designed for and primarily used to store whole grain for the loan term.
·         New electrical equipment integral to the proper operation of the grain storage and handling equipment, excluding the installation of electrical service to the electrical meter.
·         New safety equipment, as required by CCC and meeting the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements, such as interior and exterior ladders and lighting.
·         New equipment to improve, maintain or monitor the quality of stored grain, such as cleaners, moisture testers and heat detectors installed in conjunction with a proposed storage facility.
·         New concrete foundations, aprons, pits, and pads, including site preparation, labor and material, essential to the proper operation of the grain storage and handling equipment.
·         Renovation of existing farm storage facilities, under certain circumstances, if the renovation is for maintaining or replacing items that have a useful life of at least 15 years.
·         New permanently affixed grain handling and grain drying equipment determined by CCC to be needed and essential to the proper operation of a grain storage system (with or without a loan for the storage facility).
·         New structures that are bunker-type, horizontal or open silo structures, with at least 2 concrete walls and a concrete floor, designed for whole grain storage or other-than-whole-grain storage and having a useful life of at least 15 years.
·         New structures suitable for storing hay built according to acceptable design guidelines and having a useful life of at least 15 years.
·         New structures suitable for storing renewable biomass built according to acceptable industry guidelines and having a useful life of at least 15 years.
·         New cold storage buildings, including prefabricated buildings, having a useful life of at least 15 years that are suitable for storing fruits and vegetables. Also may include permanently affixed cooling, circulating, and monitoring equipment and electrical equipment including labor and materials for installation of lights, motors and wiring integral to the proper operation of a cold storage facility.

·         Scales, portable equipment, used bins, and used equipment are not eligible for financing.
·         Facilities built for commercial purposes and not for the sole use of the borrower(s) are not eligible for financing.

Eligible Cost Items
The net cost for building or upgrading farm storage and handling facilities and equipment may include the following:
·         Purchase price and sales tax
·         Shipping and delivery charges
·         Site preparation costs
·         Installation costs
·         Appraisal costs
·         New material and labor for concrete pads, electrical wiring, and electric motors
·         Off-farm paid labor
·         New on-farm material approved by FSA
·         Attorney or archaeological study fees

Eligibility Requirements
An eligible borrower is any person who is a landowner, landlord, leaseholder, tenant or sharecropper who:
·         Produces an eligible facility loan commodity
·         Has a satisfactory credit rating as determined by CCC
·         Demonstrates the ability to repay the debt for the facility loan
·         Possesses no delinquent non-tax federal debt
·         Demonstrates a storage need based on the borrower's three-year-average acreage and share of production, minus any current storage available
·         Provides proof of multi-peril crop insurance from the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) or a private company for the life of the loan
·         Provides proof of all peril insurance and, if applicable, flood insurance with CCC as a loss payee
·         Demonstrates compliance with USDA provisions for highly erodible land and wetlands
·         Demonstrates compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act
·         Demonstrates compliance with any applicable local zoning, land use, and building codes
·         Has not been convicted of a controlled substance violation

Security Requirements
The following are security requirements for farm storage facility loans:
·         All loans must be secured by a promissory note, security agreement and a UCC-1 describing the storage facility and accompanying equipment; and
·         Severance agreements from all lien holders on the real estate where the facility will be located or from owners of real estate when the loan applicant is not the landowner, except when CCC holds the first lien on the real estate. Severance agreements will not be required if the borrower increases the down payment from 15 percent to 20 percent.

For loans that exceed $100,000 or the borrower's aggregate outstanding loan balance exceeds $100,000, the borrower must be able to provide at least one of the following:
·         A first lien on the real estate on which the facility is located;
·         Real estate owned by the borrower other than where the facility is located, provided the real estate offered is sufficient to secure the loan; or
·         A letter of credit from a financial institution in an amount sufficient to protect CCC's interest for each year the loan has an outstanding balance.

Maximum Loan Amount
The maximum loan amount through the Farm Storage Facility Loan Program is $500,000 per loan.

Facility Loan Terms
The following are the terms for farm storage facility loans:
·         A 15 percent cash down payment is required; thus, CCC's loan is limited to 85 percent of the net cost of the eligible storage facility and permanent drying and handling equipment (subject to the applicant's storage needs test). The down payment cannot include any trade-in, discount, rebate, deferred payment or post-dated check.
·         Loan terms available are seven (7) years, ten (10) years or twelve (12) years depending on the amount of the loan.
·         Interest rate is fixed for the loan term based on the rate in effect during the month the loan is initially approved. The interest rate is equivalent to the rate of interest charged on Treasury Securities of comparable term and maturity.
·         Loans are to be repaid in equal amortized installments.
·         Loan will not be disbursed until the facility has been erected and inspected with the exception of one (1) qualifying partial disbursement.

Cost of Obtaining a Loan
·         Each applicant will be charged a nonrefundable $100 application fee.
·         CCC will pay all collateral lien searches and recording fees for filing Form UCC-1 and credit reports.
·         Applicants pay all other fees, such as severance agreements, attorney fees, real estate lien search fees, and instrument filing fees.
·         For loans over $100,000, applicants will be required to pay the cost of obtaining a title search/opinion or title insurance.

Persons Required to Sign the Note
The following persons are required to sign the loan agreement:
·         For sole proprietorships and joint ventures, all individuals, including spouses, if applicable
·         For general partnerships, any member unless the Articles of Partnership are more restrictive
·         For corporations and limited partnerships, an individual with signature authority on file with FSA

Where to File the Application
Loan applications should be filed in the administrative FSA Office that maintains the farm's records.

More Information
For more information about FSA programs, contact your local FSA office or USDA Service Center, or online at
(photo credit: USDA)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Growing Farm Entrepreneurs Workshops

Practical Knowledge for Farmers to Improve Economics of Farming Operations

Three workshops will be held this fall for the small scale producer.

November 10 - “Comprehensive Forage Management Systems for Livestock Producers” Tips on nutrient management, weeds, plant selection, hay production and economics of forage and livestock.

November 12 - “Growing for Market” Growing tips for vegetable and fruit production as well as season extension techniques. Learn about a web-based tool for identifying alternative agriculture opportunities.

December 10 - “Reducing Costs in Cattle Production” Covering AI vs. natural service in cattle, basic economics and grazing methods.

**All Classes taught by University of Missouri Regional Specialists.

Each session is from 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Iron County Health Department
606 West Russel Street, Ironton
Please RSVP by November 7, 2015

Cost: $10 per session (Original cost $35 but $25 discount is made possible through various funding sources.)  Funding made possible through the Iron County Economic Partnership and University of Missouri Extension.

RSVP by calling the Iron County Extension Center at 573-546-7515.

For questions or additional information, contact Iron Extension Office at 573-546-7515.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tools for Managing and Motivating Employees on the Farm Workshop

The Missouri Young Farmers Coalition and the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture are offering workshop on Tools for Managing and Motivating Employees on the Farm on December 8th.  The main presenter for the workshop will be Chris Blanchard of Purple Pitchfork, an educational and outreach organization dedicated to helping farmers and their farm businesses. 

Whether you manage one seasonal worker or a large year-round crew, good management can make the difference between making headway on your farm's work or just creating headaches. Join veteran farmer and educator Chris Blanchard to learn how to create a productive, positive work environment by communicating clear expectations and implementing systems for efficiency and accountability.

- Utilize practical tools to increase employee satisfaction and productivity
- Remove emotion from management decisions and actions
- Build a team culture
- Collect and use labor information to make operational and investment decisions

The workshop will take place at the Bradford Research Center in Columbia, MO from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm.  Registration is $45 and includes lunch and snacks.

Click here to register.

Monday, October 19, 2015

3rd Annual Soil Health and Cover Crop Workshop

The Third Annual Soil Health and Cover Crop Workshop will be held November 5, 2015 in Troy, MO.  The event is sponsored by USDA-NRCS, University of Missouri Extension, Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education, and Lincoln County Soil & Water Conservation District.


8:00-9:00 am – Registration and Welcome Troy Fairgrounds

9:00-10:30 am – Travel to Farm A & View Cover Crops

10:30 am-12:30 pm – Travel to Elsberry PMC & View Cover Crops

12:30-1:00 pm – Lunch

1:00-1:30 pm – Lauren Cartwright, NRCS Agricultural Economist

1:30-2:30 pm – Travel to Farm B & View Cover Crops

2:30-3:00 pm – Return to Troy Fairgrounds

Registration is $10 and includes lunch and transportation from farms and Elsberry Plant Materials Center and the Troy Fairgrounds.

For additional information or to register call 636-528-4877, ext. 3 by Oct. 23, 2015.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

BMSB Now in Missouri

I have personally identified a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in Jefferson County.  So now is the time to learn about this devastating invasive insect and the damage it can do to the numerous crops you grow.

Presence of breeding populations of the invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in Missouri
The invasive insect pest Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, was recently introduced into the United States from its native range in Japan, Korea, and China. BMSB is a voracious plant eater that can cause serious economic damage to fruits and vegetables, and to some agronomic and ornamental crops. Preferred fruit crops are peach, Asian pear, pear, apple, cherry, raspberry, grape, and currant. Some agronomic crops that can be damaged by this pest are soybean and corn. Among vegetables, BMSB seems to prefer green beans, asparagus, and peppers. Crabapple, persimmon, catalpa, walnut, maple, basswood, sweet gum, redbud, honeysuckle, and American holly are only some of the ornamental trees / shrubs that can be used by BMSB to feed and reproduce.

Has BMSB become established in Missouri?
The answer to this question seems to be yes, at least for one region in Missouri. As part of a monitoring system deployed by the Lincoln University IPM program, on August 24th, 2015, one BMSB nymph (immature stage) was collected near St. Louis (Ferguson area) using sweep nets. No BMSB adults were recorded on that date in pheromone-baited traps.

On September 28th, 2015, 26 adult BMSB were captured in two pheromone-baited traps in the same location. The presence of both adults and immature stages at a single location is strong evidence that BMSB has become established at least near the St. Louis area. We suspect this might be the case in other regions but pheromone-baited traps have not been deployed state-wide.

Previously, live BMSB had been reported in a few isolated locations. In September, 2014, one live BMSB was captured with net sweep in one farm in Jefferson City, and at about the same time numerous live BMSM adults were reported in urban areas (Chesterfield and St. Louis). In the spring of 2015, a couple of live BMSB individuals were also found in two separate occasions in Springfield, MO.

Our monitoring traps will be removed by early November given that at that moment BMSB will be getting ready to overwinter. BMSB overwinters as adult in natural and human-made structures. In the spring, BMSB adults emerge from overwintering sites (houses, barns, storage buildings, and dead trees) and become active on nearby crops during warm sunny days. Adult BMSB have the capacity to fly more than a mile and some have been shown to have the ability to fly over 31 miles. In the spring and throughout the summer, BMSB adults feed, mate, and lay eggs.

If you spot any suspect BMSB indoors, please make sure to let us know, as this is an indication they may be established in your area. 

More information about BMSB identification, monitoring, and management is available at:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Personalized SARE Grant Writing Workshop

You have an idea for a SARE Farmer/Rancher Grant and have read through the application.  Now you’d like to run your ideas past someone to see if it fits or could be funded.  Or you have attended a past SARE Farmer/Rancher Grant Writing Workshop, submitted an application but weren’t awarded and would like advice on how to improve your proposal.  Then sign up for this free event – one-on-one consulting.

Monday, November 2, 2015 from 10 am to 8 pm.  30 minute sessions per applicant.  Call ASAP to schedule your time slot!     

University of Missouri Extension Center, 260 Brown Rd., St. Peters, MO 63376

What to Bring:
~ Important Items to bring with you ~
Past or Current Copy of a SARE Grant Application

This workshop is hosted by Lincoln University’s Innovative Small Farmers’ Outreach Program (ISFOP).  For more information or to schedule your 30 minute consultation contact: Reneesha Auboug at 314-838-4088 or Regina Thompson at 573-681-5312.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Writing Grants for Your Farm

Lincoln University Cooperative Extension, Innovative Small Farmers’ Outreach Program (ISFOP) in collaboration with Missouri SARE are pleased to offer a hands on training to farmers in southwest Missouri on grant writing.  The workshop will take place on October 23, 2015from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. at the Southwest Research Center, 14548 Highway H, Mt. Vernon, MO 65712.

This workshop will cover...
* What is SARE and how they can help your farm
* Details on different grants offered through SARE
* What is involved in Grant Writing
* How to make your application more attractive to grant review panels

The workshop will be taught by Dan Downing, Missouri SARE Co-Coordinator.

Since 1988, SARE has awarded numerous grants in every state and Island Protectorate. Aimed at advancing sustainable innovations, these grants add up to an impressive portfolio of sustainable agriculture efforts across the nation.

This is a free workshop with limited seating! 20 participant maximum.

For more information and to register contact Nahshon Bishop at (417) 846-3948.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pearls of Production: Women in Agriculture Conference

The University of Missouri Extension is offering the Pearls of Production: Women in Agriculture Conference is a program designed to provide a leadership and hands-on training opportunity for women involved in livestock production in Missouri. The program is designed to reach women who are playing larger roles and making key decisions in livestock production on the farm.

November 6, 2015
12:30 p.m. Conference Registration Opens

1:00 p.m. – Rotating sessions begin: Tractors, Equipment & Maintenance, Meat, Food & Quality for Consumers, Health & Safety of You and Your Animals, Government Programs and the Business of Your Farm

·         1:00 p.m. First rotating session
·         2:00 p.m. Second rotating session
·         3:00 p.m. Break
·         3:30 p.m. Third rotating session
·         4:30 p.m. Fourth rotating session

5:30 p.m. Social Hour and Dinner
6:00 p.m. Keynote Speaker Lorenza Pasetti, Volpi Foods

November 7, 2015
Hands-on Demonstrations with lunch from 12:00-1:00 p.m. Breakout sessions will be offered as follows:

Morning Sessions 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Beef Wendy Flatt, Kendra Graham, Reagan Bluel and Erin Larimore
Session 1:
Calving – signs, process, difficulty
Bull selection, confirmation, EPDs, Genetic testing
Body Condition scoring & nutrition

Swine Heather Smith and Marcia Shannon
Reproduction – artificial insemination, heat detection & semen processing
Farrowing – baby pig processing, farrowing induction, reproductive tracts

Forages and Pasture Management Amie Schleicher and Valerie Tate
What’s the plant? Forage & weed ID
Forage fertility for productivity
The latest on tall fescue varieties
Grazing management tools you can use
Start with a good foundation: soil sampling

Afternoon Sessions 1:00-5:00 p.m.

Beef Wendy Flatt, Kendra Graham, Reagan Bluel and Erin Larimore
Session 2:
Vaccine handling & schedule
Calf processing
Cattle feeder grades
Marketing cattle

Small Ruminants Charlotte Clifford-Rathert
Herd Health and Quality Assurance
Parasite Management
Hoof Trimming
Kidding and Lambing

Forages and Pasture Management Amie Schleicher and Valerie Tate
What’s the plant?
Forage & weed ID
Forage fertility for productivity
The latest on tall fescue varieties
Grazing management tools you can use
Start with a good foundation: soil sampling

For additional information go to or call 573-882-4349 or 1-866-682-6663.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Whole Foods Market: Searching for New Local Suppliers

Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic foods grocer, is currently looking for new, local, Missouri-based products to stock its latest store in St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood. The new store is set to open spring 2016.

For a business to be considered local and attend this summit, the products should be grown, manufactured and packaged in the state of Missouri. During the summit, interested suppliers will learn about Whole Foods Market’s Quality Standards and supplier process, and then meet individual with buyers to discuss their products in more detail.

The Missouri Supplier Summit takes place Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Maryville University Auditorium, 650 Maryville University Dr., St. Louis. Advanced registration is required for those interested. To secure a spot, send the participants’ name, company name, brief product description, and contact email and phone number to by Friday, Oct. 16.

Currently, anywhere from 10-30 percent of the products on Whole Foods Market shelves come from local producers. Several suppliers, such as St. Louis-based Billy Goat Chips, have grown from a single store to other stores in the region.

Since 1980, Whole Foods Market has led the grocery industry with its Quality Standards. These high standards for quality and transparency offers shoppers access to delicious, pure foods; minimally-processed body care products and environmentally-friendly cleaning products.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Planning a Successful Timber Harvest

A successful timber harvest lies in working with a professional forester and your logger before the first tree is cut. The following abbreviation of a ten-step approach developed by Lynn Barnickol (Missouri Consulting Foresters Association) and Jason Jensen (Missouri Department of Conservation) provides an excellent framework for the planning process. Emphasis on each step may vary with site and location in Missouri.

  • Safety first. Safety must remain a constant consideration throughout the harvest planning process. Every decision made will have safety implications.
  • Recon. Using aerial, topographic and soil maps, your forester will conduct on-the-ground reconnaissance of the area to be logged. Noted are: the slope, aspect, soils, timber stands to be harvested, streams, access to the timber, boundaries, and old logging roads.
  • Identify streamside management zones (SMZ’s). SMZ width is site specific and is determined by factors such as stream classification, soil type, and percent slope. An SMZ should be a minimum of 50 feet wide or as determined in Missouri Watershed Protection Practice.
  • Locate log decks. Location of the log decks depends on road building cost, skidding cost, timber volumes, skidder payload, and environmental impact. The size of the log deck will depend upon the type of logging equipment to be used, topographic constraints, landing layout, amount of timber skidded to the deck, and environmental impact. Log decks should be kept as small as feasible, be slightly sloped, facilitate drainage, and have stable soils that do not easily rut.
  • Locate logging road entrances. In some areas, highway entrances must be approved by the resident highway engineer. Generally, the law requires 300 feet of visibility in either direction when pulling onto the highway. Truck turning radius, angle of approach, and direction of travel loaded and empty must be considered. Entrances should always be located on well-drained, stable soils and road rock may be needed to keep mud from being transferred onto the highway.
  • Locate logging roads. New roads should be located on a topo map prior to locating on the ground. Your forester will take the map to the woods and flag-in the proposed road. Road grade should be kept at 8% or less and the roadbed placed on well-drained, stable soils. As a general rule, haul roads should be 1-½ times as wide as the equipment utilizing the road, allowing the truck driver to address any ruts or soft places in the road. Harvesting trees adjacent to the road will improve drying and snow melt in the winter. Most primary haul roads are county roads. Secondary haul roads connect the harvest site to the county road or highway. Typically, secondary roads aren’t graveled except for possible soft spots. Drainage can usually be handled through a few well-placed water turn-outs or broad-based dips. Your forester will consider cost, volume of timber to be hauled over the roads, time of year that the roads will be used, type of trucks using the roads, length of road to be built, available road construction equipment, the need for rock surfacing, time it will take to construct the roads, and how the road will be retired when harvesting is completed.
  • Locate stream crossings. Stream crossings can be expensive, hard on equipment, and a source of environmental and water quality problems. If it is determined that a stream crossing is necessary, your forester will choose a location that will minimize the chance of stream sedimentation resulting from logging or hauling operations. The common types of stream crossings, from least to most expensive, are a ford, a culvert with dirt fill, a “low-water” bridge, and an elevated timber bridge. The “best” choice depends upon the cost, stream characteristics, amount of use anticipated, load bearing requirements, area of forestland drained by the stream, previous “high-water” mark, time of year the structure will be used, and environmental impact.
  • Locate main skid trails. Properly located skid trails will minimize damage to the residual stand. Loggers can utilize undesirable trees as “bumpers” to prevent damage to higher quality crop trees. Main skid trails will also be located away from SMZ’s or other sensitive areas and placed so they can be drained with water bars when harvesting is completed. A general rule of thumb is to keep skidding distance less than ¼ mile to maintain productivity and profitability.
  • Determine the schedule of operations. The most efficient schedule of operations depends on the tract topography, time of year, current and anticipated weather conditions, road construction requirements, and cash flow.
  • Specify tract “close-down” requirements. Included are: re-grading ruts, installing water bars on abandoned roads and skid trails, reseeding certain landings and roads, removing temporary stream crossing structures, cutting spring poles, slashing tops, removing trash, opening ditches or water turnouts, and any clean-up necessary to leave the tract in acceptable shape. To help reduce time and costs, many of the operations can be scheduled as harvesting is completed on various parts of the tract.

(By Hank Stelzer, MU Forestry Extension)