Farm Service Agency

Foreign buyers of ag land show interest in its potential to generate renewable energy

When foreign investors acquire U.S. forest and farm land, they frequently are interested in the possibility of solar, wind, or renewable energy generation on their new property, said an Agriculture Department report. Companies with the words "wind," "solar," or "renewable" in their names hold 28 percent of the 43.4 million acres of foreign-owned or -leased agricultural land in the country.

USDA accepts more than 1 million acres for Conservation Reserve

The USDA will accept more than 1 million acres of the land that was offered for entry into the land-idling Conservation Reserve during the recent signup for large tracts of land, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. Contracts expire on 2 million acres of land in the reserve this fall and enrollment of 23 million acres is well below the ceiling of 27 million acres.

Trade war payments skipped specialty crop, underserved farmers

The USDA sent $23 billion in trade war payments to more than a half million farming operations, with the lion's share of the aid going to row-crop producers, said the Government Accountability Office on Thursday. Historically underserved farmers received less than 4 percent of the money.

USDA accepts 1.2 million acres into grasslands program

The USDA accepted nearly 2 out of every 3 acres that were offered this spring for enrollment into the Conservation Reserve grasslands initiative, 1.2 million acres in all, said the Farm Service Agency on Thursday.

New leaders for USDA meat inspection, crop subsidy and marketing agencies

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Carmen Rottenberg will lead USDA's meat inspection agency, Richard Fordyce will head the Farm Service Agency, and Bruce Summers is the new chief of the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Advocates urge Congress not to raise FSA loan limit

A coalition of 19 farm and advocacy groups and lenders wrote a letter to members of Congress Wednesday urging them not to raise the cap on loans issued by the Farm Service Agency.

One-fifth of land in Conservation Reserve enrolled two decades ago

More than one-fifth of the 24 million acres now in the Conservation Reserve, a long-term farmland retirement program that pays landowners to idle fragile land, have been in the program for 20 or more years.

Baccam is appointed to oversee USDA farm programs

Lanon Baccam, a former assistant to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, was named as deputy agriculture undersecretary with responsibility for two agencies that deal directly with producers, the USDA announced.

Size of farm subsidy sequestration ‘up in the air’

The size of budget sequestration cuts in crop subsidies "is still up in the air," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told DTN. The cuts will fall in the range of 6.8 percent to 7.3 percent unless Congress changes the 2011 sequestration law.

Farm-subsidy rule is too restrictive, lawmakers say

The USDA plan to tighten eligibility rules for crop subsidies is unduly restrictive, said two lawmakers from the South. The proposed rule would apply to general partnerships and joint ventures that are not owned by a farm family, about 3 percent of the 2.1 million farms in the country. Congress exempted family farmers when it instructed the USDA, in the 2014 farm law, to devise a stricter definition of who is a farm manager.

Meat-origin labels, beef checkoff clipped by omnibus bill

As part of the $1 trillion government funding bill awaiting a vote in Congress, lawmakers would direct USDA to suggest changes by May 1 in the law that requires packages of beef, pork and chicken to list where the meat was born, raised and slaughtered. The language appears in an explanatory statement that accompanies the bill. Such statements do not carry the force of law but are powerful advice to federal officials.