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Loan programs help farmers through tough times

By Steve Frericks, executive director of the Douglas County Farm Service Agency

It's that time of year again when the crops have been harvested, the fall tillage is complete, the cows are all back from pasture and it's time to sit down to review your financial situation.

As we continue through a period of low prices in nearly every commodity, many producers are seeing their account payables rise, or having tough times making their loan payments. The FSA Farm Loan Team would like to remind producers that we have a variety of direct financing and guaranteed loan programs to help producers through these tough times. If you find yourself in this situation, please contact the Alexandria Farm Loan Team at 320-763-3191 to discuss how our programs can help you.

Producers are reminded that you must be denied conventional credit options to qualify for FSA farm loan programs. If you are a current FSA borrower needing additional financing, or prospective borrower who could benefit from FSA's Farm Loan Programs in 2018, you are urged to contact FSA as soon as possible. You do not need to wait until you have your taxes done.

With the current ag economy and uncertainty surrounding the 2018 federal budget, we anticipate demand for funding to be high. To avoid funding delays, get your financials put together and get your application in early. Loan options are available for operating refinance, machinery, livestock, crop operating, and real estate purposes. If you would like to talk with a loan officer about your 2018 financing needs please call 320-763-3191 to get started.

Congratulations to Steve Hlinsky who was re-elected to the Douglas County Committee to represent producers in LAA-3, La Grand, Alexandria, Osakis, Holmes City, Lake Mary, Hudson and Orange Townships. This will be Steve's second three year term on the committee. FSA appreciates Steve Hlinsky, Andrew Siira, Eric M Thesing and Dormayne Vogt's willingness to serve on the committee. Also "thank you" to all our eligible voters that took the time to vote.

With regard to the Conservation Reserve Program, we are processing existing offers from this summer. We understand that there is continued interest in enrolling land into the program. At this time, we are not able to accept new CRP offers except CREP and CRP Grassland Applications. Continue to check with our office and stay tuned to local agriculture media for further updates.

In December, farmers and ranchers across the nation will receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Producers can mail in their completed census form, or respond online via the improved web questionnaire. The online questionnaire has been revised extensively to make it more convenient for producers. Conducted once every five years, the census of agriculture is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and those who operate them; it is the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every state and county in the nation. The census of agriculture is a producer's voice, future, and opportunity.

The staff and I would like to wish you all happy holidays. We are proud to be able to serve the producers and landowners who make Douglas County such a wonderful place to live. Best of luck in 2018.