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USDA e-News California

USDA e-News - California Edition - November 2013

Welcome to USDA e-News, California Edition. A multi-agency newsletter providing California's producers and other interested parties with current information from the following USDA agencies:

Farm Service Agency Logo



Natural Resources Conservation Service Logo

Natural Resources
Conservation Service

National Agricultural Statistical Service Logo
National Agricultural
Statistics Service

Risk Management Agency Logo
Risk Management Agency

Rural Development
Rural Development

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In this issue: Featured Item| Updates| Funding Opportunities| Reports & Publications|

Other Activities & Events| About Us|Contact Us

Now Accepting Applications For Scholarships For Small-Scale Farmers To Attend The California Small Farm Conference.  Application Deadline:  DECEMBER 6, 2013

The California Small Farm Conference awards scholarships to small scale farmers and ranchers, student farmer/ranchers, farmer/rancher employees and farmer market managers to attend the conference.  This year’s California Small Farm Conference will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Rohnert Park, CA, on March 9 – 11, 2014.  Scholarship awards include registration to the three-day conference, all workshops and networking sessions, conference meals, and a Sunday Field Course at a discounted rate of $25.  Lodging and travel costs are offered depending upon the distance traveled to Rohnert Park, California.  To apply for a scholarship:

            • Download the online application from our website at: or

            • Call 1-888-712-4188 to request an application by mail or fax, or

            • Email to request an application  

All applications must be received by December 6, 2013.  Applications received after close of business on December 6, 2013 through December 31, 2013 shall be placed on a waiting list.  For more information about the California Small Farm Conference, please visit:   http://www.californiafarmconference.comor "like" us on Facebook at:

Grape Crush Survey Workbooks Arrive Mid-November

The 2013 Grape Crush survey of grapes crushed and/or purchased begins this month.  A paper workbook will be mailed mid-November and an optional electronic workbook will be available for e-filing online November 8.  Completed workbooks must be submitted by January 10, 2014.   The e-file option continues to grow in popularity among wineries and includes check tools to simplify reporting.  A Preliminary Report will be published February 10, 2014 and a Final Report will be available March 10, 2014.  Information contained in the Report is supplied by processors to fulfill the reporting requirements of Section 55601.5 of the California Food and Agricultural Code.  The Grape Crush Report includes all grape tonnage crushed during the 2013 season.  To find out more, email nass-gcrush@nass.usda.govor contact Lena Schwedler at the California NASS office at 1-800-851-1127.

NASS Visits Farms for CEAP Survey Through February

Under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct the 2013 National Resources Inventory Conservation Effects Assessment Project (NRI-CEAP) survey of farming and conservation practices. The 2013 NRI-CEAP takesplace in the California Bay Delta watershed area with a primary focus on the Sacramento River Watershed, the San Joaquin River Watershed, and the Tulare Lake Basin Watershed. NASS representatives are visiting approximately 1,732 farms in California and 32 farms in Oregon from October through February 2014 to collect information about on-farm conservation practices. To find out more visit theCEAP websiteor contact your nearest NASS office.

Second Phase of the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) Gearing Up

The Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), conducted by National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and Economic Research Service (ERS), is USDA’s primary source of information on the production practices, resource use, and economic well-being of America’s farm operations and farm households. The second phase of ARMS (ARMS II) began in October 2013 and will continue through mid-December. NASS representatives are interviewing approximately 200 rice producers in California as part of a national effort to gather data on chemical use and other production practices, as well as cost of production information. To find out more, visit the NASS ARMS websiteor contact your nearest NASS office.

USDA Invests to Help Small and Underserved Producers Manage Risk and Remain Productive

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) will support crop insurance education and outreach in California to ensure that small and underserved producers get the information they need to effectively manage risk and ensure their businesses are productive and competitive.  Cooperative agreements totaling nearly $10 million will support thousands of American farmers, ranchers, and producers across the country during a successful yet challenging period for American agriculture.  The agreements announced today will help ensure that farmers and ranchers effectively manage their risk through difficult periods, helping to maintain America’s robust food supply and the sustainability of small, limited resource, socially disadvantaged and other traditionally underserved farmers.  Clickherefor a full list of agreements and herefor the press release.

Application Deadline for NRCS Conservation Programs Fast Approaching

For those farm and ranch operators, as well as non-industrial private timber managers and Tribes, who are interested in applying for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY 2014) Farm Bill conservation program financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California has established Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, as the sign-up deadline for submitting an EQIP application for funding consideration.  For additional information, eligible producers are encouraged to contact their local NRCS Service Center.  Service center locations and more information on the programs can be found at

Funds Available to Develop Biorefineries

USDA Rural Development is currently accepting applications for the Biorefinery Assistance Program.  Loan guarantees are available to construct, develop or retrofit commercial-scale biorefineries to develop advanced biofuels from non-food sources. Possible applicants include Tribes, farmer and rural electric co-ops, state and local government, corporations and higher education institutions among others.  A notice was published in the October 2, 2013 Federal Register, available here. (full link here - are due by January 30, 2014.  For more information contact Todd Hubbell at 202-690-2516 or

MicroLoans Available for Farmers and Ranchers

The Farm Service Agency now has a streamlined loan program designed to assist beginning and smaller farmers and ranchers.  The FSA MicroLoan has reduced paperwork, improved eligibility criteria and a low interest rate to fund agricultural needs of $35,000 or less.  For operations who sell their crops at Farmers’ Markets or through Community Supported Agriculture operations

(CSAs), the MicroLoan program could be a great financial option to consider. Farmers can use

MicroLoan funds for initial start-up expenses such as hoop houses to extend the growing season, essential tools, irrigation supplies, delivery vehicles, and annual expenses such as seed, utilities, land rents, marketing and distribution expenses.  The current interest rate is 2.125%, a great benefit for farmers and ranchers who are just starting out, need capital, and are operating on a tight budget.  To find out more, visit FSA’s MicroLoan websiteor contact your nearest FSA Office.

Sales Closing Date Nears for Crop Insurance Programs

Sales closing dates for several crop insurance programs are almost here.  Please make sure to sign up, review, or change your crop policy before these dates have passed.  November 15th is the last day to buy or change your policy for Apiculture, and, Pasture, Rangeland, Forage (PRF).  November 20th is the last day to buy or change your policy for Blueberries, and Citrus (Grapefruit, Lemons, Mandarins, Minneola, Navel Oranges, Sweet Oranges, Valencia Oranges, Orlando Tangelos).  November 30th is the last day to buy or change your policy for Avocado, and Potatoes in Kern County.  For more information contact your agent or you can find an agent on the RMA website.

Application Closing Date Nears for Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)

2014 NAP application closing dates for several crops are fast approaching.  Please make sure to file an Application for Coverage and pay the service fee for your crop policy before these dates have passed.  December 1 is the last day to buy coverage for Honey, Forage Crops (grazing and hay) and Onions.  December 15 is the last day to buy coverage for Asparagus, Artichokes, Herbs and Fruit/Nut Tree crops (almonds, grapes, etc).  For more information, please contact your local Farm Service Agency Office.

USDA Programs and Services

Follow link to information on USDA Programs and Services available.

NASS Reports

Almond Price Report(11/01/2013)

Walnut Raisin Prune Report(11/08/2013)

Crop Production(11/08/2013)

Grape Crush Inquiry Workbook Online(11/08/2013)

Field Crop Review(11/19/2013)

Livestock Review(11/27/2013)

Poultry Report(11/27/2013)

Intertribal Agriculture Council 27th Annual Membership Meeting

The Intertribal Agriculture Council conducts a wide range of programs designed to further the goal of improving Indian Agriculture.  The IAC promotes the Indian use of Indian resources and contracts with federal agencies to maximize resources for tribal members.  Please see their website for more information.

Risk Management Agency (RMA) to evaluate the Quarantine Endorsement pilot program and the ARH Citrus pilot program.

RMA has contracted with Agralytica to perform evaluations on two pilot programs, Quarantine Endorsement and ARH Citrus.  Listening sessions held for growers, agents, and insurance staff for feedback on how the pilot programs have worked the last three years and how to improve the programs.  Individual meetings are available at all the locations listed below.  To arrange a time, contact Tom Earley at 703-981-6004 or at  Alternatively, anyone can submit phone or e-mailed comments to Tom Earley or Nick Young at 703-981-6002 or at

Tuesday, November 12

9:00 -11:30 Quarantine Endorsement for all parties

San Diego County

San Diego Farm Bureau

1670 E. Valley Parkway

San Diego, CA  92027

Phone: 760-745-3023

Wednesday November 13

9:00 -11:30 Quarantine Endorsement for all parties

Ventura County

UC Cooperative Extension

California Conference Room

669 County Square Drive, #100

Ventura, CA 93003

Phone: 805-645-1451

Thursday November 14

8:30-10:30 - Quarantine Endorsement for all parties

10:45-12:45 - ARH Citrus for growers

2:00-3:30 - ARH Citrus for insurers, agents, adjusters

Tulare County

International Agri-Center

Heritage Complex Building, 2nd floor

4500 S. Laspina St.

Tulare, CA 93274

Phone: 559-688-1030

Friday November 15

8:30-10:30 Quarantine Endorsement for all parties

10:45-12:45 ARH Citrus for growers

2:00-3:30 ARH Citrus for insurers, agents, adjusters

Fresno County

UC’s Kearney Agricultural Research and

Extension Center, Nectarine Room

9240 S. Riverbend Ave.

Parlier, CA 93648


Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)

Risk Management Agency (RMA)

Rural Development (RD)

If you would like to receive a copy of future newsletters or if you have relevant information for California producers that you want to include in a future issue of this newsletter, please email one of the contacts listed below. Please be advised that not all activities may be published.

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

Rose Aguayo, Assistant Regional Director

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Val Dolcini, State Executive Director

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Luana Kiger, Special Assistant

Reina Rogers, American Indian Liaison

National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)

Kelly Krug,Deputy Director
916-498-5161 Ext 106

Risk Management Agency (RMA)

Dick Mansfield, Risk Management Education &Outreach Coordinator

Rural Development (RD)

Karen Firestein, Business & Cooperative Programs Specialist

Janice Waddell, Native American Coordinator

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