FSA Administered Programs
FSA programs in Illinois are delivered through a network of 93 field offices throughout the state. Each office is comprised of a County Committee (COC) consisting of elected area farmers, a County Executive Director (CED), and an office staff responsible for delivering our programs and services to the local agricultural community.
All duties normally associated with administration to support the Agency's workforce in Illinois as they provide services to farmers, ranchers, and the general population. This includes human resource support, budget and fiscal management, contracting and purchasing, leasing office space, etc.
FSA services the people of the State of Illinois through 93 offices located mainly in the county seats with some offices servicing more than one county. Click here to contact your local office directly. The mission of FSA is guided locally by elected FSA county committees with program implementation carried out by approximately 620 permanent employees supplemented by seasonal staff according to workload demands.
Information on working for FSA, contacting the various program departments, obtaining general information and links to specific information on our programs, please see the Illinois FSA homepage.
Compliance/Geographic Info System
Compliance is the program section responsible for ensuring that producers who choose to participate in certain USDA programs are meeting performance standards mandated by laws passed by our government, issued by the Secretary of Agriculture, and administered through the FSA county offices. Participants in FSA programs are subject to random inspections performed by county office personnel to ensure the integrity of FSA programs. This process is accomplished by completing field inspections via digital aerial photograph that is taken each crop year as well as random ground visits.
FSA county offices voluntarily collect acreage data provided by producers. This data collection effort has proven to be a valuable resource not only for FSA, but for Federal Crop Insurance providers as well as other governmental and nongovernmental entities. Producers are required to report their acreages to be eligible for certain USDA benefits such as Commodity Loans, Loan Deficiency Payments, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) payments, Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance (NAP) program benefits and Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program payments.
The Illinois Compliance Section is also responsible for the following program areas:
Illinois FSA is in the process of implementing a geographic information system (GIS) in local field offices. This technology will enable FSA to efficiently manage and make data more accessible, increase productivity, and improve customer service. The first step in this implementation is establishing a common land unit (CLU) layer. The image to the left shows CLU's delineated with yellow lines. A CLU is the smallest unit of land that has:
To accomplish this, the hard-copy aerial maps must be transferred to a digital ortho photo quadrangle (DOQ). Then reference lines such as farm, tract, and field boundaries; roads and waterways, must be scanned onto the imagery. Upon receipt of the CLU layers, FSA County Offices are checking the accuracy of the reference lines. Once the CLU data layer is certified, it will supersede aerial photography as official USDA photography. In Illinois, it is anticipated that all FSA County Offices will be using the CLU layers in place of aerial photography by October of 2004. Contact your FSA County Office for additional information.
Where to go for More Information
Producers should first contact their local FSA county office for specific information. These are usually listed in telephone directories in the section set aside for government or public agencies under "U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA Service Center."
Conservation and Environmental Programs Division (CEPD)
Conservation Reserve Program
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is the Federal Government's largest environmental improvement program and one of its most productive and cost-efficient. It is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) through the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Established in 1985, the Conservation Reserve Program encourages farmers to voluntarily plant permanent areas of grass and trees on land that needs protection from erosion, to act as windbreaks, or in places where vegetation can improve water quality or provide food and habitat for wildlife. The farmers must enter into 10- to 15-year contracts with the Commodity Credit Corporation. In return, they receive annual rental payments, incentives payments for certain activities and cost-share assistance to establish the protective vegetation.
Today, the Conservation Reserve Program safeguards millions of acres of American topsoil from erosion; and by reducing water runoff and sedimentation, it protects groundwater and helps improve countless lakes, rivers, ponds and streams.
FSA is working to maximize the program's environmental benefits. Only the most environmentally sensitive land, in relation to its cost, is now accepted into the program, making optimum use of each taxpayer dollar to improve the environment. Erosion control remains a top priority, and now water quality and wildlife habit improvement are given greater emphasis than before.
The Conservation Reserve Program ranks with America's most successful wildlife conservation efforts. The combined size of new wildlife habitats established by the program is twice as large as the National Wildlife Refuge System and all State-owned wildlife areas in the contiguous 48 States combined. The program encourages diverse covers of natural grasses and other plantings, with the specific aim of sheltering and feeding as great a variety of wildlife as possible.
Tree Planting Benefits
Since 1986, the program has helped farmers plant and maintain 2 million acres of trees.
Besides providing food and shelter for wildlife, Conservation Reserve Program forests help cleanse runoff water of silt and pollutants, protecting and improving streams. They replenish water tables, conserve and stabilize soil, reduce flooding, and enhancing wildlife habitat. Trees also prevent the erosion of stream banks, increase oxygen levels and reduce so-called from the air. They even moderate the weather by reducing evaporation rates and providing shade and buffers against winds.
Water Quality Benefits
Each acre under contact reduces erosion by an average of 19 tons of top soil a year. This improves streams, lakes and other bodies of water not only by reducing sediment, but also by preventing pollution from nutrients and pesticides carried by eroded topsoil.
On top this producers who enrolled acreage in the program greatly reduced their application of pesticides and nutrients on these acres, largely eliminating program lands as a source of agricultural pesticide and nutrient pollutants. Keeping these polluting chemicals out of water bodies decreases the risk of disease to desirable aquatic plants, animals and humans.
The Conservation Reserve Program encourages farmers to return wetlands now being farmed to their natural state. Wetlands provide important habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife - especially many threatened and endangered species. Wetland acreage also filters out pollution and sedimentation, improving water quality, and it serves as an important flood control mechanism. Healthy wetlands are vital to the recharging of underground aquifers.
The program's benefits go beyond improving the environment. The program also makes valuable contributions to America's economy.
The program's economic benefits include increases in farm income, timber resources, soil productivity, water and air quality, and small game. In fact, USDA economists have estimated that during the life of the 32-million-acre program, it generates $15 billion to $25 billion in income and savings to the economy.
Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Compliance
The Food Security Act of 1985 as amended by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 discourages the production of crops on highly erodible cropland unless the land is protected from erosion under an approved conservation system. If crops are produced on such fields without an approved conservation system, producers may lose their eligibility for most USDA program benefits.
In addition to the restrictions for production on highly erodible land, producers will lose USDA benefits if they plant agricultural commodities on wetland converted after December 23, 1985, or if they convert a wetland to make agricultural production possible after November 28, 1990. Some of the programs that are subject to the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions under the 1985 Act, as amended, are:
USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) makes and guarantees loans and provides credit counseling and supervision to farmers and ranchers who are temporarily unable to obtain private, commercial credit. These may be beginning farmers who can't qualify for conventional loans because of insufficient net worth, or established farmers who have suffered financial setbacks from natural disasters. These loans are tailored to a producer's needs and may be used to buy farmland and finance agricultural production.
Everyone needs financial help sometime. Perhaps FSA can help you with loan programs and services to meet your farming needs and help you to qualify for commercial credit. To find out how our programs can work for you, just give us a call or stop in at your local Farm Service Agency office or USDA Service Center. We have offices in many agricultural counties nationwide, staffed with people who can assist you in your credit needs. Look under "U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency," in your local telephone directory.
FSA Financial Assistance Programs
FSA lends money and provides credit counseling and supervision to eligible applicants who operate family-size farms. We offer several types of loan programs. Under the Guaranteed Loan program, FSA guarantees loans made by conventional agricultural lenders for up to 95 percent of principal. The lender may sell the guaranteed portion of the loan to a third party; however, that will not change your relationship with your lender. All loans must meet certain qualifying criteria to be eligible for guarantees, and FSA will monitor the lender's servicing of your loan. Farmers interested in Guaranteed Loans apply directly with a conventional lender, who then arranges for the guarantee. For those unable to qualify for a Guaranteed Loan, FSA offer Direct Loans, which are made and serviced by FSA officials. Funding for Direct Loans is more limited, and applicants must wait sometimes until funds are available. To qualify for a Direct Farm Ownership or Operating Loan, the applicant must have sufficient repayment ability and loan collateral. We will work with you to analyze your situation, provide technical assistance, and tailor loans to meet your needs.
The new FLP Webpage is located at the following URL: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/dafl
Assignment of Functions
Formulate and prepare dockets for CCC Board consideration and/or Federal Register publication for administration and operational aspects of assigned programs.
Formulate and recommend operating policies, procedures, and regulations for carrying out the marketing assistance loan program for wheat, feed grains, cotton, oilseeds, and farm stored peanut loans.
Formulate and recommend policies and procedures relating to approval of cooperative marketing associations for participation in authorized loan programs. Review applications of cooperatives to determine eligibility for program participation and recommend overall approval or disapproval. Review operations of approved cooperatives to ensure compliance with representations made in their applications and with program regulations. Request audits and investigations and recommend course of action based upon findings.
Provide focal point for handling requests for interpretations, changes, and modifications in assigned program provisions. Develop recommendations for adjustments in policies, procedures, and reporting requirements as needed. Provide technical advice and information on legislative or policy changes affecting assigned programs, including drafting legislative proposals.
Provide direction and assistance to State and county offices with respect to assigned program operations and procedures. Review and evaluate operating policies, programs and participation trends, and develop report and recommendations for program improvements. Analyze audit and investigation reports pertaining to assigned programs, draft responses, and take corrective action as necessary.
Participate in or conduct meetings and serve as liaison with FSA, interagency, and trade groups to provide technical guidance and information covering program policies, procedures and operations, and to obtain information and advice on program effectiveness.
Formulate and recommend policies, regulations, and instructions for use by State and County FSA offices for the dairy indemnification program and others which may be authorized. Determine standards for eligibility for indemnity payments and conduct final review of requests for payments in unusual cases.
When such programs may be authorized, administer and conduct direct payment and purchase programs for fresh fruits, vegetables, and other assigned commodities.
The Agricultural Act of 2014 (the Act), also known as the 2014 Farm Bill, authorized the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs.
PLC program payments are issued when the effective price of a covered commodity is less than the respective reference price for that commodity. The effective price equals the higher of the market year average price (MYA) or the national average loan rate for the covered commodity.
The County Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC-CO) program provides revenue loss coverage at the county level. ARC-CO payments are issued when the actual county crop revenue of a covered commodity is less than the ARC-CO guarantee for the covered commodity.
The Individual Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC-IC) program provides revenue loss coverage at a farm level. An ARC-IC farm is defined as the sum of the interests of a producer in all FSA farms that are enrolled in the individual coverage option for ARC in a state. ARC-IC revenue loss payments are made to the ARC-IC farm when the current year revenue for all covered commodities planted on the ARC-IC farm falls below 86 percent of the farm benchmark revenue.