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The Tuskegee News
Tuskegee, Alabama
July 4, 1996     The Tuskegee News
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July 4, 1996

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Page 2, The Tuskegee News, July 4, 1996 July 12 sign-up could affect land value, program eligibili Alabama farmers and landowners may lessen their land value and risk losing future farm program eligibility if they miss the July 12 deadline for enrolling in the USDA Farm Service Agency's new farm program. "The next month is critical for the state's agricultural produc- ers," said Jack Bolling, chairperson of the Macon/Bullock Farm Service Agency (FSA). 'We are midway through sign-up for the most revolutionary farm program in our nation's history. "This program gives farmers almost unlimited planting flexibil- ity, provides for fixed, declining payments to producers, and will last seven years," he added. "More importantly, however, the enrollment window ends July 12. After that, only landowners with expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CKP) contracts will be allowed to signup during the next seven years." As of June 14, about 45 percent of Alabama's eligible farmers had enrolled their farms in Production Flexibility Contracts (PFC) under the new program. Earlier this spring, FSA county offices mailed notices to produc- ers notifying them of their eligible acreage. To participate in the program, producers must have land on which crop acreage bases have been established, and must have reported their planted acreages to the Farm Service Agency during one of the past five years. "Statewide, about 31,000 farms meet eligibility requirements," Bolling said. "Of those, most large farmers are aware of how this program will affect their businesses. However, some smaller farm- ers don't appreciate the urgency of enrolling their land," he said. "Even producers with very small crop more acreage bases should understand that failure to enroll could affect their future land value and program eligibility." Under the new law, all crop acreage bases are converted to con- tract acres, according to Boll i n g. That means if producers do not enroll their land in a PFC, their contract acres will be zero. Since no one knows what the future of federal farm programs will be in seven years, farmers who choose not to participate now could be ineligible for any future programs. Moreover, Bolling said, the 1996 farm bill prohibits combining participating farms with ones not enrolled in a PFC. As a result, producers who do not enroll and later decide to lease or sell their land will be unable to offer buyers and tenants the security of receiving a PFC payment. Likewise, crops planted on nonparticipating farms are ineligible for marketing assistance loans from FSA during the next seven years. "Enrolling eligible land in a PFC is a win-win proposition." Bolling said. "Even small land owners benefit. Of course their PFC payment may not be as large as some, but they will ensure their land retains program eligibility--making it more mar- ketable to other producers," he added. "Because the PFC contract VA sets up hotline for questions and suggestions DO you have questions about the pro- posed merger between the Tuskegee and Montgomery VA Medical Centers? Do you have questions about downsizing in the Department of Veterans Affairs? If you have questions or comments relat- ing to these issues, you may call the Tuskegee VA Medical Center's "Sound-Off' line at 727-0550, ext. 3983. When you call this extension number, you will hear a short message: After the tone, leave your question or comment. If you want to receive a personal answer, you may leave your name and telephone num- ber. Otherwise the Sound-Off line is com- pletely anonymous. Questions and com- ments received through the Sound-Off line will be printed and distributed periodically at the medical center. If you wish to receive a copy, please contact the Public Affairs Office at 727-0550, ext. 3979 or 3980. piggly wiggly TUSKEGEE AL, UNION SPRINGS AL PRICES GOOD JULY 5, THRU JULY 9, 1996 ASSORTED PRODUCTS OF REFRESHING COCA COLA 12 PKG- 12 OZ. CANS S 99 THICK & RICH DEL MONTE KETCHUP 28 OZ. BTL. C PIGGLY WIGGLY VEGETABLES "CUT OR FRENCH GREEN BEANS *WHOLE OR CREAM STYLE CORN "SWEET PEAS 3 SAVE ON REFRESHING GATORADE 32 OZ. BTL. C has very few restrictions on planting, I can't imagine anyl~ enrolling their farm." I Producers should contact their local Farm Service Agen! for additional details about Production Flexibility Contra the 1996 Farm Bill. Interested farmers may obtain a writ~ mate of their projected PFC payment. If approved for p! producers will receive a 50 percent advance payment. Fi~ ments will be made by September 30, 1996. NOW OPEN C & S Tune-Up, Inci 2o6 F MLI