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Steve Frericks: Ask for help in tough times

The sights and smells of spring in conjunction with the increase of daylight hours brings excitement and optimism for me as I fine tune my equipment for spring planting. In my younger years, I would never have thought that the smell of fresh-cut hay, newly tilled earth or even a cleaned out cattle yard are welcomed and make me feel like I am home. I hope you all can also appreciate the simple things like this that make you feel like you are where you want to be with your life.

We invite producers to call the office and schedule an appointment for the 2017 ARC/PLC program election if you have not already done so. If you have purchased any land or are renting new land, please provide documentation to office so we can update our records. This takes some time, and doing so now will save you time later when you are wanting to be in the field.

A common misconception is that the USDA office is notified of land changes from the local courthouse. This is not true. FSA needs you to bring a copy of your recorded deed for ownership changes. When you are completely done planting, schedule an appointment with the FSA office to certify your crops.

If you are thinking about CRP as one of the many options regarding the Minnesota Buffer regulations, please stop in the office to review the eligibility of the land and you as a producer. Here are a few other important deadlines for some of the programs offered by FSA:

• May 31 — Final date to apply for 2016 commodity loans on corn, soybeans and sunflowers.

• May 31 — 2017 Nursery Crop certification deadline.

• July 15 — 2017 annual crop certification and CRP certification deadline.

• Aug. 1 — 2017 ARC/PLC enrollment deadline.

• Aug. 31 — Deadline for CRP signup No. 50.

As stormy seasons approach, there is potential for crop damage and livestock death. If you experience any of these concerns, please notify the office. Programs such as NAP, LIP, LFP or ELAP require timely notification with a notice of loss.

Times are tough in many aspects of agriculture. With a little cooperation from Mother Nature and sound management practices, hopefully producers in every aspect of agriculture can weather this storm.

Whenever there is difficulty, there is also opportunity. FSA is here to assist you with the programs offered to assist you in taking advantage of those opportunities. If you are experiencing emotional difficulty in dealing with these stressful times, please reach out for help. There are state and regional assistance available for these very concerns. You are all a valuable part of the strong agricultural presence here in Douglas County. Take some breaks this spring and be safe. You are part of a noble industry and have a lot of which to be proud.

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