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Posts tagged: RMA

Investigating Crop Insurance for Biofuel Sources

Energy crops have tremendous potential to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs in rural America.  USDA’s Risk Management Agency is expanding its efforts to see if new insurance products can be developed for the producers of these renewable, clean energy crops that are grown right here in America.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 established that a mandate that this country’s use of renewable transportation fuels reach 36 billion gallons by 2022.  Of that, 20 billion gallons are targeted to come from second generation biofuel sources, including switchgrass, energy cane, woody biomass and other feedstocks. The Act encouraged biofuels research and development. Read more »

Custom-Built Tax Resources for Farmers and Ranchers

Farming isn’t easy.  It’s a seven-days-a-week job that requires a diverse set of skills, long hours, and some luck with the weather.  It’s with this in mind that the National Farm Income Tax Extension Committee recently created RuralTax.org, an online tool that provides agricultural producers with a source for agriculturally related income and self-employment tax information that is both easy to understand and continually updated to reflect changes in tax laws.

The Committee has a 50-plus year history of working with the IRS to edit Publication 225: The Farmer’s Tax Guide. It’s comprised of representatives from more than 12 land-grant universities around the country, who realized the need to partner with USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) to provide more information for farmers about Federal taxes. We at RMA are dedicated to providing useful tools for farmers to access crucial information and are proud to have provided support for the website. Read more »

Improvements in LGM Dairy Insurance

We here at USDA have been working on improving insurance coverage for America’s farmers and ranchers.  In particular, we have been working hard to improve insurance coverage for dairy producers.  In recent years, dairy farmers across the country faced a crisis and thousands considered bankruptcy.  One of the ways in which USDA has taken action is by improving the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle plan of insurance. Read more »

Managing the Escalating Risks of Farming

Lancaster County, PA – Dairy farmer Luke Brubaker has managed risks well enough to establish a long history of successful, and environmentally friendly farming. At age 67, however, he recognizes that now is the riskiest time he has seen. Read more »

The Field Guide to the New American Foodshed

The Farm Credit Council, the trade organization for the farmer-owned Farm Credit System, was recently awarded a grant by the Risk Management Agency to produce written and web-based material using case studies to explain how local food systems work in the real world of business and economics, called the “Field Guide to the New American Foodshed.”  With this field guide, beginning farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs will be able to identify different food system business models as they come across them, along with detailed explanations of their business structures and related resources.

Beginning farmers in Kentucky.

Beginning farmers in Kentucky.

Most farm business advisors that are readily available are often very familiar with traditional commodity agriculture.  But many beginning farmers and ranchers (BFRs) are serving markets that are often found outside of national and international commodity markets.  In addition, many BFR operations are often located near metropolitan areas where there are fewer financial service providers familiar with the workings of an agricultural operation. Read more »

Farmers Markets as Small Business Incubators

Friday Farmers Market at the USDA.

Friday Farmers Market at the USDA.

Last Sunday, CBS News featured USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan and discussed how farmers markets are part of a fundamental shift in the way people access their food and interact with their community.  And, as the story notes, “… [f]armers markets and other forms of selling straight to customers are helping to keep farmers in business,” which is why those of us at the Agriculture Marketing Service were excited to report that there are now 6,100-plus farmers markets, recognizing that these markets provide jobs and economic growth opportunities for their producers.

Farmers markets are a unique business structure: lower overhead costs and direct and valued contact with their customer base make for innovative and responsive farmers that can experiment with offering new items more easily.  If a producer is able to find the right product mix for consumer demand, they can develop a sound business, create new jobs, and grow successfully. Read more »