Agriculture news

Emergency assistance for ELAP

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program, or ELAP, provides emergency assistance to eligible livestock, honeybee and farm-raised fish producers who have losses due to disease, adverse weather or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, not covered by other agricultural disaster assistance programs. 

Eligible livestock losses include grazing losses not covered under the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, or LFP, loss of purchased feed and/or mechanically harvested feed due to an eligible adverse weather event, additional cost of transporting water because of an eligible drought and additional cost associated with gathering livestock to treat for cattle tick fever.          

Eligible honeybee losses include loss of purchased feed due to an eligible adverse weather event, cost of additional feed purchased above normal quantities due to an eligible adverse weather condition, colony losses in excess of normal mortality due to an eligible weather event or loss condition, including CCD, and hive losses due to eligible adverse weather.

Eligible farm-raised fish losses include death losses in excess of normal mortality and/or loss of purchased feed due to an eligible adverse weather event.

Producers who suffer eligible livestock, honeybee or farm-raised fish losses from Oct. 1, 2018, to Sept. 30, 2019, must file a notice of loss within 30 calendar days after the loss is apparent and an application for payment by Nov. 1, 2019.

Call 828-765-5049, 828-682-0774 or visit for more information.


Committee nominations open 

USDA’s Farm Service Agency, or FSA, began Friday, June 14, accepting nominations for county committee members. Agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in an FSA program may be nominated for candidacy for the county committee. Individuals may nominate themselves or others as a candidate.

Committees make decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. Their input is vital on how FSA carries out disaster programs, as well as conservation, commodity and price support programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues.

More than 7,700 dedicated members of the agricultural community serve on FSA county committees nationwide. The committees are made of three to 11 members and typically meet once a month. Members serve three-year terms. Producers serving on FSA county committees play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of the agency.

Producers should visit their local FSA office to find out how to get involved in their county’s election. Check with your local USDA service center to see if your local administrative area is up for election this year. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, also may nominate candidates.

A producer must sign an FSA-669A nomination form to be considered. The nomination form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at All nomination forms for the 2019 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1.

Election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters beginning Nov. 4.


USDA announces online hay, grazing acres locator tool

FSA’s Hay Net website is an online resource for agricultural producers to list information concerning the need for hay and grazing acres or the availability of hay and grazing acres. 

If, due to extenuating circumstances, producers need hay or grazing acres to support livestock, use Hay Net to post an advertisement seeking these resources. Likewise, landowners who have hay or grazing acres available for livestock producers should post a Hay Net advertisement as well.

A few things to remember when using the Hay Net website:

• There is a one-time registration process that should be completed by all users who want to post an ad online. 

• Users who wish to browse ads do not need to have an eAuthentication user ID.  

• Hay and grazing acre ads will be automatically removed after 13 months.

• Please help your fellow farmer and rancher by keeping ads current and up to date and remove ads you no longer need or want to be advertised on Hay Net. Please, no corporate advertisements on this site.

Hay Net is brought to you by FSA as a public service. The sole purpose of this online resource is to provide a site for the exchange of information. FSA does not endorse, guarantee, or otherwise make representations of any kind about any user of this site and FSA is not responsible for defining the terms of grazing agreements or lease contracts.

Visit the Mitchell-Yancey FSA office at 11943 S. 226 Hwy. in Spruce Pine, or call 828-765-5049 or 828-682-0774 for more information about FSA services and programs. Producers may also visit the FSA website at


USDA offers targeted farm loan funding for underserved groups, beginning farmers

The USDA Farm Service Agency, or FSA, reminds producers about targeted farm ownership and farm operating loans to assist underserved applicants as well as beginning farmers and ranchers. 

USDA defines underserved applicants as a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of the group without regard to their individual qualities. For farm loan program purposes, targeted underserved groups are women, African-Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Hispanics and Asians and Pacific Islanders. 

Underserved or beginning farmers and ranchers who cannot obtain commercial credit from a bank can apply for either FSA direct loans or guaranteed loans. Direct loans are made to applicants by the FSA. Guaranteed loans are made by lending institutions who arrange for FSA to guarantee the loan. FSA can guarantee up to 95 percent of the loss of principal and interest on a loan. The FSA guarantee allows lenders to make agricultural credit available to producers who do not meet the lender’s standard underwriting criteria.

The direct and guaranteed loan program provides for two types of loans: farm ownership loans and farm operating loans. In addition to customary farm operating and ownership loans, FSA now offers Microloans through the direct loan program. The focus of Microloans is on the financing needs of small, beginning farmer, niche and non-traditional farm operations. Microloans are available for both ownership and operating finance needs. Visit to learn more about microloans.

The individual or entity must meet the eligibility requirements outlined for direct or guaranteed loans to qualify as a beginning producer. 

Additionally, individuals and all entity members must have operated a farm for less than 10 years. Applicants must materially or substantially participate in the operation.

Visit for more information about FSA’s farm loan programs and targeted underserved and beginning farmer guidelines.

Visit the Mitchell-Yancey FSA office at 11943 S 226 Hwy. in Spruce Pine, or call 828-765-5049 or 828-682-0774 for more information about FSA loans. Producers may also visit the FSA website at

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
Fax: 828-765-1616