By Wes Nelson
Farm Service Agency
Whether it was this year’s late and wet spring over a large portion of the Upper Midwest or the stronger soybean market relative to corn, farmers were apparently convinced that this would be the year to increase their acreage of soybeans.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s June Acreage Report, our nation’s farmers planted an estimated 84.8 million acres of soybeans this spring, up 11 percent from last year’s 76.5 million acres. This would be the largest planted acreage of soybeans in U.S. history.
Record high acres of soybeans were also planted in the states of Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, USDA estimated that farmers planted 91.6 million acres of corn this spring. That’s down 4 percent from last year’s 95.4 million acres and would be the lowest planted acreage of corn since 2010. But despite the decline, this year’s estimated acreage would be the fifth-largest amount of acres planted to corn since 1944.
Despite a late and very wet spring and many instances of prevented planting, USDA estimated that Minnesota farmers planted 8.5 million acres of corn this year. That represents a decrease of only 1 percent from last year’s 8.6 million acres. However, USDA’s estimate is down 4 percent from the planting intentions report released in late March.
In terms of soybeans, USDA estimated that Minnesota farmers planted 7.5 million acres, up 800,000 acres from last year, and up 100,000 acres from the March intentions report.
Sugar beet acreage in Minnesota was estimated at 440,000 acres, a decrease of 22,000 acres from 2013.
Minn. corn supplies up 20 percent, soybeans down 8 percent
According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Minnesota’s supply of old-crop corn totaled 469 million bushels on June 1, up 20 percent from a year ago. Of the state’s total corn supply, on-farm supplies accounted for 330 million bushels or approximately 70 percent of the total supply.
Old-crop soybean supplies in Minnesota totaled 38.6 million bushels on June 1, down 8 percent from one year ago. On-farm soybean supplies of 12.5 million bushels accounted for 32 percent of the total supply.
Minnesota wheat supplies totaled 31 million bushels on June 1, down 2 percent from a year ago. On-farm supplies, at 9.2 million bushels, accounted for 30 percent of the total supply.
Nationally, old-crop corn supplies totaled 3.85 billion bushels on June 1, up 39 percent from a year ago. Soybean supplies totaled 405 million bushels, down 7 percent from last year’s report. Wheat supplies totaled 590 million bushels, down 18 percent from a year ago.
Applications being accepted for farm storage loan program
It may be several months away yet, but farmers are already looking ahead and making plans for the fall harvest. Those plans may include increasing their grain storage capacity or upgrading their grain drying and grain handling facilities.
Over the years, many farmers have utilized the very affordable financing terms that are available through the Farm Service Agency’s Farm Storage Facility Loan Program.
Some of the more notable program modifications in recent years include increases in the maximum loan amounts; the availability of extended loan terms; and an expanded list of commodities and crops that will qualify for the program.
In addition to the traditional grain crops like corn, soybeans and small grains, the list of eligible commodities now includes hay, fruit and vegetable crops, and a wide variety of renewable biomass crops.
Previously, the maximum loan amount, including the remaining balance on all other outstanding loans, was limited to $100,000. Under the new provisions, the maximum loan amount has been increased to $500,000.
Loans in excess of $100,000 will require additional security. The additional security can consist of either a first lien on the underlying real estate or another form of security, such as a guaranteed letter of credit that meets USDA approval.
Previously, loan terms were limited to a maximum of 7 years. Depending upon the amount of the loan, terms of 7, 10 or 12 years are now available. However, the interest rate in effect for each loan term may be different, based on the rate at which USDA borrows from the U.S. Treasury Department.
For example, the interest rate for loans approved during the month of July is 2.125 percent for a 7-year loan, 2.625 percent for a 10-year loan, and 2.75 percent for a 12-year loan.
Propane storage tanks qualify for FSA loan program
Officials from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association recently urged farmers to plan ahead for their propane drying needs this fall. That announcement was in anticipation that supplies of propane could again be tight come harvest.
Farmers were encouraged to purchase and have their propane delivered this summer, while supplies are more plentiful. However, most farmers do not have sufficient storage capacity to store all of the propane they will need for harvest drying.
Therefore, farmers might be considering the purchase of additional or larger storage tanks to increase their propane storage capacity.
Local Farm Service Agency offices were recently informed that financing for the purchasing of propane storage tanks is authorized under the Farm Storage Facility Loan Program, provided the storage tanks are permanently attached to the ground.
For more information, or to apply for a loan, contact the Farm Service Agency at your local USDA Service Center. Loan approval is required prior to delivery or installation of storage tanks.
Wes Nelson is executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Kandiyohi County.