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Ag Briefs

SDA announces loan maturity for Marketing Assistance Loans now extended to 12 months

Agricultural producers now have more time to repay Marketing Assistance Loans (MAL) as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s implementation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. The loans now mature at 12 months rather than nine, and this flexibility is available for most commodities.

Effective immediately, producers of eligible commodities now have up to 12 months to repay their commodity loans. The maturity extension applies to nonrecourse loans for crop years 2018, 2019 and 2020. Eligible open loans must in good standing with a maturity date of March 31, 2020, or later or new crop year (2019 or 2020) loans requested by Sept. 30, 2020. All new loans requested by Sept. 30, 2020, will have a maturity date 12 months following the date of approval.

The maturity extension for current, active loans will be automatically extended an additional 3 months. Loans that matured March 31 have already been automatically extended by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). Producers who prefer a nine-month loan will need to contact their local FSA county office. Loans requested after Sept. 30, 2020, will have a term of nine months.

Eligible commodities include barley, chickpeas (small and large), corn, cotton (upland and extra-long staple), dry peas, grain sorghum, honey, lentils, mohair, oats, peanuts, rice (long and medium grain), soybeans, unshorn pelts, wheat, wool (graded and nongraded); and other oilseeds, including canola, crambe, flaxseed, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower, sunflower seed, and sesame seed. Seed cotton and sugar are not eligible.

MAL Repayment

Under the new maturity provisions, producers can still repay the loan as they would have before the extension:

• repay the MAL on or before the maturity date;

• upon maturity by delivering or forfeiting the commodity to CCC as loan repayment; or

• after maturity and before CCC acquires the farm-stored commodity by repaying the outstanding MAL principle and interest.

For more information on MALs, contact the nearest FSA county office. USDA Service Centers, including FSA county offices, are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

28 chosen for MARL Class XI

Twenty-eight individuals have been selected to participate in Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership (MARL), Class XI.

MARL is a highly customized dynamic two-year educational experience featuring nine, two- and three-day in-state seminars, a six-day national study seminar and a two-week international study seminar.

Class XI is comprised of both agricultural producers and those involved in agribusiness or rural leadership positions.

“The quality of applicants to MARL continues to be high,” said Executive Director Olga Reuvekamp. “The board had a very difficult task in selecting MARL Class XI participants,” she said. “The program really develops the leadership qualities of the participants, and these are the individuals who are making a difference in agriculture today.”

The MARL calendar is designed to accommodate the busy schedules of participants, with most activities occurring over the winter months. MARL Class XI will first meet Nov. 23, in St. Cloud.

The following individuals have been selected for MARL Class XI:

• Haley Ammann-Ekstrom, Welcome

• Dylan Barth, Lakeville

• Quyntin Brandt, Shakopee

• Nada Carter, Starbuck

• Joel Dorn, St. Peter

• Erik Evans, Fridley

• Shannon Gegner, Redwood Falls

• Elizabeth Golombiecki, Morris

• Holly Hatlewick, Granite Falls

• Cheryal Hills, Brainerd

• Chelsea Honnette, Jackson

• Katie Knapp, Minneapolis

• Ausin Ludowese, Stewart

• Steven Marsh, Gonvick

• Sarah McCall, Fairmont

• Jessica Miller, Mankato

• Deborah Mills, Lake City

• Kim Neumann, Wabasso

• Robert Orsten, Willmar

• Jesse Pabst, Pennock

• Kaelyn Platz, Pemberton

• Brad Schloesser, St. Peter

• Amy Smith, Rockford

• Jana Stangler, Utica

• Brittany Ullrich, Detroit Lakes

• Dan Vagle, Lancaster

• Charlie Vogel, Thief River Falls

• Roy Wookey, New London

MARL is a partnership between its administrative host Southwest Minnesota State University and University of Minnesota Extension, which develops and delivers the curriculum. The program is made possible by many generous investors and sponsors.

K-State researchers get $1M to improve wheat diversity

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas State University wheat geneticist will get nearly $1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for research designed to improve the genetic diversity of wheat.

The Hutchinson News reports the research will focus on studying and cultivating a genetic species of wheat that can withstand drought, heat and viruses. Wheat geneticist and professor of plant pathology Jesse Poland is part of two grants that focus on bringing wild native plants together with wheat to create better seed.

“The wheat genome is quite adaptable,” said Poland, director of the Wheat Genetics Resource Center Industry-University Cooperative Research Center at K-State. “We hope to find stress tolerance and disease resistance in these wild relatives.”

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