New regs for Friday: livestock, home repairs, loans to market crops

Friday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules from the Department of Agriculture for livestock, a proposal from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to increase funding for home renovations and repairs and new  marketing assistance loan rates for upland cotton farmers.

Here’s a look at what is happening:

Livestock: The Department of Agriculture is considering a rule that would change how animals move to auction barns and buying station across state lines and abroad.

In an effort to try and better track diseases that are disseminated by animals, all livestock marketing facilities will be required to keep records of disease and pests, as well as control and eradication efforts.

The rule would also require the facilities to keep record of receipt, distribution and application of the official identification devices and USDA approved backtags at the facility for a period of five years. The tags show that the animal has been inspected by a veterinarian and is safe to travel.

Due to logistical problems in the past, the USDA also want to remove the requirement that an accredited veterinarian, state representative, or APHIS representative must be on the premises at all times on sale days. Instead, the agency said marketing facilities must have an accredited veterinarian on call.

The public has 60 days to comment.

Housing: The Bureau of Indian Affair is considering a rule that would leverage Housing Improvement Program funds to serve more Native American families.

The Housing Improvement Program (HIP) provides eligible members of federally recognized tribes grant money to repair, renovate, or replace their existing house.

The agency is considering increasing the amount of money a recipient can receive from $2,500 to $7,500 for existing home repairs and from $35,000 to $60,000 to renovate and existing home. 

“These limit increases will better reflect the actual costs of repair and renovation,” the bureau said in its rule-making.

Recipients are now required to pay back the grant or a portion of it if they sell their home within five years, but the proposed rule extend the payback period to 10 years.

The public has until March 6 to comment. 

Crop loans: The USDA and the Commodity Credit Corporation is issuing a final rule that will update the Marketing Assistance Loan and Loan Deficiency Payments program for wheat, feed grains, soybeans, oilseeds, peanuts, pulse crops, cotton, honey, wool and mohair, which were extended by the 2014 farm bill.

The national rate for Marketing Assistance Loans for upland cotton is the only rate that changed from the most recent rates in 2013. The base loan rate is no less than 45 cents per pound and no more than 52 cents per pound.

The rule will take effect immediately.