Dennis Olson, acting state executive director for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Iowa is reminding farmers and other agricultural producers that they have until August 3, 2009 to nominate eligible candidates to serve on local FSA county committees.
"I encourage all Iowa producers to get involved by nominating candidates to serve on county committees," says Olson. "FSA county committees are essential to the delivery of federal programs. We are getting close to the deadline and we need more participation. I also urge producers to help us build a strong future for our next generation of agricultural businesses and communities by nominating beginning farmers and ranchers, minorities and women."
FSA county committees help local farmers through their decisions on commodity price support loans, conservation programs and disaster programs, and by working closely with county executive directors.
Who is eligible to serve on county FSA committee?
To be eligible to hold office as a county committee member, people must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and live in the local administrative area where they are running. A complete list of eligibility requirements, more information and nomination forms are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections.
People can nominate themselves or others. FSA encourages beginning farmers, as well as minorities and women, to nominate themselves. All nominees must sign the nomination form FSA-669A. All nomination forms for the 2009 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 3, 2009.
After that, ballots will be mailed to eligible voters by Nov. 6 and are due back to the local USDA Service Centers on December 7, 2009. The newly-elected county committee members will take office January 1, 2010. For more information, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency office.
2009 acreage reporting deadline extended
In other FSA news, Iowa FSA officials say because of extreme weather conditions many producers have not filed a 2009 acreage report yet with their local USDA Farm Service Agency office. Some producers may also need to request prevented planting or report failed acreage. Where the crop year 2009 crop acreage deadlines have not passed for 2009, the final crop reporting dates are extended to August 14, 2009, with the exception of the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program crops.
Producers enrolled in NAP are required to file an acreage report by the extended acreage reporting date but no later than 15 calendar days before the onset of harvest if that is earlier than the extended acreage reporting date. Late filed fees will apply for acreage reports filed after August 14, 2009.
Additional information on acreage reporting is available at local county Farm Service Agency offices or online at www.fsa.usda.gov.
ACRE/DCP deadlines rapidly approaching
Olson also reminds Iowa producers of the deadlines for electing and enrolling in USDA's new Average Crop Revenue Election program or the traditional Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program. The deadline to enroll in ACRE or DCP for 2009 is August 14, 2009.
"It is critical for producers to begin the enrollment process as soon as possible," says Olson. "ACRE is an innovative alternative to the traditional farm safety net, but this new program comes with a complex sign-up process." Olson advises producers to contact their local office today to set up appointments well before the August 14, 2009 deadline.
Numerous resources are available to help producers make an informed decision. FSA county office staff can answer many questions on program rules, application procedures and potential benefits. Experts at local land grant universities can assist with potential payment calculations. FSA has also launched an ACRE Web page, with educational information, including an electronic program payment calculator, located at www.fsa.usda.gov/dcp.
Late-filed applications for ACRE won't be accepted
Late-filed applications for ACRE or DCP will not be accepted. Producers should note also that ACRE elections will not be approved until all producers, including owners, on a farm have signed both election and enrollment forms. If producers do not elect ACRE, they still have the option of enrolling in the DCP program by August 14, 2009. Both ACRE and DCP require all signatures be obtained by the August 14 deadline.
Olson emphasizes, "In all cases, it is the responsibility of the operator and owners of a farm to obtain and submit all necessary signatures on election and enrollment forms by the August 14, 2009 deadline."
Producers should also note that once they select ACRE for a farm, that decision irrevocably elects ACRE for the farm through crop year 2012. In that case, the ACRE contract form must be completed each year the producer intends to participate and receive benefits.
For more information about the ACRE program and an online ACRE Calculator, visit www.fsa.usda.gov or contact your local FSA county office.