John Whitaker, state executive director for USDA's Farm Service Agency in Iowa reminds farmers the annual crop certification deadline is June 30, 2012. Farmers need to file an accurate and timely report for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage and prevented planting. They should do this even if they aren't currently participating in the USDA farm program, he says. "I encourage all producers to visit their local county FSA office to file an accurate crop certification report by the June 30 deadline in order to comply with FSA program eligibility requirements," says Whitaker.
Acreage reports on crops covered by the USDA's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program or NAP should be filed in the county FSA office the earlier of June 30, 2012 or no later than 15 calendar days before the onset of harvest or grazing of the specific crop acreage being reported.
Contact your local FSA office as soon as possible if you have questions
To report prevented or failed acreage, producers must complete FSA form CCC-576, Notice of Loss for interested crops, says Whitaker. Reporting prevented plantings or failed acreage to FSA will ensure compliance with current farm programs, and possible eligibility for future disaster assistance programs. Once a CCC-576 form has been submitted, it cannot be withdrawn or revised.
If a producer misses the reporting deadline for prevented planting, they may still report prevented planting acreage as long as the disaster condition may be verified by a field visit. Producers should contact their local county FSA office if they have any questions about prevented and failed reporting or visit www.fsa.usda.gov/ia for more information.
FSA proceeding with office consolidation, three county offices to close in Iowa
In other FSA news, USDA recently announced it is proceeding with plans to consolidate some county offices in a number of states, as a move to save the government some money. In Iowa, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has approved the closure of three FSA county offices, a process that will begin immediately.
After the required notifications have been provided to farmers, FSA employees and office landlords, closure dates will be established and made publicly available. The three county offices in Iowa that are confirmed for closure are the ones in Appanoose, Decatur and Union counties—all in southern Iowa.
County FSA offices being closed in Iowa are Appanoose, Decatur and Union
"FSA places the utmost priority on ensuring that our services to producers remain strong as this consolidation process begins," says FSA administrator Bruce Nelson. The agency will provide farmers and ranchers affected by closures an opportunity to choose the most convenient neighboring county office with which to conduct their future business with the agency. In addition, all employees in the office that is closing will be provided an opportunity to continue to work with FSA.As a federal agency, FSA has been affected by widespread budget reductions made by Congress. Since 2011, the FSA has lost 1,230 permanent employees through voluntary early separation and normal retirement. In addition, FSA has been forced to reduce its discretionary administrative expense by over 30% in the last fiscal year alone. For more information and a complete listing of FSA county offices affected by this decision, go to www.fsa.usda.gov/officeconsolidations.