FAQ: Sign-up for the 2012 USDA farm program is underway. FSA is encouraging farmers who want to enroll in the DCP and ACRE programs to do so online. What is involved? I'll still have to go to the FSA office and sign my contracts, correct?
Answer: Enrollment for the 2012 Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program and the Average Crop Revenue Election Program begin on January 23. USDA urges producers to make use of the electronic DCP automated website to sign up, or producers can visit any USDA Service Center to complete their 2012 DCP or ACRE contract.
According to Farm Service Agency officials, eDCP saves time, reduces paperwork and speeds up contract processing at USDA Service Centers. The sign-up deadline is June 1, 2012.
John Whitaker, state executive director of FSA in Iowa, says eDCP is available to all producers who are eligible to participate in the programs and can be accessed at www.fsa.usda.gov/dcp. To access the service, producers must have an active USDA eAuthentication Level 2 account, which requires filling out an online registration form at www.eauth.egov.usda.gov followed by a visit to the local USDA Service Center for identity verification.
Farmers need to visit FSA offices to sign their contracts
If you do choose to sign-up online, remember that you still need to visit your local FSA office to sign your contracts.
For 2012, advance direct payments are not authorized and Counter-Cyclical payment rates vary depending on market prices, says Whitaker. Counter-cyclical payments are issued only when the effective price for a commodity is below its target price. The ACRE Program provides a safety net based on state revenue losses. When the ACRE option is chosen, it acts in place of the price-based safety net of counter-cyclical payments under DCP.
A new FSA policy on Adjusted Gross Income for 2012 program
New for 2012 is an additional average Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limitation of $1 million that is applicable to all recipients of 2012 direct payments. All 2012 direct payments are subject to this average AGI limitation in addition to the $500,000 average nonfarm AGI and the $750,000 average farm AGI limitations.
Thus, in addition to the current regulations, this new USDA policy reviews the combination of both farm and non-farm limitations and if these together exceed $1 million, program participants are ineligible for direct payments under the DCP and/or ACRE programs.
"Program participants who were eligible in the past, may not be eligible for the 2012 crop year, due to this new policy" says Whitaker. "Program participants need to be aware of policy changes before they arrive in our county offices to sign up."
For more information on DCP or ACRE, contact a nearby FSA Service Center or visit the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/dcp.