FAQ: The deadline for reporting my 2012 planted acreage to FSA is June 30. That's when my local FSA office wants the information. Seems like each year the past few years USDA is asking for more information. Why?
Answer: Farmers have to report planted acreage to the local Farm Service Agency office each year to maintain eligibility for USDA farm programs. In 2012, the deadline for reporting spring-planted crops is June 30. In recent years more than just acreage is required. Farmers wonder what is going on--why has this process of certifying acreage become more detailed? Why is FSA asking for more information about the crop and each field?
Beth Grabau, public information and outreach specialist at the state FSA office in Des Moines answered that question along with the following questions. FSA program specialists Kevin McClure and Vickie Friedow assisted. For more information, contact your county FSA office or visit www.fsa.usda.gov.
QUESTION: There seems to be so many different things I need to report to my local FSA office, like prevented planting/failed acreage, NAP crops, forage, etc. Why is it important to report my planted acreage, and what programs require it?
Answer: Many FSA programs use the crops that were planted as a basis for eligibility and in the case of CRP, cropping history is used. Crop reporting is also needed to meet FSA program eligibility requirements. Producers must file their reports accurately and timely for all crops and land uses, including prevented and failed acreage, to ensure they receive the maximum FSA program benefits possible. For Iowa, the final reporting date for most crops is June 30.
Producers who were prevented from planting must file these reports within 15 calendar days after the final planting date. Failed acreage must be reported before disposition of the crop.
Farmers must report crops under the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) which are harvested prior to June 30 by the earlier of June 30, 2012 or 15 calendar days before the onset of harvest or grazing. Farmers should contact their county FSA office if they're uncertain about reporting deadlines for NAP crops--as they do vary. NAP provides coverage for crops for which at least the catastrophic level of insurance isn't available.
Accurate acreage reports are necessary to determine and maintain eligibility for the following programs, but are not limited to: Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP)/Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE), Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Price Support programs, Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), and newer programs authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. Those include the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE) and Livestock Forage Program (LFP).
QUESTION: Each year crop reporting seems to get more and more detailed. My local FSA office asks for more information than the year before. What do I need to bring with me when I go to the FSA office to report my 2012 crops?
Answer: Programs administered by FSA require detailed information be provided by producers on their crop reports. The information on these reports is used to determine eligibility for some programs and to determine payments for others. So the reports are getting more detailed and county FSA offices may be required to request additional information.
To ensure the accuracy of crop report information provided by producers, each producer should bring with them their planting dates, not only for the traditional crops, but for all crops including hay and forage. If a field was planted over a number of days, the average planting date for the field will be accepted.
It is important to accurately report the number of acres in a field. If a whole field has been subdivided into more than one crop, the number of acres in each subdivision is needed. You need to certify the intended use for the crop. In other words will the crop be used for grain, silage, hay, grazing, etc.?
There always seems to be changes when it comes to my forage and pasture crops. What's the latest information? Should I be concerned about reporting these acreages?
Answer: Reporting forage crops and pastures have become more important over the last few years. All crops on the farm are used to determine overall eligibility for some programs such as SURE and LFP. So accurately reporting these crops is important.
Forage crops are more complicated, as make-up of a stand changes over time. Many seedings can be several years old. For forage crops, the legumes and/or grass mixture may need to be reported or age of stand may need reporting. The Iowa FSA state office has issued guidance to county offices regarding percent of alfalfa or other legume/grass mixtures that need to be present in the stand for producers to accurately report their crops.
The guidelines FSA uses are USDA Risk Management Agency rules. These rules specifically state an alfalfa stand can be no more than 5 years old after the year of seeding. County FSA offices have been provided this information so they can ask these questions during the acreage reporting process. Another change: for 2013, perennial forage, fall-seeded winter wheat and other fall-seeded small grains will have a December 15acreage reporting date.
QUESTION: I didn't sign up for the USDA farm program this year. Should I still certify my planted acreage?
Answer: Timely and accurate acreage reporting helps prevent loss of benefits. Not reporting your crops could affect future eligibility. Many FSA disaster programs are carried out a considerable time after the end of the crop year that was affected by the disaster. Other FSA programs, such as Conservation Reserve Program, use past cropping history to determine a producer's eligibility. Timely crop reporting is needed to establish eligibility of the crop and producer, if they are to receive benefits offered by various USDA programs.