FAQ: With high crop prices I'll bring some new acres into corn and soybean production in 2011. Will that affect eligibility for USDA farm program benefits? Is there any other information I need to report to my FSA office this winter?
Answer: Provided by Beth Grabau, public relations and outreach specialist for USDA Farm Service Agency's state office in Des Moines.
With high corn and soybean prices, many farmers will bring new acres into row crop production in 2011. That can affect your eligibility for USDA farm program benefits and you need to talk to your county FSA office staff now, before you bring the new acres into production. Bringing some new land into production could cause producers to violate Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetland provisions as set by the 2008 Farm Bill. These violations carry heavy penalties and potential ineligibility for farm programs.
Question: What other information do I need to report to my local FSA office for 2011 or talk to them about?
If you haven't signed up for the Direct & Countercyclical Payment program and the Average Crop Revenue Election yet this year, you need to do so to stay eligible. Sign-up deadline for DCP/ACRE is June 1, 2011 but you are encouraged to do it now. The spring planting season will soon be here, so signing-up now will ease potentially long wait times and scheduling conflicts that arise as the June 1 deadline approaches.
Also, now is the time to check with your county FSA office to see if you have all your paperwork in order and the proper forms filled out. Always, when in doubt, call your local FSA office for guidance.
Question: We have some land we decided to not re-enroll into CRP during the last general sign-up and also some land that was not accepted into CRP. What do we need to do to bring this land back into row crop production?
Generally, fields that were enrolled into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) during a general sign up are highly erodible. These fields require that an approved conservation system be applied before bringing this land back into production. Farmers should review the HEL determination and review their conservation system with the local NRCS office. Remember, violation of conservation compliance regulations can result in a penalty and in some cases ineligibility of USDA farm program benefits.
Before making the decision about enrolling or re-enrolling land into CRP, review your conservation system and soil types. You may be able to use CRP to isolate problem areas on your farm and reduce your risk for conservation compliance related issues.
Question: I always feel like I'm forgetting something when it comes to my FSA farm program requirements. What other things do I have to remember to do or to ask about at the FSA office this winter?
Changes occur frequently to FSA programs as well as new farm programs being enacted into law throughout the year. Your local FSA staff works hard to ensure you have all needed forms on file or that you are notified when additional forms and/or documentation is needed.
Annually, farmers have eligibility forms that need to be properly filled out and updated before payments can be issued, as well as reporting requirements throughout the year. Farmers need to report acres and for some programs production evidence as well. Disaster programs now require that producers insure all crops of economic significance. Keep in mind you may need to insure a crop and that crop may have an insurance deadline different from your major crops.
If you have specific questions or need details regarding USDA farm programs, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency office. You can also get news and information about DCP, ACRE and other USDA programs at www.fsa.usda.gov.
Two Iowa State University Extension Web sites have farm program information and analysis. They are ISU's Ag Decision Maker site at www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm and ISU Extension Specialist Steve Johnson's site at www.extension.iastate.edu/polk/farmmanagement.htm. And be sure to read the regular column "Frequently Asked Questions about the Farm Program" that appears in each issue of Wallaces Farmer magazine and at www.WallacesFarmer.com
Two Iowa State University Extension Web sites have farm program information and analysis. They are ISU's Ag Decision Maker site at www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm and ISU Extension Specialist Steve Johnson's site at www.extension.iastate.edu/polk/farmmanagement.htm.
And be sure to read the regular column "Frequently Asked Questions about the Farm Program" that appears in each issue of Wallaces Farmer magazine and at www.WallacesFarmer.com