What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
February 26: CFAP 1 & 2 Updates
March 5: WHIP Quality Loss Adjustment
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

Enrollment Begins for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs for 2021
Agricultural producers can now make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. The signup period opened Tuesday, Oct. 13.  These key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops, and more than $5 billion in payments are in the process of going out to producers who signed up for the 2019 crop year. Enrollment for the 2021 crop year closes March 15.

2021 Elections and Enrollment
Producers can elect coverage and enroll in crop-by-crop ARC-County or PLC, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm, for the 2021 crop year. Although election changes for 2021 are optional, enrollment (signed contract) is required for each year of the program. If a producer has a multi-year contract on the farm and makes an election change for 2021, it will be necessary to sign a new contract. If an election is not submitted by the deadline of March 15, 2021, the election defaults to the current election for crops on the farm from the prior crop year. For crop years 2022 and 2023, producers will have an opportunity to make new elections during those signups. Farm owners cannot enroll in either program unless they have a share interest in the farm.  

USDA to Open General Sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program in January 2021
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the signup periods for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in 2021. Signup for general CRP will be open starting Jan. 4, 2021. This program is competitive and provides annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.

Through CRP, farmers and ranchers establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. Farmers and ranchers who participate in CRP help provide numerous benefits to the nation’s environment and economy. CRP general signup is held annually. The competitive general signup includes increased opportunities for enrollment of wildlife habitat through the State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) initiative. For more information on CRP, visit fsa.usda.gov or contact your local FSA county office.

Apply for CFAP Additional Assistance
CFAP 1: ‘Top-up’ Payments for Swine FSA is providing an additional CFAP 1 inventory payment for swine to help producers who face continuing market disruptions from changes in U.S. meat consumption due to the pandemic. Swine producers with an approved CFAP 1 application will soon automatically receive a “top-up” payment of $17 per head increasing the total CFAP1 inventory payment to $34 per head.  There is no need to reapply or contact the office to receive this payment.

Expanded Eligibility for CFAP 2: Contract producers of swine, broilers, laying hens, chicken eggs and turkeys who suffered a drop in revenue in 2020 as compared to their 2019 revenue because of the pandemic now are eligible for assistance. Producers could receive up to 80% of their revenue loss, subject to the availability of funds. Producers of pullets and turfgrass sod also now are eligible for CFAP payments. The commodities were not explicitly included in the initial CFAP 2 rule. Payments are based on eligible sales.  Producers who applied during the sign-up period that closed Dec. 11, 2020, can modify an existing CFAP 2 application between Jan. 19 and Feb. 26, 2021.

Additionally, FSA adjusted the payment calculation for certain row crops for CFAP 2, specifically those for which a producer had crop insurance coverage but not an available 2020 Actual Production History (APH) approved yield.  FSA is now using 100% of the 2019 Agriculture Risk Coverage-County Option (ARC-CO) benchmark yield to calculate payments when an APH is not available rather than 85%, which was in the original CFAP 2 calculations. This calculation change is only for producers with crop insurance but not an available 2020 Actual Production History (APH) approved yield.  Producers who applied during the sign-up period that closed Dec. 11, 2020, can modify an existing CFAP 2 application between Jan. 19 and Feb. 26, 2021.

Quality Loss Assistance Now Available for Eligible Producers Affected by 2018, 2019 Natural Disasters
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced that signup for the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) Program will begin Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Funded by the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, this new program provides assistance to producers who suffered eligible crop quality losses due to natural disasters occurring in 2018 and 2019. The deadline to apply for QLA is Friday, March 5, 2021.

Eligible Crops
Eligible crops include those for which federal crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage is available, except for grazed crops and value loss crops, such as honey, maple sap, aquaculture, floriculture, mushrooms, ginseng root, ornamental nursery, Christmas trees, and turfgrass sod. Additionally, crops that were sold or fed to livestock or that are in storage may be eligible; however, crops that were destroyed before harvest are not eligible. Crop quality losses occurring after harvest, due to deterioration in storage, or that could have been mitigated, are also not eligible. Assistance is based on a producer’s harvested affected production of an eligible crop, which must have had at least a 5% quality loss reflected through a quality discount; or for forage crops, a nutrient loss, such as total digestible nutrients.

Qualifying Disaster Events
Losses must have been a result of a qualifying disaster event (hurricane, excessive moisture, flood, qualifying drought, tornado, typhoon, volcanic activity, snowstorm, or wildfire) or related condition that occurred in calendar years 2018 and/or 2019. Assistance is available for eligible producers in counties that received a qualifying Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or Secretarial Disaster Designation because of one or more of the qualifying disaster events or related conditions. Producers in counties that did not receive a qualifying declaration or designation may still apply but must also provide supporting documentation to establish that the crop was directly affected by a qualifying disaster event.

Applying for QLA
When applying, producers are asked to provide verifiable documentation to support claims of quality loss or nutrient loss in the case of forage crops. For crops that have been sold, grading must have been completed within 30 days of harvest, and for forage crops, a laboratory analysis must have been completed within 30 days of harvest. Some acceptable forms of documentation include sales receipts from buyers, settlement sheets, truck or warehouse scale tickets, written sales contracts, similar records that represent actual and specific quality loss information, and forage tests for nutritional values.

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