What's up at the FSA Office?

by Joyce Davidshofer, Allamakee County FSA Executive Director

April 15, 2014 – January 30, 2015 sign-up for the LIP/LFP/ELAP/TAP programs.
July 15, 2014 – Crop certification deadline.
2014 Acreage Reporting
In order to comply with FSA program eligibility requirements, all producers are encouraged to visit the Allamakee County FSA office to file an accurate crop certification report by the applicable deadline.
The following acreage reporting dates are applicable for Allamakee County:
December 15, 2013 – Perennial Forage, Fall-Seeded Small Grains.
July 15, 2014 – All Other Crops.
The following exceptions apply to the above acreage reporting dates:
• If the crop has not been planted by the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.
• If a producer acquires additional acreage after the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 30 calendars days after purchase or acquiring the lease. Appropriate documentation must be provided to the county office.
• If a perennial forage crop is reported with the intended use of “cover only,” “green manure,” “left standing,” or “seed,” then the acreage must be reported by July 15th.
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP covered crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar days before grazing or harvesting of the crop begins.
Producers who late-file crop acreage after December 31, 2014, for 2014 crops are subject to late-filed provisions and fees, unless other exceptions apply.
For questions regarding crop certification and crop loss reports, contact the Allamakee County FSA office at 563-568-2148.

Continuous CRP Sign-Up
Under continuous sign-up authority, environmentally sensitive land devoted to certain conservation practices can be enrolled in CRP at any time. Offers are automatically accepted provided the land and producer meet certain eligibility requirements. Unlike CRP enrollments under general sign-up authority, offers for continuous sign-up are not subject to competitive bidding.
The effective date of the CRP contract is the first day of the month following the month of approval. In certain circumstances, producers may defer the effective date for up to six months.
If the acreage is currently under CRP contract and is within one year of the scheduled expiration date, the effective date is October 1 following the expiration date.
To offer land for continuous sign-up, producers should contact the Allamakee County FSA Office.
Land must be cropland that is planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity four of the previous six crop years from 2008 to 2013, and is physically and legally capable of being planted (no planting restrictions due to an easement or other legally binding instrument) in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity.
The land must be eligible and suitable for any of the following conservation practices:
• Riparian buffers;
• Wildlife habitat buffers;
• Wetland buffers;
• Filter strips;
• Wetland restoration;
• Grass waterways;
• Shelterbelts;
• Living snow fences;
• Contour grass strips;
• Constructed wetlands;
• Restoration of aquaculture wetlands;
• Wildlife habitat restoration within approved State Areas for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) projects;
• Salt tolerant vegetation or;
• Shallow water areas for wildlife.
Land within an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-designated public wellhead area also may be eligible for enrollment on a continuous basis.
Sign up began June 9, 2014.

2013 ACRE
Participation in 2013 ACRE requires production reports for planted acres that must be submitted for the covered commodities planted on the farm by July 15, 2014.  Failure to report production for those covered commodities planted on ACRE farms may result in contract termination. If the contract is terminated, all payments, including direct payments previously received plus interest will be required to be refunded.

Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Compliance
Landowners and operators are reminded that in order to receive payments from USDA, they must be compliant with Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions. Farmers with HEL determined soils must apply tillage, crop residue and rotation requirements as specified in their conservation plan.  
Producers should notify FSA prior to conducting land clearing or drainage projects to ensure compliance. If you intend to clear any trees to create new cropland, these areas will need to be reviewed to ensure any work will not jeopardize your eligibility for benefits.
Landowners and operators can complete form AD-1026 Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification to determine whether a referral to Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is necessary.   
For more information on Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions, contact the Allamakee FSA County Office or visit the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov.  

Maintaining the Quality of Loaned Grain
Bins are ideally designed to hold a level volume of grain. When bins are overfilled and grain is heaped up, airflow is hindered and the chance of spoilage increases.
Producers who take out marketing assistance loans and use the farm-stored grain as collateral should remember that they are responsible for maintaining the quality of the grain through the term of the loan.

Unauthorized Disposition of Grain
If loan grain has been disposed of through feeding, selling or any other form of disposal without prior written authorization from the county office staff, it is considered unauthorized disposition. The financial penalties for unauthorized dispositions are severe and a producer’s name will be placed on a loan violation list for a two-year period.  Always call before you haul any grain under loan.