What's up at the FSA Office?

by Joyce Davidshofer, Allmamakee County Executive Director

April 15, 2014 – January 30, 2015: Sign-up for the LIP/LFP/ELAP/TAP programs.
June 9, 2014 – September 30, 2014: Continuous CRP Sign-up 46. No general CRP sign-up for 2014.
July 15, 2014: Crop certification deadline.
Allamakee County Executive Director Joyce Davidshofer will be on KNEI radio at 9 a.m. every Wednesday to update producers on programs and deadlines.
Farm Reconstitutions
When changes in farm ownership or operation take place, a farm reconstitution is necessary. The reconstitution — or recon — is the process of combining or dividing farms or tracts of land based on the farming operation.
The following are the different methods used when doing a farm recon.
Estate Method — the division of bases, allotments and quotas for a parent farm among heirs in settling an estate;
Designation of Landowner Method — may be used when (1) part of a farm is sold or ownership is transferred; (2) an entire farm is sold to two or more persons; (3) farm ownership is transferred to two or more persons; (4) part of a tract is sold or ownership is transferred; (5) a tract is sold to two or more persons; or (6) tract ownership is transferred to two or more persons. In order to use this method the land sold must have been owned for at least three years, or a waiver granted, and the buyer and seller must sign a Memorandum of Understanding;
DCP Cropland Method — the division of bases in the same proportion that the DCP cropland for each resulting tract relates to the DCP cropland on the parent tract;
Default Method — the division of bases for a parent farm with each tract maintaining the bases attributed to the tract level when the reconstitution is initiated in the system.

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 – September 30, 2014 for Sign-up 46.
1. TIP – CRP – June 9th, 2014 – before September 30, 2014 – Iowa has $935,000 for allocation. Landowners retiring and CRP is expiring can rent the farm to a beginning farmer or veteran and receive up to two years of CRP payments. Contact the Allamakee County FSA Office for more details.
2. CRP 1-year extensions – June 9th – August 8, 2014. Not for 15-year contracts. CRP producers should have received a letter from Kansas City in regards to their CRP contract expiring 10/1/2014. There is an option to extend the contract for one year for the same rental rate. You may modify the acres to fewer acres, but cannot increase acres for this one year. Contact the Allamakee County FSA Office for more details.

Bank Account Changes
Current policy mandates that FSA payments be electronically transferred into a bank account. In order for timely payments to be made, producers need to notify the FSA county office when an account has been changed or if another financial institution purchases the bank where payments are sent. Payments can be delayed if the FSA office is not aware of updates to bank accounts and routing numbers.

FSA Signature Policy
Using the correct signature when doing business with FSA can save time and prevent a delay in program benefits. The following are FSA signature guidelines:
• Spouses may sign documents on behalf of each other for FSA and CCC programs in which either has an interest, unless written notification denying a spouse this authority has been provided to the county office.
• Spouses shall not sign on behalf of each other as an authorized signatory for partnerships, joint ventures, corporations, or other similar entities.
For additional clarification on proper signatures contact the Allamakee County FSA office.