What's Up at the FSA Office?

by Jeremy Leitz, Allamakee County Executive Director (563) 568-2148

Mid-Contract Management (MCM) on CRP Acres
As we start to see warmer temps and melting snow, please start thinking about your MCM, if you are scheduled for this year. Those that are scheduled for this year would have received a packet from our office this past fall detailing what needs to be done. You do have until May 14, 2019 to complete the work, but now is a good time to start lining up contractors if you haven’t already done so, buy seed if needed, and get equipment ready. If you have technical questions, need a seeding plan, or contractor list contact the NRCS office. Any other questions can be directed to FSA.

Once you complete your MCM, notify the FSA office, sign the FSA-848B form, and provide acceptable evidence of practice completion to determine proper cost share payment.

No MCM can be performed during the CRP nesting or brood rearing season of May 15 – August 1. Participants with maintenance issues that require attention prior to the end of nesting season must contact the county FSA office for permission prior to performing any spot spraying or spot mowing on CRP acres. Failure to contact the county FSA office prior to any maintenance on CRP acres during nesting season may result in payment reductions or possible contract termination.

Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC)
Due to the topography of Allamakee County, many farms have highly erodible land. These fields must be following conservation plans that are established by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). If you are not following your soil saving plan, you may be in violation of the HELC provisions.

Violations could have fines up to $10,000 per farm and prevent you from obtaining all government payments. We encourage you to be cautious when developing your tillage plans for the upcoming crop year. If you haven’t reviewed your conservation plan in a while, it’s time to do so. Stop by your local  USDA Service Center to review plans on all the land you operate. 

Breaking New Ground
Agricultural producers are reminded to consult with FSA and NRCS before breaking out new ground for production purposes as doing so without prior authorization may put a producer’s federal farm program benefits in jeopardy. This is especially true for land that must meet Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions.

Producers with HEL determined soils are required to apply tillage, crop residue and rotational requirements as specified in their conservation plan. 

Producers should notify FSA as a first point of contact prior to conducting land clearing or drainage type projects to ensure the proposed actions meet compliance criteria such as clearing any trees to create new cropland, then these areas will need to be reviewed to ensure such work will not risk your eligibility for benefits.

Landowners and operators complete the form AD-1026 - Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification to identify the proposed action and allow FSA to determine whether a referral to Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for further review is necessary.  

Marketing Loans - Reminder
Grain that is under loan, or “sealed” as many producers call it, must be repaid or released for sale prior to moving the bushels out of storage for sale or feed use. Unauthorized disposition results in possible penalties and administrative actions. Remember to “call before you haul” and we can discuss your options and forms that you may need to sign.  Phone the FSA office at (563) 568-2148.

Dairy Margin Coverage Program
Though we don’t have an official signup date, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture recently said that the newly created Dairy Margin Coverage Program will be available mid-June, with potential payments going out in July. Again, we don’t have an official signup date yet, but it appears we are getting closer to one. This program replaces the former Margin Protection Program.

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