What's Up at the FSA Office?

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

Upcoming Deadlines and Important Dates
May 15 - August 1: Primary Nesting Season.  No MCM activities on CRP acres.

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. Routinely monitor the quality of this grain. Changes in weather, frequent rains, wind, temperature fluctuations can cause grain quality to decrease. It’s important that sealed grain maintain its quality.

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 at the USDA Service Center to review plans on all the land you operate. 

Mid-Contract Management (MCM) on CRP Acres
Now that temperatures are starting to feel more like spring, and the snow is really starting to melt, 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 (receipts, invoices, etc.) of practice completion to determine proper cost share payment. 

Program Signups
Dairy - No official date set, but we have heard that signup for the Dairy Margin Coverage program will occur sometime in June.
CRP - Possible general CRP signup in December.  No official date provided yet.  No word on a Continuous CRP signup.
ARC/PLC - No official date set, but preliminary dates are in September or October.

One of the best ways to stay up-to-date on program signups is to register for text alerts from our office. All you need to do is text IAAllamakee to 372669. We send no more than two texts per month, and they will center around program signups and deadlines. We encourage everyone to sign up to receive these from our (or your local) office. Standard data and message rates apply.

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.

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