What's Up at the FSA Office?

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

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
January 1: Closed in observance of New Year’s Holiday
January 8: ARCPLC Farm Bill Meeting
February 28: CRP General Signup
March 15: 2019 ARCPLC Election
June 30: 2020 ARCPLC Election
September 30: PLC Yield Update

USDA Safety Net Program Enrollment Opens for 2019 and 2020
Agricultural producers now can enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs – two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety net programs – for the 2019 and 2020 crop year.

ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guaranteed level. PLC provides income support payments on historical base acres when the effective price for a covered commodity falls below its reference price. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized and updated both programs.

Signup for the 2019 crop year closes March 15, 2020, while signup for the 2020 crop year closes June 30, 2020. Producers who have not yet enrolled for 2019 can enroll for both 2019 and 2020 during the same visit to an FSA county office. 

ARC and PLC have options for the farm operator who is actively farming the land as well as the owner of the land. Farm owners also have a one-time opportunity to update PLC payment yields beginning with crop year 2020. If the farm owner and producer visit the FSA county office together, FSA can also update yield information during that visit. 

Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium and short grain rice, safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.

Allamakee County FSA to Host Public Meeting for the 2019/2020 Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs
Allamakee County FSA staff will hold a Farm Bill Decision meeting on January 8th in the basement meeting room at the Farmers and Merchants Savings Bank in Waukon. The meeting begins at 1 p.m. and should last approximately an hour. Staff will cover the program rules and regulations, the ARC or PLC decision, and updating PLC yields. We’d encourage you to attend and get some good information before signing up for the program. 

Signup for the 2019 crop year closes March 15, 2020 while signup for the 2020 crop year closes June 30, 2020. Producers can enroll for both 2019 and 2020 during the same visit to an FSA county office. Yield updates must be completed by September 30, 2020.

Maintaining the Quality of Farm-Stored Loan 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.

USDA Opens Signup for CRP General Signup through February 28
Land that is not currently enrolled in CRP may be offered for enrollment during the 54th CRP general enrollment period. In addition, CRP producers whose CRP contracts expired on September 30, 2017, September 30, 2018, September 30, 2019 or are expiring on September 30, 2020, including acres expiring from certain State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) practices and the Highly Erodible Lands Initiative (HELI) contracts may submit offers. To submit CRP offers, producers must visit their local FSA office. FSA will accept offers only during the enrollment period.

To be eligible for the CRP general enrollment period, land must be cropland (including field margins) that is planted, or considered planted, to an agricultural commodity four of the six crop years from 2012 to 2017, and be 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.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) will rank offers for the CRP general enrollment period according to the Environmental Benefits Index (EBI). FSA collects data (primarily based on location, soils information and selected conservation practice) and determines the environmental indices for the land offered. FSA ranks each eligible offer in comparison to all other offers and selects from that ranking. After the enrollment period ends, the Secretary of Agriculture will decide where to make the EBI cutoff. Those who have met previous EBI thresholds are not guaranteed a contract under this enrollment period.

USDA Opens Signup for CRP Continuous Signup
In addition to the general signup, USDA is accepting offers for specific conservation practices under the CRP Continuous Signup. CRP participants establish long-term, resource-conserving vegetative species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”), to control soil erosion, improve the water quality and enhance wildlife habitat. In return, FSA provides participants with annual rental payments and cost-share assistance. Continuous signup enrollment contracts are 10 to 15 years in duration.

Land must be cropland that is planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity four of the six crop years from 2012 to 2017 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. Certain marginal pastureland that may be devoted to riparian buffers, wildlife habitat buffers, or wetland buffers is also eligible.

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