What's Up at the FSA Office?

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

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
February 17: Office closed in observance of Washington’s Birthday
February 28: CRP General Signup
March 15: 2019 ARCPLC Election
June 30: 2020 ARCPLC Election
September 30: PLC Yield Update

Stop in soon to sign up for the 2019 and 2020 ARCPLC Program
Producers now can enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) 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. 

Update Your PLC Yields
Farm owners 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. 

The update is effective for 2020 forward, and for corn and beans is equal to 81% of your 2013-2017 average.  We have your current yields in our office along with what you would need to average to increase your yields. So while you’re in signing up for the ARCPLC program, we can provide you with this information. You can then visit with your crop insurance agent to see if it’s possible to update your yields. The deadline to update is September 30.

Actively Engaged Provisions for Non-Family Joint Operations or Entities
Many Farm Service Agency programs require all program participants, either individuals or legal entities, to be “actively engaged in farming.” This means participants provide a significant contribution to the farming operation, whether it is capital, land, equipment, active personal labor and/or management. For entities, each partner, stockholder or member with an ownership interest, must contribute active personal labor and/or management to the operation on a regular basis that is identifiable and documentable as well as separate and distinct from contributions of any other member. Members of joint operations must have a share of the profits or losses from the farming operation commensurate with the member’s contributions to the operation and must make contributions to the farming operation that are at risk for a loss, with the level of risk being commensurate with the member’s claimed share on the farming operation.

Joint operations comprised of non-family members or partners, stockholders or persons with an ownership in the farming operation must meet additional payment eligibility provisions. Joint operations comprised of family members are exempt from these additional requirements. For 2016 and subsequent crop years, non-family joint operations can have one member that may use a significant contribution of active personal management exclusively to meet the requirements to be determined “actively engaged in farming.” The person or member will be defined as the farm manager for the purposes of administering these management provisions.

Non-family joint operations may request to add up to two additional managers for their farming operation based on the size and/or complexity of the operation. If additional farm managers are requested and approved, all members who contribute management are required to complete form CCC-902MR, Management Activity Record. The farm manager should use the form to record management activities including capital, labor and agronomics, which includes crop selection, planting decisions, acquisition of inputs, crop management and marketing decisions. One form should be used for each month and the farm manager should enter the number of hours of time spent for each activity under the date of the month the actions were completed. The farm manager must also document if each management activity was completed on the farm or remotely.

The records and supporting business documentation must be maintained and timely made available for review by the appropriate FSA reviewing authority, if requested.

If the farm manager fails to meet these requirements, their contribution of active personal management to the farming operation for payment eligibility purposes will be disregarded and their payment eligibility status will be re-determined for the applicable program year.

In some instances, additional persons or members of a non-family member joint operation who meet the definition of farm manager may also be allowed to use such a contribution of active personal management to meet the eligibility requirements. However, under no circumstances may the number of farm managers in a non-family joint operation exceed a total of three in any given crop and program year.

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.

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