What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15: August 1: Primary Nesting Season
July 15: Crop Certification

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP2) Re-Opening
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, enacted December 2020 requires FSA to make certain payments to producers according to a mandated formula. USDA is now expediting these provisions because there is no discretion involved in interpreting such directives, they are self-enacting.  This includes:

• An increase in CFAP 1 payment rates for cattle. Cattle producers with approved CFAP 1 applications will automatically receive these payments beginning in April. Eligible producers do not need to submit new applications, since payments are based on previously approved CFAP 1 application.  Rates are below.  Please review your payment when received to ensure an accurate calculation.

- Feeder Cattle: Less Than 600 Pounds $7.00/head
- Feeder Cattle: 600 Pounds or More $25.50/head
- Slaughter Cattle: Fed Cattle $63.00/head
- Slaughter Cattle: Mature Cattle $14.75/head
- All Other Cattle $17.25/head

• Additional CFAP assistance of $20 per acre for producers of eligible crops identified as CFAP 2 flat-rate or price-trigger crops beginning in April. This includes alfalfa, corn, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat, among other crops. FSA will automatically issue payments to eligible price trigger and flat-rate crop producers based on the eligible acres included on their CFAP 2 applications. Eligible producers do not need to submit a new CFAP 2 application.

• Applications for pullet producers.

Additional payments for swine producers and contract growers under CFAP Additional Assistance remain on hold and are likely to require modifications to the regulation as part of the broader evaluation and future assistance; however, FSA will continue to accept applications from interested producers.

If you missed the original CFAP 2 signup, you can now apply.  Signup has re-opened for at least 60 days beginning April 5.    

Mid-Contract Management (MCM) on CRP Acres
Now that temperatures are starting to feel more like spring, 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, 2021 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 please contact the NRCS office.  Any other questions can be directed to FSA. Once you complete your MCM, please 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.  

CRP Reminders
The primary nesting season runs from May 15 – August 1.  Please contact the FSA office if you need to perform spot maintenance activities on your CRP acres during this time.  Cosmetic mowing of your CRP acres is always prohibited, but you can spot treat areas that are threatened by undesirable vegetation throughout the year. A written request must be made before the County Committee grants approval to conduct maintenance during the nesting season. As a reminder, volunteer trees and woody vegetation must be controlled and removed from CRP acres. Failure to control undesirable vegetation on CRP can result in financial penalties.

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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