What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15-August 1: Primary Nesting Season
May 31: Office closed in observance of Memorial Day
June 15: COC Election Ballots Mailed to Producers in LAA 3
July 15: Crop Certification

2021 Crop Certification
The on-going COVID-19 situation has certainly changed the way we operate at the office. We are doing much more through phone, email, and fax. Like last year, we mailed each producer a set of their maps along with instructions on how to complete them, and when to return them by.  Please review the instructions before beginning to mark up your maps.  Review the map to make sure you have a crop indicated for each field.  Include planting dates for corn, beans, and any other seedings. Be sure to indicate shares of the crop as well. The included instructions provide more detail as what is needed to accurately complete the certification. We’re asking that all maps be returned to us by June 11, providing us ample time to get them loaded and ready for you to review and sign. Be sure to drop them off sooner if you are done planting. We can have two producers in the office at a time, so there is a chance we can work with you directly to complete this, but be prepared to drop off your maps and return at a later date to sign.  Email is another option if that is preferrable.

County Committee (COC) Election
It’s that time of year when FSA begins the process of the county committee election.  This year the election will be for LAA -3, which includes Center, Iowa, LaFayette, Lansing, Paint Creek, and Taylor townships.  Essentially the NE portion of the county. The nomination period begins June 15 and runs through August 2.  You can nominate yourself or someone else by completing the appropriate form at our office or download it online. Once nominations are finalized, producers who reside in LAA-3 will cast ballots which will be mailed to you on November 1. These ballots are due back to the FSA office by Dec. 6.  The elected member will take office on January 1.  We’ll be getting more information out, posting flyers around town, and folks in these townships will be getting a postcard in June.  

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.

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.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP2) Re-Opening
USDA recently issued CFAP-Top Up payments based on either the CFAP 1 or CFAP 2 program.  Those payments have gone out during these past two weeks.  You will get a statement in the mail.  Please review that statement, and if you have questions on how the payments were calculated, please contact our office.  

• CFAP 1 Top-Up payments were issued for cattle producers with approved CFAP 1 applications 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

• CFAP 2 Top-Up payments were issued to eligible producers based on their previous CFAP 2 application.  The paid rate was $20 per acre of eligible crop. These include alfalfa, corn, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat, among other crops. Eligible producers do not need to submit a new CFAP 2 application.

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

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.