What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
November 1: Organic Certification Cost-Share and Transition/Education Certification Program
December 4: Last Day to Return COC Ballots
December 15: Crop Reporting for Fall-Seeded Small Grains
January 31: Livestock Forage Program (LFP)

Farmers.gov - Your online hub for conducting business with USDA
Farmers.gov gives you one place to do business with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), including accessing your farm records, maps, and common land units. You can create a farmers.gov account for the farmers.gov authenticated site, where you can access self-service features through a secure login.

In addition to the self-service features farmers.gov website also has information on USDA programs, farm loans, disaster assistance, conservation programs and crop insurance.
What can you do with your farmers.gov account?
• View FSA Farm loans including loan information, interest payments, loan advance and payment history, paid-in-full restructured loans, and account alerts.
• View NRCS Disbursements and Farm Loans financial activity from the past 180 days.
• View, print and export detailed farm records and farm/tract maps.
• Export common land unit (field) boundaries as ESRI and GeoJSON file types.
• Import precision agriculture planting boundaries, create labels containing crop information, and print both on farm tract maps.
• Use the draw tools to determine acres in an area of interest that can be printed on a map and provided to a third party or exported as a feature file for use in other geospatial applications.
• View, upload, download and e-sign NRCS documents.
• Request conservation and financial assistance, including submitting a program application.
• Access information on current and past conservation practices, report practice completion and request practice certification
• View detailed information on previous and ongoing contracts, including the amount of cost- share assistance received and request contract modifications.

How to create a farmers.gov account?
To create a farmers.gov account you will need:
• A USDA individual customer record - A customer record contains information you have given to USDA to do business with them, like your name, address, phone number, and any legal representative authority relationships.
• A login.gov account – Login.gov is a sign-in service that gives people secure online access to participating government programs.

USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program Pays More Than $1.77 Billion to America’s Producers in  Support of Conservation and Climate-Smart Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued more than $1.77 billion this year to agricultural producers and landowners through its Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a critical piece of the Department’s efforts to support climate-smart agriculture and forestry on working lands. Right now, CRP’s more than 667,000 participants received payments from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) for their voluntary conservation efforts on more than 23 million acres of private land. Since 2021, CRP has grown by 21 percent in terms of acres enrolled, testament to the Biden-Harris administration’s program improvement efforts.

“Through the addition of tools to sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better quantify these efforts, while also bringing into the fold more Tribes and underserved producers, we’ve made the Conservation Reserve Program better for our nation’s natural resources and for our agricultural producers and landowners,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These producers and landowners voluntarily place their land under contract and, in the spirit of stewardship, agree to establish and maintain prescribed conservation practices for the life of contract. We’re grateful to all CRP participants who are making a tremendous difference by proactively addressing climate change and conserving natural resources now and for future generations.”

Top five states for CRP participant payments:
• Iowa, $402,508,900
• Illinois, $172,723,800
• Minnesota, $150,773,400
• South Dakota, $129,545,200
• Missouri, $99,849,600

FSA’s conservation programs had a strong showing in 2023. FSA partnered with producers and landowners to enroll 3.9 million CRP this year – including 927,000 enrolled acres through General CRP, 2.3 million acres enrolled in Grassland CRP and 694,000 acres enrolled in Continuous CRP. These results underscore the continued importance of CRP as a tool to help producers invest in the long-term health, sustainability, and profitability of their land and natural resources.

Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP)
For 2023, OCCSP will reimburse up to $750 of a certified operation’s allowable certification per scope.  Scopes include crops, wild crops, livestock, processing/handling, and state organic program fees.  The 2023 program year covers expenses paid between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023.

Eligible costs include application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement/arrangement requirements, travel/per diem for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments, and postage.  

CRP Reminders
The primary nesting season ended August 1, so contract-holders can complete and maintenance on CRP without prior approval from their FSA office.  Please remember that cosmetic mowing of your CRP acres is always prohibited, as are the establishment of trails through your acres.  Temporary deer stands are only allowed during the hunting season and must be removed immediately once the season is over.  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.