What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15 - August 1: CRP Primary Nesting Season
June 19 - August 1: Nomination Period for COC Election in LAA
June 19: Office Closed – Juneteenth Observance
July 4: Office Closed – Independence Day
July 12: End of July Continuous CRP Batching Period
July 15: Certification/Acreage Reporting Deadline for FY24

USDA Reminds Producers to Complete Crop Acreage Reports
Waukon, June 13, 2024 – Agricultural producers who have not yet completed their crop acreage reports after spring planting should make an appointment with the Allamakee Farm Service Agency (FSA) before the applicable deadline. “In order to comply with USDA program eligibility requirements, all producers must file an accurate crop acreage report by the applicable deadline,” said CED Rachel Pufahl, FSA’s County Executive Director in Allamakee County. “Once planting is complete, please call our office to make an appointment to report your acreage.” An acreage report documents a crop grown on a farm or ranch, its intended use and location. Filing an accurate and timely acreage report for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage and prevented planted acreage, can prevent the loss of benefits.

How to File a Report
The following acreage reporting dates are applicable in Allamakee County:
- July 15, 2024 All crops including perennial forages
- December 16, 2024 Fall-seeded small grains
To file a crop acreage report, producers need to provide:
• Crop and crop type or variety
• Intended crop use
• Number of crop acres
• Map with approximate crop boundaries
• Planting date(s)
• Planting pattern, when applicable
• Producer shares
• Irrigation practice(s)
• Acreage prevented from planting, when applicable
• Other required information

Acreage Reporting Details
The following exceptions apply to acreage reporting dates:
• If the crop has not been planted by the acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.
• If a producer acquires additional acreage after the acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 30 calendar days after purchase or acquiring the lease. Appropriate documentation must be provided to the county office.
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP-covered crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar days before grazing or crop harvesting begins.

Prevented Planted Acreage
Producers should also report crop acreage they intended to plant but were unable to because of a natural disaster, including drought. Prevented planted acreage must be reported on form CCC-576, Notice of Loss, no later than 15 calendar days after the final planting date as established by FSA and USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA).

FSA recently updated policy that applies to prevented planted acreage due to drought. To certify prevented planted acreage due to drought, all of the following must apply:
• The area that is prevented from being planted has insufficient soil moisture for seed germination on the final planting date for non-irrigated acreage.
• Prolonged precipitation deficiencies that meet the D3 or D4 drought intensity level as determined by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
• Verifiable information must be collected from sources whose business or purpose is recording weather conditions as determined by FSA.

Continuous Certification Option for Perennial Forage
Agricultural producers with perennial forage crops have the option to report their acreage once, without having to report that acreage in subsequent years, as long as there are no applicable changes on the farm. Interested producers can select the continuous certification option after FSA certifies their acreage report. Examples of perennial forage include mixed forage, birdsfoot trefoil, chicory/radicchio, kochia (prostrata), lespedeza, perennial peanuts, and perennial grass varieties. Once the continuous certification option is selected, the certified acreage will roll forward annually with no additional action required by the producer in subsequent years unless the acreage report changes. For questions, contact the Allamakee County FSA office at (563) 568-2148

Nominations are being accepted for the Allamakee County COC
The 2024 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Committee election season is officially underway. Do you know an agricultural producer interested in serving on a local FSA County Committee? Now is the time to submit that person’s name as a nominee. FSA county committees are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA and allow grassroots input and local administration of federal farm programs. Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated members of the agricultural community have been elected by their peers to serve on FSA county committees. The committees are made up of three to 11 members who serve three-year terms. Nowhere else in the federal government do citizen stakeholders play such a substantial and meaningful role in the delivery of federal programs.

Annual elections are held in Local Administrative Areas (LAA). LAAs are elective areas for FSA committees within a single county or multi-county jurisdiction. In Allamakee County LAA3 is up for election this year, which includes the Townships of: Iowa, Lansing, Center, Lafayette, Paint Creek and Taylor. If you participate or cooperate in an FSA program, reside within this LAA that is up for election, and are of legal voting age you can be a candidate. From June 17 to Aug. 1, 2024, individuals can nominate themselves or others as a candidate. Additionally, Tribal Nations and organizations representing underserved (minority and women) farmers or ranchers are encouraged to nominate candidates. Customers can identify which LAA they or their agricultural operation is in by using our GIS locator tool available at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections.

Participation in FSA’s election process is an important part of the county election system - a system that serves all agricultural producers. Nomination forms are available on our website or from the FSA county office. Forms must be postmarked or delivered to the FSA office by Aug. 1, 2024. Voting takes place this fall, and new members and alternates will take office on Jan. 1, 2025. To submit a nomination, reach out to the Allamakee FSA staff at 563-568-2148 option 2. Thank you in advance for helping us ensure FSA county committees reflect the diversity of American Agriculture and the producers they are elected to serve.

USDA Now Accepting Applications for Available Funds to Help Cover Organic Certification Costs
Through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP), USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will cover up to 75% of organic certification costs at a maximum of $750 per certification category. FSA is now accepting applications, and organic producers and handlers should apply for OCCSP by the Oct. 31, 2024, deadline for eligible expenses incurred from Oct. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2024. FSA will issue payments as applications are received and approved.

“Costs associated with obtaining organic certification can be a barrier for Iowa producers wanting to get certified,” said Matt Russell, FSA State Executive Director in Iowa. “Through OCCSP assistance, FSA helps Iowa organic producers obtain certification and leverage related benefits like premium prices for commodities and access to broader markets and additional technical assistance.” OCCSP was part of a broader organic announcement made by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on May 15, 2024, which also included the Organic Market Development Grant program and Organic Transition Initiative.    

Eligible Applicants, Expenses and Categories
OCCSP provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of organic agricultural commodities for expenses incurred obtaining or maintaining organic certification under USDA’s National Organic Program.  Eligible OCCSP applicants include any certified organic producers or handlers who have paid organic certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent. Cost share assistance covers expenses including application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement and arrangement requirements, inspector travel expenses, user fees, sales assessments, and postage. OCCSP pays a maximum of $750 per certification category for crops, wild crops, livestock, processing/handling, and state organic program fees (California only).

How to Apply
To apply, producers and handlers should contact FSA at their local USDA Service Center and be prepared to provide documentation of organic certification and eligible expenses. OCCSP applications can also be submitted through participating state departments of agriculture.  For more information, visit the OCCSP webpage or call your local FSA office.