|From the State Executive Director|
|Your local Farm Service Agency staff is hard at work with many deadlines approaching. As our offices continue to take phone and virtual appointments, we encourage you to prepare and complete as much business as you can during your appointment. A handful of FSA offices are open for scheduled, in-person appointments. Regardless of your office’s operating status, please call first to make an appointment.|
If you have not enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs for the 2020 crop year, please call your county office now to make an appointment before the June 30 deadline.
During your appointment, you can also complete you crop acreage reports if you haven’t already. Deadlines vary by crop and by county.Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) closes Aug. 28, 2020. Producers can visit farmers.gov/cfap to use the CFAP payment calculator to populate the application form or to download the application form to complete manually. Additionally, FSA is now accepting CFAP applications through an online portal. Through the portal, producers with secure USDA login credentials—known as eAuthentication—can certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to your county office. A CFAP Call Center is available for producers who would like additional one-on-one support with the application process. Please call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance.
Eligible producers can also enroll in the Wildfire and Hurricanes Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+), which helps producers recover from losses related to 2018 and 2019 natural disasters. Producers can apply for eligible losses of drought (D3 or above) and excess moisture. Assistance is also available to sugar beet producers.You can find contact information for your local FSA office at farmers.gov/service-center-locator.
Gary L. Six
State Executive Director
Farm Service Agency – Texas
|USDA Adds Digital Options for Farmers and Ranchers to Apply for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program|
USDA’s Farm Service Agency will now accept applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) through an online portal, expanding the options available to producers to apply for this program, which helps offset price declines and additional marketing costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. FSA is also leveraging commercial document storage and e-signature solutions to enable producers to work with local service center staff to complete their applications from home.
Through the portal, producers with secure USDA login credentials—known as eAuthentication—can certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center. Producers who do not have an eAuthentication account can learn more and begin the enrollment process at farmers.gov/sign-in. Currently, the digital application is only available to sole proprietors or single-member business entities.
USDA Service Centers can also work with producers to complete and securely transmit digitally signed applications through two commercially available tools: Box and OneSpan. Producers who are interested in digitally signing their applications should notify their local service centers when calling to discuss the CFAP application process. You can learn more about these solutions at farmers.gov/mydocs.
USDA has several other options for producers to complete and submit their CFAP applications. These include:
Downloading the AD-3114 application form from farmers.gov/cfap and manually completing the form to submit to the local USDA Service Center by mail, electronically or by hand delivery to an office drop box. In some limited cases, the office may be open for in-person business by appointment. Visit farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status to check the status of your local office.
Completing the application form using our CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator found at farmers.gov/cfap. This Excel workbook allows customers to input information specific to their operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form, which can be printed, and then signed and submitted to their local USDA Service Center.
Getting Help from FSA
New customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer general assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.
All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap. For existing FSA customers, these documents are likely already on file.
Producers self-certify their records when applying for CFAP, and that documentation is not submitted with the application. However, producers may be asked for their documentation to support the certification of eligible commodities, so they should retain the information used to complete their application.
To find the latest information on CFAP, visit farmers.gov/cfap or call 877-508-8364.
June 30 Last Day to Complete Enrollment for 2020 Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage Programs
Agricultural producers who have not yet enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2020 must do so by June 30. Although program elections for the 2020 crop year remain the same as elections made for 2019, all producers need to contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to sign a 2020 enrollment contract.
To date, more than 1.4 million ARC and PLC contracts have been signed for the 2020 crop year. This represents 89 percent of expected enrollment. FSA will send reminder postcards to producers who, according to agency records, have not yet submitted signed contracts for ARC or PLC for the 2020 crop year.
Producers who do not complete enrollment by close of business local time on Tuesday, June 30 will not be enrolled in ARC or PLC for the 2020 crop year and will be ineligible to receive a payment should one trigger for an eligible crop.ARC and PLC contracts can be mailed or emailed to producers for signature depending on producer preference. Signed contracts can be mailed or emailed back to FSA or, arrangements can be made in advance with FSA to drop off signed contracts at the FSA county office – call ahead for local drop off and other options available for submitting signed contracts electronically.
Producers are eligible to enroll on farms with base acres for the following commodities: barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium- and short-grain rice, safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.
For more information on ARC and PLC including web-based decision tools, visit farmers.gov/arc-plc.
USDA Service Centers, including FSA county offices, are open for business by phone only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.
USDA Dairy Safety-Net Program Signup to Begin October 12 for the 2021 Coverage Period
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announces that Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) safety-net signup for 2021 coverage will begin October 12 and will run through December 11, 2020. DMC has already triggered payments for two months for producers who signed up for 2020 coverage.
The April 2020 income over feed cost margin was $6.03 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the second payment of 2020 for dairy producers who purchased the appropriate level of coverage under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program. The April margin reflects a more than a $3 drop from the March $9.15 cwt. income over feed cost margin.
As of June 15, FSA has issued more than $100 million in much-needed program benefits to dairy producers who purchased DMC coverage for 2020. Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. Over 13,000 operations enrolled in the program for the 2020 calendar year.
ARC/PLC Acreage Maintenance
Producers enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs must protect all cropland and noncropland acres on the farm from wind and water erosion and noxious weeds. Producers who sign ARC county or individual contracts and PLC contracts agree to effectively control noxious weeds on the farm according to sound agricultural practices. If a producer fails to take necessary actions to correct a maintenance problem on a farm that is enrolled in ARC or PLC, the County Committee may elect to terminate the contract for the program year.
Producers are Encouraged to Report Prevented Planting and Failed Acres
USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers to report prevented planting and failed acres in order to establish or retain FSA program eligibility for some programs.Producers should report crop acreage they intended to plant, but due to natural disaster, were prevented from planting. Prevented planting 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 Risk Management Agency (RMA).
Contact your local FSA office for a list of final planting dates by crop.If a producer is unable to report the prevented planting acreage within the 15 calendar days following the final planting date, a late-filed report can be submitted. Late-filed reports will only be accepted if FSA conducts a farm visit to assess the eligible disaster condition that prevented the crop from being planted. A measurement service fee will be charged.
Additionally, producers with failed acres should also use form CCC-576, Notice of Loss, to report failed acres.
Producers of hand-harvested crops and certain perishables must notify FSA of damage or loss through the administrative County Office within 72 hours of the date of damage or loss first becomes apparent. This notification can be provided by filing a CCC-576, email, fax or phone. Producers who notify the County Office by any method other than by filing the CCC-576 are still required to file a CCC-576, Notice of Loss, within the required 15 calendar days.
For losses on crops covered by the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), producers must file a Notice of Loss within 15 days of the occurrence of the disaster or when losses become apparent. Producers must timely file a Notice of Loss for failed acres on all crops including grasses.
CRP Continuous Enrollment Period
The Farm Service Agency is accepting offers for specific conservation practices under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Continuous Signup.
CRP is a voluntary program that contracts with agricultural producers so that environmentally sensitive agricultural land is devoted to conservation benefits. CRP participants establish long-term, resource-conserving vegetative species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”), to control soil erosion, improve the water quality and enhance wildlife habitat. In return, FSA provides participants with annual rental payments and cost-share assistance. Continuous signup enrollment contracts are 10 to 15 years in duration.
Under continuous CRP signup, environmentally sensitive land devoted to certain conservation practices can be enrolled in CRP at any time. Offers are automatically accepted provided the land and producer meet certain eligibility requirements and the enrollment levels do not exceed the statutory cap.
Unlike CRP enrollments under general CRP signups or CRP Grasslands, offers for continuous enrollment are not subject to competitive bidding during specific periods.For more information, including a list of acceptable practices, visit fsa.usda.gov/crp.
Transitioning Expiring CRP Land to Beginning, Veteran or Underserved Farmers and Ranchers
CRP contract holders are encouraged to transition their Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres to beginning, veteran or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers through the Transition Incentives Program (TIP). TIP provides annual rental payments to the landowner or operator for up to two additional years after the CRP contract expires, provided the transition is not to a family member.
Enrollment in TIP is on a continuous basis through 2023 or until the new statutory limit of $50 million under the 2018 Farm Bill is reached.CRP contract holders no longer need to be a retired or retiring owner or operator to transition their land. TIP participants must agree to sell, have a contract to sell, or agree to lease long term (at least five years) land enrolled in an expiring CRP contract to a beginning, veteran, or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher who is not a family member.
Beginning, veteran or social disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and CRP participants may enroll in TIP beginning two years before the expiration date of the CRP contract. For example, if a CRP contract is scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2022, the land may be offered for enrollment in TIP from October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2022. The TIP application must be submitted prior to completing the lease or sale of the affected lands.
New landowners or renters that return the land to production must use sustainable grazing or farming methods.For more information on TIP, visit https://www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation.