Ask FSA Andy: Sometimes USDA wheels turn exceedingly slow

Hello Again.

“Hurry up and wait.” I can still remember my dad, a World War II Navy veteran, mumbling that phrase whenever he was dealing with government entities.

It seems that has always been a common phrase for all branches of the military. A rush to get something accomplished, and then a lull until you can begin the next step in the process.

I am sure those of you who have dealt with the Farm Service Agency have felt this at times, too. We rush you in by a certain deadline to get an application or a report on file, and then you wait for approvals and the application process to play out.

While your local FSA office does its best to timely process your application, sometimes we are in the same waiting boat. And that can be frustrating for your FSA staff as well.

The notion of “hurry up and wait” even gets twisted around on occasion. Take, for example, the new 2009 Crop Assistance Program recently passed by Congress.

The 2009 Crop Assistance Program provides assistance to producers of soybeans, sweet potatoes, upland cotton, and long, medium, and short grain rice in counties that were declared disasters in 2009.

So these producers who have been waiting for assistance now must hurry up and file applications by the deadline of Dec. 9. Only certain counties around the nation were designated as disaster counties in 2009.

In Ohio, those counties are Ashtabula, Athens, Brown, Gallia, Jefferson, Lake, Lawrence, Morgan, Muskingum, and Washington.

A complete listing of counties eligible for the 2009 Crop Assistance Program is available from your local FSA office or online at www.fsa.usda.gov under the “Disaster Assistance Programs” link on the left side of the screen.

For this program, disaster counties are limited to those primary counties designated a Secretarial disaster due to excessive moisture or related conditions. If you did plant one of the targeted crops on acreage physically located in an eligible disaster county, assistance is triggered if you certify a 5 percent or greater loss for the eligible crop on a farm in that county.

A farm is defined under the Crop Assistance Program as acreage associated with each FSA Farm Serial Number. Payments will be made based upon a predetermined payment rate multiplied by the farms planted or considered planted acreage in 2009.

Planted acreage will be the acres previously reported to FSA. Late filed reports of acreage for 2009 will not be accepted for this program. Applicants will be subject to spot check for verification their acreage did meet the 5 percent production loss threshold.

If required by FSA, it will be the applicant’s responsibility to provide complete and accurate information to support their certification. This includes providing a record of production divided by FSA Farm Serial Number.

Contact your local FSA office prior to the sign-up deadline of Dec. 9 for more details on this program.

That’s all for now!

FSA Andy

About the Author

FSA Andy is written by USDA Farm Service Agency county executive directors in northeastern Ohio. More Stories by FSA Andy

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