We are but on this Earth for a little while but the land beneath our feet will remain for generations to come. Protecting our soil and our land is a responsibility that every farmer takes seriously. For it is from this land that they will plant, nurture and harvest their crops that in turn will help feed the world as well as provide for their families.
Here at USDA we provide several programs and opportunities to protect our land so that it will be here for future generations.
Currently, the Farm Service Agency is holding a general sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program. This program is a federally-funded voluntary program that contracts with agricultural producers so that environmentally sensitive agricultural land is not farmed, but instead used for conservation benefits. CRP participants establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat.
In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Sign up for this program continues through February 26th. If you are interested, please contact your local FSA office.
Continuing with our land theme, we must now share the yearly reminders and notifications that relate to the land. Farming Operation Changes Producers who have bought or sold land, or added or dropped rented land from their operation must report those changes to the FSA office as soon as possible.
A copy of the deed or recorded land contract for purchased property is needed to maintain accurate records with FSA. A copy of your lease for newly rented land must also be provided. Failure to do so can lead to possible program ineligibility and penalties. Making record changes now will save time in the spring. Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetland Conservation Compliance Landowners and operators are reminded that in order to receive payments from USDA, compliance with Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions are required.
Farmers with HEL determined soils are reminded of tillage, crop residue and rotation requirements as specified per their conservation plan. Producers are to notify the USDA Farm Service Agency prior to conducting land clearing or drainage projects to ensure compliance. Failure to obtain advance approval for any of these situations can result in the loss of eligibility and all Federal payments. Crop Acreage Reporting Requirement Filing an accurate acreage report at your local FSA office can prevent the loss of benefits for a variety of programs.
Failed acreage is acreage that was timely planted with the intent to harvest, but because of disaster-related conditions, the crop failed before it could be brought to harvest. This acreage must be reported to your local FSA office prior to destruction.
Prevented planting must be reported no later than 15 days after the final planting date.
Annual acreage reports are required for most Farm Service Agency programs.
Annual crop report deadlines vary based on region, crop, permanent vs. annual crop type, NAP or non-NAP crop and fall or winter seeding.
Participants in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) must certify to contract compliance before any annual rental payments will be made.
Consult your local FSA office for deadlines in your area.
Fruits and vegetables exception
Planting fruits or vegetables on payment acres enrolled in the ARC and PLC Program is prohibited unless the commodity is destroyed without benefit before harvest. Producers may plant FAV’s and/or wild rice on payment acres if the FAV and/or wild rice is planted in a double-cropping practice with covered commodities in any region designated in the seven code of federal regulations as having a history of double-cropping covered commodities or peanuts with FAVs and/or wild rice.
Failure to comply with FAV and wild rice provisions of this part will result in an acre-for-acre payment reduction.
Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Risk Management Agency (RMA) to Prevent Fraud, Waste, and Abuse
FSA supports the RMA in the prevention of fraud, waste and abuse of the Federal Crop Insurance Program. FSA has been, and will continue to, assist RMA and insurance providers by monitoring crop conditions throughout the growing season. FSA will continue to refer all suspected cases of fraud, waste and abuse directly to RMA.
Producers can report suspected cases to the county office staff, the RMA office, or the Office of the Inspector General.
Foreign Landowner Notification
The Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA) requires all foreign owners of U.S. agricultural land to report their holdings to the Secretary of Agriculture. The Farm Service Agency administers this program for USDA.
Foreign individuals who have purchased or sold agricultural land in the county are required to report the transaction to FSA with 90 days of the closing.
Failure to submit the AFIDA form could result in civil penalties of up to 25 percent of the fair market value of the property. County government offices, real estate agents, attorneys and others involved in real estate transactions are reminded to notify foreign investors of these reporting requirements.
As with any of our programs, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact your local Farm Service Agency for more information. All good things must come to an end and next week will mark the end of our yearly reminders.
I know you are as excited as I am. Something we must do but not very interesting to write about.
That’s all for now,
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