FSA Andy for Oct. 16, 2008


Hello again, friends!

I don’t know which is crazier or more unpredictable, the stock market or the crop market. Both have taken their lumps over the last month or so.

Combine falling prices with yields that may not measure up to the last couple of years and rising crop inputs, and farmers are forced to watch things even tighter.

Maybe you are taking a couple of extra soil tests this year to make sure too much fertilizer is not applied, or maybe idling out some of those less productive areas of the field along fence rows and shaded creeks.

Conservation Reserve Program buffers can help with the latter, but I will discuss that another day.

Harvest is chugging right along in my area, and I am sure it is doing the same around you. Harvest progress and yields were a big discussion at the last county committee meeting, and probably is being discussed in many of your households as well.

The discussion of crop conditions and yields in the county Farm Service Agency office actually serves a purpose other than the usual “my yields are higher than yours’” or “my disaster is worse than yours’” competition between farmers.

Back in 2000, legislation was passed that required FSA to assist the Risk Management Agency with monitoring crop insurance participants. This chore was designed to help eliminate program fraud, waste and abuse.

It also gave producers another place to report suspected abuses to the crop insurance program.

One way FSA assists with this program is to monitor crop conditions throughout the growing season. Risk Management selects certain producers at the beginning of the year, based upon certain triggers. These producer names are sent to FSA to document production efforts and growing conditions.

FSA then refers the results of field visits and producer input back to Risk Management. This information is meant to assist the crop insurance agent with claim audits, inspections and quality control reviews.

So if you do see someone from FSA on one of your farms taking pictures and asking you about your crop inputs, please help them out. This is a good way to document your efforts for the year, and can be used to support possible claims.

Remember that reducing abuses is one way to help keep everyone’s premiums down. If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of the crop insurance program, contact your local FSA office, the Risk Management Agency or USDA’s Office of Inspector General.

That’s all for now,
FSA Andy

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