Check vegetable, fruit production restrictions before planting

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COLUMBUS – Fruit and vegetable growers are reminded to check with their local Farm Service Agency offices before planting additional fruit and vegetable acreage.

Nearly 5 million acres are enrolled in the 7-year Agricultural Marketing Transition Act, which continues to restrict the production of fruits and vegetables on Production Flexibility Contract acres. Since the program started in 1996, many farmers have been subjected to stiff penalties and large payment reductions because their planted fruit and vegetable acres have exceeded the available non-contract acreage.

Contract land. Farms enrolled in AMTA have some or all of the crop land under a Production Flexibility Contract. Fruit and vegetable crops cannot be planted on the contract acres unless the land in the county is documented as a double cropping region and farmer meets the double cropping requirements; or the farm has an established history of fruits or vegetables being planted in any year 1991 through 1995.

Even if the farm and farmer meet the history requirements, their AMTA payment will still be reduced for each acre of fruits or vegetables planted on contract acres. In the absence of a fruit or vegetable history, a producer’s AMTA contract may be terminated and they may be penalized the full gross value of the fruit or vegetable crop.

For additional information and clarification farmers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office.

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