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FSA’s sign-up dates are earlier

Since Farm Service Agency programs are growing even more complex, we’ve dusted off an old favorite — a look at FSA close-up. It addresses questions asked at local FSA offices. State staff provide answers.

Will sign-up dates for the Direct and Counter-cyclical Program and the Average Crop Revenue Election be the same as before?

Carl Schweikhardt, production adjustment: No. As of now the sign-up date for both DCP and ACRE is June 1. This is earlier than normal. You may think it’s too early to worry about filing paperwork not due for five months, but we’re concerned some farmers will get caught off-guard. You must sign new contracts by June 1, period.

If I elected ACRE last year, must I sign up for it again?

Schweikhardt: No, once you’re in, you’re in. But you must sign a new contract for the upcoming year by June 1.

Make sure you have all the required signatures for DCP or ACRE contracts.

I signed up for ACRE in ’09. My neighbor says I made a mistake doing so. Can I get out of it now?

Schweikhardt: No. That’s one feature of ACRE that forces farmers to think carefully before signing up.

Can I still get in ACRE if I decide now that it’s the thing to do?

Schweikhardt: Yes. Prices used to figure guarantees will be ’08 and ’09 prices. Again, this must be completed with all signatures and filed at your local office by June 1.

Will there be a regular Conservation Reserve Program sign-up this year?

Gail Peas, conservation programs: There is one budgeted for 2010. However, no plans have been announced. The first general sign-up was held in 1985. There has not been a national sign-up in the regular program since 2006.

Can I still get cost-share for filter strips and waterways?

Peas: Yes. The Continuous CRP program instituted several years ago was continued in the ’08 Farm Bill. The level of cost-share, rate of payment and sign-up procedures should be the same as in the past.

Will the local and state farmer committee systems be continued?

Julia Wickard, state director: Yes. County committee elections were completed in December ’09 for open positions. There are 255 county committeemen positions in Indiana. Some county committees have three positions, others have five. We are waiting on Washington, D.C., to appoint a new state FSA committee. We were asked for input on possible candidates earlier. USDA has started naming state committees one at a time. Until Indiana’s state committee is named, I serve as the state committee when necessary.

I have low test weight corn. Can I still place it in the commodity loan program?

Don Hunton, commodity loans: Yes, but if it is below 52 pounds per bushel for corn, your loan rate will be discounted to 20%. This means you could only borrow 20% of what you would normally borrow if it was good-quality corn.

We don’t have any rules yet requiring grain going under loan to be tested for vomitoxins from moldy corn. However, you’re responsible to repay the full amount of the loan, even if you get docked when you sell the corn.

This article published in the January, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.