FSA’s new check payment system

A change will soon be taking place in the procedure USDA’s Farm Service Agency uses to collect money farmers owe the agency. County offices will begin a new “Over the Counter” application when collecting payments and amounts due FSA or the Commodity Credit Corporation. FSA offices will use scanners to process all collections electronically.

This means funds will be pulled more quickly from accounts on which the checks are drawn. Thus, if you thought you could float a check, forget it. You want to avoid getting an insufficient funds notice. Contact your local FSA office to see when the new system will begin in your area.

Beth Grabau, public information and outreach specialist with the state FSA office in Des Moines, answers the following questions regarding this new system.

Question: Is this change being done for all program amounts due FSA/CCC? I have a farm loan through FSA. Will the same process be used?

Answer: The answer is “yes.” FSA is already getting questions from farmers about how the process will work. Will it be similar to other businesses using this type of system? Will you get your check back? How will you be able to tell that it has been processed?

After the check has been presented to an FSA employee or received by mail, the check will be scanned. A Franker inside the scanner will automatically stamp “Electronically Presented” on the check. After the check has been scanned, the producer will be presented a receipt. Checks will be held for 14 days and then shredded.

After the check has been scanned, it will be deposited and transmitted to the U.S. Treasury Department. This transmission will cause the amount due to be withdrawn from the producer’s account in 24 hours.

Producers using cash will see no change. As before, these customers will also be presented with a receipt for the amount due or paid. Note: The dishonored check procedure has not changed.

Question: Each year I hear about the county committee elections. What are the responsibilities of the FSA County Committee? Does this nomination process happen in each county office each year?

Answer: Yes, all of our offices are now accepting nominations. Individuals can serve for a maximum of three terms; each term is three years. Each county is divided into three areas, so each year one area is holding an election. We are looking for people to serve. Contact the FSA office in your county for the area and the townships holding an election this year.

The election of representatives to FSA county committees is important to all farmers and ranchers. It is crucial that every eligible producer participate in these elections. The FSA county committee system is a link between the agricultural community and USDA.

County committee members are a critical component of the operations of FSA. They help deliver FSA farm programs at the local level. Farmers and ranchers who serve on county committees help with the decisions necessary to administer the programs in their counties. They work to ensure FSA agricultural programs serve the needs of local producers.

FSA county committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws. County committee members apply their judgment and knowledge to make local decisions. The nomination period runs from June 15 through Aug. 1.

Question: There have been a lot of references to Local Administrative Area, or LAA. What is this?

Answer: In Iowa each county is divided into three Local Administrative Areas. Each LAA is represented by one member on the county committee. A map outlining which townships are located in each of the three LAA’s should be displayed in your county office. Each year one of the three LAAs holds an election for a person who will be elected to represent farmers and ranchers in that area. Check with your local office for the LAA up for election.

Question: Who is eligible? Who is the person that initiates the nomination?

Answer: To hold office as a county committee member, a person must participate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the LAA in which they will be a candidate.

To be eligible to vote, a person must be of legal voting age and have an interest in a farm or ranch and participate in any FSA program that is provided for by law. If not of legal voting age, the person must supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm. Individuals may nominate themselves or others as a candidate. Nomination forms are filed for the county committee of the office that administers a producer’s farm records. Nomination forms for the 2012 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by close of business on Aug. 1.

Nomination forms are at forms.sc.egov.usda.gov/efcommon/eFileServices/
eForms/FSA669-A.PDF
. Nomination forms can also be found in Spanish at forms.sc.egov.usda.gov/efcommon/eFileServices/eForms/FSA669-A_SPANISH.PDF.

This article published in the July, 2012 edition of WALLACES FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2012.