FAQ: The deadline to certify yields for ACRE has been extended from July 15 to September 1 by USDA. I'm enrolled in ACRE. What do I need to do to certify my yields?
Answer: The following answers are provided by Steve Johnson, Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist; and Kevin McClure, program specialist for USDA's Farm Service Agency state office in Des Moines.
Since the Average Crop Revenue Election or ACRE program uses both updated yields and planted acres in determining payments compared to the Countercyclical program, farmers are required to provide yield information. The deadline for farmers to submit production evidence or certified yield data on CCC-658 forms to comply with ACRE provisions has been extended to Sept. 1, 2010 by USDA.
The extension is for completing both the farm benchmark yield (2004 through 2008) and the actual farm yield (2009). This also impacts farmers requesting measurement service for grain still remaining in on-farm storage structures. FSA says this extension will provide farmers more time to complete deliveries to grain buyers and clean out bins prior to fall harvest, and will increase the accuracy of determining bushels.
Question: What options does a producer have for certifying yields for ACRE?
Answer: First, the Farm Benchmark Yield must be determined for years 2004 through 2008. Second, the actual farm yield for 2009 must also be determined for farms that enrolled into ACRE in 2009. Both of these production requirements are completed by the farmer at the local FSA office.
The farm operator can certify production for planted acres of the commodity crop for each of the years 2004 through 2009. Two forms (FSA-658) are required to be completed for each crop planted in 2009. Farmers also have the option to use the 95% "plug yields" in establishing the Farm Benchmark Yield for 2004-2008. For 2009 they need actual proof of yields.
A couple of different methods can be used in determining 2009 production. First, you can use "verifiable production evidence" such as scale tickets and settlement sheets. Second, if you have crop insurance, the production used in the Actual Production History or APH database is acceptable as well. Farmers also have the option to "certify" their production themselves for 2009 but this would be subject to a future spot check.
Farm operators should compile their production records by FSA farm number. This will allow the county FSA office to assist in completing both of the forms required for the ACRE program. If you aren't keeping track of your harvested crop production each year, you should start. Many FSA programs require production evidence or written records; you can expect the importance of such documentation to continue.
Question: Is the acreage certification deadline different from the yield certifying deadline?
Answer: Each year farmers must complete FSA form 578 for acreage certification to be eligible for certain USDA farm program benefits. That deadline is June 30 for Iowa and varies by state. Planted acres by FSA farm number will be calculated in ACRE program calculations as:
- Farm's 5-year production evidence in total bushels divided by planted acres to determine the Olympic average yield;
- Farm's revenue guarantee;
- Actual amount of the final ACRE payment annually, if one is made/
It's important that farm operators be as accurate as possible in completing the planted acreage certification. The annual total production by program crop on a farm enrolled in ACRE will be divided by planted acreage of each crop on that farm.
Once a farm is enrolled in ACRE, another decision may be required if more total acres are planted to program crops than is reported than the total "base acreage" for the farm. When this occurs, the farm operator may need to tell FSA which crops may potentially receive the ACRE payment. This designation is called "prioritizing." Farmers enrolled in ACRE need to recognize the impact of planted or intended-to-be-planted acres, and the accuracy of acreage certification when completing FSA form 578.
If you have specific questions or need details regarding USDA farm programs, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency office. You can also get news and information about DCP, ACRE and other USDA programs at www.fsa.usda.gov.
Two Iowa State University Extension Web sites have farm program information and analysis. They are ISU's Ag Decision Maker site at www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm and ISU Extension Specialist Steve Johnson's site at www.extension.iastate.edu/polk/farmmanagement.htm.
And be sure to read the regular column "Frequently Asked Questions about the Farm Program" that appears in each issue of Wallaces Farmer magazine and at www.WallacesFarmer.com