FAQ: How important is it to certify my 2009 planted acres with the local Farm Service Agency office?
Answer: Provided by Steve Johnson, Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist.
Certification of planted acres for 2009 must be completed by June 30 at your county FSA office — if you want to participate in the USDA farm program. Certifying acreage with FSA is something farmers do each year, but it takes on new importance with the USDA's new Average Crop Revenue Election or ACRE program.
If an ACRE payment is made annually, it will be based on planted or intended to be planted acres on a farm enrolled in ACRE. This is different than the determination of base acres on a farm by which direct payments (DP) and countercyclical payments (CCP) will still be determined.
Forms you need to complete
FSA may refer to these as the farm's Crop Acreage Base (CAB). The base acres on a farm were established several years ago, and may have been updated in 2003 as part of the new Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program (DCP) sign-up. Soybeans were added as a program crop, thus base acres on a farm could have been adjusted.
Each year farm operators complete FSA Form 578 for acreage certification. Planted acres by FSA farm number will be reflected in ACRE as the:
- 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.
It's important that farmers be as accurate as possible in completing acreage certification. The annual total production by program crop on a farm enrolled in ACRE will be divided by planted acreage.
Be accurate with ACRE certification
Once a farm is enrolled in ACRE, another decision may be required if more total acres are planted to program crops than is reported in CAB for that farm. When this occurs, the farm operator may need to tell FSA which crops may potentially receive the ACRE payment. This designation will likely be called "Making a selection."
Any farm operator who is considering enrolling in ACRE needs to recognize the impact of planted or intended-to-be- planted acres, and the accuracy of acreage certification when completing FSA Form 578.
The advantage with the 2009 ACRE enrollment is that most farmers will know how many planted acres will be reflected in an ACRE payment. For subsequent years of the ACRE program, 2010 through 2012, many planted acres or intended- to-be-planted acres may not be known prior to the annual ACRE sign-up deadline, which in future years is anticipated to be June 1.
For more information about ACRE, DCP and other programs, visit your local USDA Service Center or your FSA county office. You can also get information on-line at www.fsa.usda.gov.
If you have a question you'd like answered regarding the new USDA farm program, please send it to email@example.com. We will pass it on to the ISU Extension specialists or to the program specialists at USDA's Farm Service Agency office in Des Moines and they will send you the answer.
For more information and analysis of the new farm program, see ISU's Ag Decision Maker site www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm. For clarification on farm program details contact your local FSA office.