Farmers are busy getting crops planted and doing fieldwork this spring, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind regarding crop insurance. Also, you need to report planted acres to your local FSA office for certification prior to June 30. This reminder comes from Steve Johnson, Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist in central Iowa.
First, you may wish to add hail and/or wind coverage to your existing crop insurance. Most everyone is using federal crop insurance in their farming operations these days, but you can add additional coverage in the form of hail and wind policies. Make sure you add those policies to your existing insurance well before the storm.
Another important thing to remember to do this time of year is acreage certification. "Every year on or before June 30 Iowa farmers need to go to the local USDA Farm Service Agency office and certify their planted acres," says Johnson. "Make sure you report planting date, what crop is planted in each field and number of acres planted. You need to keep those records by farm number and/or tract number."
Certifying "intended use" of forage crops is new FSA requirement
Something new for 2011 is the requirement for certification of forage crops with FSA. Farmers have to keep track of the different types of forage crops they plant.
There are three "Acreage Certification" categories provided for Initial Seeding that include:
1) Nurse Crop (oats, wheat) with "intended use" of grain
2) Nurse Crop (oats, wheat) with "intended use" of forage
3) Forage "Seeding" Crop (alfalfa, clover, etc.)
Good record-keeping is needed. "If you are in the tractor cab while planting, do a good job keeping track of what crop is planted where and the date you planted," advises Johnson. "Write this information down right away. If the field was planted over a several day period, just come up with an average planting date."
Call ahead; ask what information to bring with you to FSA office
You have several weeks to get to the local FSA office, and you're busy this time of year. So if rain keeps you out of the field for a few days, that's a good time to get your record book in order, stop by or call your local FSA office, and ask them what types of forage crop records they want you to bring along when you certify acreage.
Johnson is giving farmers a "heads up" as planting slows down, so you can make sure your records are up to date. That way, when you stop in the FSA office, it won't take a lot of time, though FSA is using a new crop acreage reporting system. "Farmers must make sure they do a good job of record keeping as they plant this crop," he says.
For more information contact your local FSA office. Ask what changes there are for 2011 planted acreage certification, especially for forage crops. By calling FSA now and confirming what you need to report, that will make it easier for both you and the FSA office staff to complete your planted acreage certification on or before June 30, 2011.