By Max Fisher, Director of Economics and Government Relations
For producers in 12 states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the deadline to July 22 to set up an appointment to report spring-seeded crop acreage to Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices and crop insurance agents. The reporting extension applies to producers in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
“This deadline extension is part of our broader effort to increase program flexibility and reduce overall regulatory burden for producers who are having to make some tough choices for their operations,” said USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey. Producers not in the selected states must file reports or set up an appointment by the original July 15 deadline.
Filing a timely crop acreage report is important for maintaining eligibility for USDA conservation, disaster assistance, safety net, crop insurance and farm loan programs. A crop acreage report documents all crops and their intended uses. The acreage reports also are an important source of information for USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service for the acreage estimates in its monthly crop production reports.
The number of prevent plant acres reported to USDA is particularly important this year, as prevented planting has the potential to eclipse the record set in 2011 when there were claims on 10.16 million acres.
Producers prevented from planting are required to file their claims with their crop insurance agents. They also report prevented planting acres to FSA, but they may wait to report to the agency until their applicable July 15 or July 22 acreage deadline – as long as they met their deadlines to report to their crop insurance agents.
USDA announced in June that producers who planted cover crops on prevent plant acreage will be eligible for a reduced Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payment and farmers who planted eligible crops will receive their county’s full MFP payment. Crops eligible for a 2019 MFP payment include alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat.
Final rules for MFP are anticipated to be released shortly before the first tranche of MFP payments, which tentatively are scheduled to begin at the end of July or beginning of August.
Farmers who planted cover crops on prevented plant acres can cut those fields for silage, haylage or baleage earlier in 2019. USDA’s Risk Management Agency adjusted the final haying and grazing date from Nov. 1 to Sept. 1. “These adjustments have been made for 2019 only,” said RMA Administrator Martin Barbre. “RMA will evaluate the prudence of a permanent adjustment moving forward.”
USDA has clarified that corn and soybeans are considered eligible cover crops for prevented planting acreage, but producers cannot harvest grain from the cover crops and keep their prevented planting indemnity. Producers who plant corn as a cover crop on prevented planted acreage are anticipated to cut the corn for silage.
In addition, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced special signups in eight states for cost-share assistance for cover crops under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Participating states include Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Other states may choose to be added as well.