Tag Archives: FSA

Lincoln, Nebraska, July 2, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds Nebraska producers to complete crop acreage reports by the upcoming July 15, 2020, deadline.

“To make sure you’re eligible for many USDA programs, you need to file an accurate crop acreage report by the applicable deadline,” said Nancy Johner, State Executive Director in Nebraska. “Our FSA staff is standing by to help you with your acreage reports, including providing maps.”

The July 15 acreage reporting deadline applies to common spring-planted crops, such as corn, soybeans and grain sorghum, as well as hay and Conservation Reserve Program acres.

Due to the pandemic, FSA has implemented acreage reporting flexibilities. FSA can work with producers to file timely acreage reports by phone, email, online tools and virtual meetings. Some county FSA offices are open for in-person appointments, but customers first must call to schedule an appointment.

FSA offices also are using Microsoft Teams software to virtually meet with producers to review maps and documents for certification. Producers who want to schedule a virtual appointment can download the Microsoft Teams app on their smart phone or tablet and call the FSA office for an appointment. Producers also can use Microsoft Teams from their personal computer without downloading software.

Johner said acreage certification plans may vary between county offices, but in general customers can assist FSA by paying close attention to email or mail from their county FSA office that outlines the process put in place for 2020 certification, and then follow the requested steps. Offices are using a variety of tools to receive completed maps and other certification documents, including drop boxes, mail, email or through commercially available free and secure online tools such as Box for file sharing and OneSpan for eSignature solutions.

The following exceptions apply to acreage reporting dates:

  • If the crop has not been planted by the acreage reporting date, the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.

  • If a producer has not timely filed an acreage report, the producer may file the acreage report within 30 days of the acreage reporting date. Because of the pandemic, late fees will be waived if filed within the 30 days.

FSA is also providing additional flexibilities for producers to file on acres with failed crops or crops that were prevented from planting because of extreme weather events. For insured crops, producers who timely filed a prevented planted claim with the reinsurance company but filed a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) form after the deadline will be considered timely filed for FSA purposes. For uninsured crops, producers may start a Notice of Loss by calling their FSA county office.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP-covered crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar days before grazing or harvesting of the crop begins.


Other Programs

When producers are working with FSA staff – either in-person or virtually – they also can take care of applications for other FSA programs, including the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. A CFAP Call Center is available for producers who would like additional one-on-one support with the CFAP application process. Please call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. The CFAP Call Center can provide service to non-English speaking customers. Customers will select 1 for English and 2 to speak with a Spanish speaking employee. For other languages, customers select 1 and indicate their language to the Call Center staff. Another resource for customers to learn about the program is the farmers.gov/cfap website.

Applications also can be submitted for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) for 2018 and 2019, as well as other disaster assistance programs that may be able to assist producers at this time.

For questions, please call your FSA county office. To locate your local FSA office visit farmers.gov/service-center-locator.

Today the FSA will start accepting applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program  CFAP  through Aug. 28, 2020.  Nebraska FSA State Executive Director Nancy Johner is reminding those in agriculture that this is a three-month enrollment period to work through.  There is an  anticipation for  a very large number of applications due to the broad scope of commodities included in this program and the likelihood that it will include customers who do not routinely do business with FSA.

The FSA has shared some key points to remember as we work through the sign up process:

 

  • Office status – While Governor Pete Ricketts continues to update Directed Health Measures that have allowed businesses to open at various levels across the state, Nebraska FSA offices are subject to direction from USDA headquarters. Currently, we remain open for business only via phone appointments and using email, mail, fax and online tools. We are not available for in-person traffic in our offices at this time. Our staff has been operating this way since mid-March, and we have many tools in place to facilitate business and complete the CFAP application process with customers.
  • With that said, please encourage folks to visit the CFAP website by typing farmers.gov/cfap into their internet browser. This website is well-organized and detailed. It has a payment calculator that will help producers understand the information needed to complete an application, and it even allows the producer to convert the data entered into the calculator into an actual application that they can print, sign, and submit to their local FSA office. We know folks are accustomed to walking into their county office for service, but we believe use of the website will be an important option for implementation in our current environment.
  • USDA has set up a toll-free number to also assist customers who have questions. That number is 877-508-8364. This can serve as a good first stop for customers so that they are better prepared for a successful county FSA office interaction, whether that be through a phone appointment or submitting an application they prepared online.
  • Regarding funding, CFAP is structured to ensure the availability of funding for all eligible producers who apply. In order to do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available.
  • The key phrase you will hear associated with defining whether an eligible commodity is covered through CFAP is “the commodity must be subject to price risk.” We understand that already there are specific questions as to how this applies to contracted commodities. FSA is working to update the CFAP website to further explain this issue. We will share more information on this subject as it becomes available.

In addition, Nebraska FSA will present on CFAP during two upcoming online sessions:

  • Thursday, May 28, noon-1 p.m. CT: Nebraska Farm Bureau Facebook Live Event: Watch the presentation on Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Facebook page live. The presentation will be archived for later viewing on the Nebraska Farm Bureau Facebook page and the Nebraska Farm Bureau website at www.nefb.org/covid-19.
  • Thursday, June 4, noon-1 p.m. CT: Webinar hosted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Agricultural Economics Department as part of its series, “COVID-19’s Impact on Nebraska Ag.” To register, type go.unl.edu/manage2020 into your internet browser. The session will be recorded and available on the website after the event.