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Don't forget to consult before breaking new ground

By Diana Strouse • Jun 3, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Agricultural producers are reminded to consult with FSA and NRCS before breaking out new ground for production purposes.

Breaking ground without prior authorization may put a producer’s federal farm program benefits in jeopardy. This is especially true for land that must meet Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions.

Producers with HEL determined soils are required to apply tillage, crop residue and rotational requirements as specified in their conservation plan. Producers should notify FSA as a first point of contact prior to conducting land clearing or drainage type projects to ensure the proposed actions meet compliance criteria, such as clearing any trees to create new cropland. These areas may need to be reviewed to ensure such work will not risk your eligibility for benefits. Landowners and operators complete the form AD-1026 - Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification to identify the proposed action and allow FSA to determine whether a referral to Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for further review is necessary. Failure to inquire can be costly.

Here are some agri-business notes from the Huron and Erie County Farm Service Agency:

2017 ARC/PLC enrollment continues

Producers on farms with base acres under the safety net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, can visit FSA county offices to sign contracts and enroll for the 2017 crop year. The enrollment period will continue until Aug. 1, 2017. Since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to- year, producers on the farm must enroll by signing a contract each program year. If a farm is not enrolled during the 2017 enrollment period, the producers on that farm will not be eligible for financial assistance from the ARC or PLC programs for the 2017 crop should crop prices or farm revenues fall below the historical price or revenue benchmarks established by the program.

Producers who made their elections in 2015 must still enroll during the 2017 enrollment period. The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and offer a safety net to agricultural producers when there is a substantial drop in prices or revenues for covered commodities. Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, dry peas, rapeseed, safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. For more details regarding these programs and to get your farms signed up and contracts in place for this year, visit your FSA Office.

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NAP production reporting: Production records for individual crops need to be filed with your local County FSA office to establish an approved NAP yield. If this is the first year you participated in NAP, you can provide production and acreage information from prior years to establish your yield. If you participated in NAP in previous years, you must report your production and acreage on a yearly basis to keep your yield up-to- date. Records submitted must be reliable or verifiable. Records need to show crop disposition. We recommend producers submit 2016 production records as soon as harvest is complete. All production records must be submitted by the subsequent crop year’s final acreage reporting date.

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Unauthorized disposition of grain: If loan grain has been disposed of through feeding, selling or any other form of disposal without prior written authorization from the county office staff, it is considered unauthorized disposition. The financial penalties for unauthorized dispositions are severe and a producer’s name will be placed on a loan violation list for a two-year period. Always call the county office before you haul any grain under loan.

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Save time — make an appointment with FSA: To insure maximum use of your time and to insure that you are afforded our full attention to your important business needs, please call our office ahead of your visit to set an appointment and to discuss any records or documentation that you may need to have with you when you arrive for your appointment.

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Certification: As soon as you finish your planting make your appointment to certify. The deadline of July 15 will be here before you know it. Don’t take a chance on missing it and being charged to certify! If you have not completed your program sign up you can do that at the same time.


Diana Strouse is the county executive director for the Huron and Erie County Farm Service Agency. For more information, call the agency at 419-668-4113.

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