Dakota State University -- NDSU Agriculture
7 Morrill Hall, Fargo ND, 58105-5655, Tel: 701-231-7881, Fax: 701-231-7044
Farm Owners and Operators Need to Verify Planting History
Farm Service agency county offices are sending notification letters that include a summary acreage history report to all farm operators and owners. Owners and operators need to verify the accuracy of the acreage history report as soon as possible or they may miss out on potential program payments for the 2002-2007 crop years, says a North Dakota State University economist.
"If any of the data is incorrect, incomplete or missing, you must contact the county FSA office to provide verifiable documentation of your acreage as soon as possible, but no later than Aug. 31," says Dwight Aakre, farm management specialist with the NDSU Extension Service.
The report being sent by FSA offices includes 2002 production flexibility contract crops and contract acreage as well as acreage history by crop for each of the years 1998 through 2001 for all covered commodities. "The acreage history for the 1998-2001 period is derived from annual acreage reports producers have filed with FSA. Since acreage reporting was not required under the previous farm bill, some producers may not have complete acreage history at FSA," says Aakre.
Also during the 1998-2001 period, more than 8 million acres in North Dakota were not planted due to excess moisture. "In many cases these prevented planted acres have not been recorded as one of the covered commodities, but rather as fallow," Aakre says. "Any of these acres that can be verified as prevented planted to covered commodities may contribute to building additional base acres. Therefore, even though acreage reports may have been filed, producers should compare the acreage history report with their own records to be sure there are no discrepancies."
In the case of prevented planted acres, verification of multi-peril crop insurance claims may be adequate evidence. FSA will not charge a late-filing fee when a report is filed for history purposes only.
Aakre notes that the 2002 Farm Bill (officially the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002) provides farm owners with several options to establish or update bases and yields on each farm for "covered commodities." Covered commodities include wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, upland cotton, rice, soybeans, sunflower seed, canola, flaxseed, mustard, safflower, and rapeseed. The bases and yields are used for calculating direct and counter-cyclical payments. One of the biggest changes under the bill is the inclusion of soybeans and minor oilseeds as program crops, he notes.
Most producers have received either 50 or 100 percent of the scheduled production flexibility contract payments for 2002 covered under the 1996 Farm Bill. However, with the passage of the 2002 farm bill, those payments will be re-computed to reflect the new direct payment rates and new bases if they are updated, Aakre notes. The new direct payment rates are higher than the rates paid out under the old legislation.
"These payments will not be made until producers complete the process of updating bases and yields. Landowners will have a one-time opportunity for updating bases and yields beginning later this fall. The decisions on program bases and yields made at that time will be used through the 2007 crop year," Aakre says. "The first step in this process is to verify the accuracy of the crop acreage history on file at your county FSA office."