USDA reminds producers to complete crop acreage reports


Staff Reports

Agricultural producers who have not yet completed crop acreage reports after spring planting may make an appointment with their local Farm Service Agency office before the applicable deadline.

July 15 is the deadline for most crops, but reporting deadlines vary by county and by crop, according to a news release from the agency.

Producers can contact their FSA county office for acreage reporting deadlines specific to their county. The Jackson County FSA office number is 812-358-2367.

The agency has implemented acreage reporting flexibilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic and can work with producers to file timely acreage reports by phone, email, online tools and virtual meetings. Some offices are open for in-person appointments.

Many offices 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 smartphone or tablet and call their FSA office. They also may use Microsoft Teams from their personal computer without downloading software.

County offices can provide producers with maps along with instructions for completing and returning the maps through either mail or email or through commercially available free and secure online tools, such as Box for file sharing and OneSpan for eSignature solutions.

After planting is complete, producers should return completed maps and the acreage reporting sheet by the applicable deadline.

After completed maps and all acreage reporting information is received, the agency will make software updates and send producers the completed report of acreage form (FSA-578) to sign. Producers must return the signed form certifying their acreage report to the FSA office through mail, email or the Box and OneSpan tools by the applicable deadline.

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 also is 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 policyholders should note 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.

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 one-on-one support with the application process. Call 877-508-8364 to speak with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. The CFAP call center also can provide service to non-English-speaking customers.

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

Service centers open for appointments will prescreen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors also may be required to wear a face covering, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing.

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