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USDA reminds Montana producers to complete crop acreage reports

 


BOZEMAN — USDA’s Farm Service Agency is reminding Montana producers to complete crop acreage reports by the applicable deadline for their county.

Acreage reporting dates vary by crop and by county. Peoplr can contact their FSA county office for a list of acreage reporting deadlines by crop.

“To make sure you’re eligible for many USDA programs, you need to file an accurate crop acreage report by the applicable deadline,” said Mike Foster, state executive director in Montana. “Our FSA staff is standing by to help you with your acreage reports, including providing maps.”

The deadline for acreage certification is July 15 and applies to crops such as spring alfalfa seed, Conservation Reserve Program; perennial forage, not covered by NAP; annually spring seeded crops, and any other crop not reported by a previous deadline.

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 FSA offices are open for in-person appointments, but people must call first to make an appointment.

FSA county offices in Montana provide maps to producers along with instructions for completing and returning the maps through either mail, 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 must return the signed form certifying their acreage report to the FSA office through mail, email or the Box and OneSpan tools by July 15.

After completed maps and all acreage reporting information is received, FSA 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 Box by July 15.

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 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.

When producers are working with FSA staff — either in-person or virtually — they can also 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. People can 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.

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

For questions, people can call their FSA county office. To locate their local FSA office, people can visit http://farmers.gov/service-center-locator .

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors may also be required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. The program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with producers in office, by phone and using online tools. More information can be found at http://farmers.gov/coronavirus .

 

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