USDA Update – February 23, 2021

Agriculture USDA Service Center Update
Published Tuesday, February 23, 2021
by Eads USDA Service Center Staff

IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER:

  • 2021 ARCPLC signup - deadline March 15, 2021
  • CRP General CRP signup #56 - Extended indefinitely
  • CRP EMERGENCY GRAZING AVAILABLE - Contact the FSA Office if interested.  

Disclaimer:  Information in this UPDATE is pertinent to Kiowa County FSA only.  Producers reading this and that do not have FSA interest in Kiowa County are advised to contact their local FSA Office. 

THE USDA SERVICE CENTER HAS A DROP BOX AVAILABLE ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE BUILDING.  

WARMER WEATHER

Good to see a warmup from what we experienced a week ago.   Hopefully spring is around the corner; but as anyone who has lived here for any length of time snows March through May can bring extreme weather changes.  The area could use a good 'wet' snow, not the cold temps, just some good moisture. 

USDA SERVICE CENTER OPERATING STATUS

The USDA Service Center does not follow state guidelines regarding the different colored phases for reopening; since this is a Federal Office, federal mandates are in place.  FPAC or Farm Production And Conservation monitors all USDA Service Centers around the country and mandates when offices can move to different operating phases.  Therefore, producers will see different private and county places of business operate differently than USDA Service Centers.  Locally, the doors remain locked, however there is a doorbell and a drop box available for producers.  Facial coverings must be worn by all who enter the building.   

NAP DEADLINE

The 2021 application for coverage for spring seeded crop deadline for NAP eligible crops is fast approaching.  Interested producers must apply for coverage using FSA form CCC-471, "Application for Coverage," and pay the applicable service fee at the FSA office where their farm records are maintained. These must be filed by the application closing date. Closing dates vary by crop, so it is important to contact your local FSA office as soon as possible to ensure you don't miss an application closing date. At the time of application, each producer will be provided a copy of the NAP Basic Provisions, which describes how NAP works and all the requirements you must follow to maintain NAP coverage. NAP participants must provide accurate annual reports of their production in non-loss years to ensure their NAP coverage is beneficial to their individual operation. 

Producers are required to pay service fees which vary depending on the number of crops and number of counties your operation is located in. The NAP service fee is the lesser of $325 per crop or $825 per producer per administrative county, not to exceed a total of $1,950 for a producer with farming interests in multiple counties. Premiums also apply when producers elect higher levels of coverage with a maximum premium of $15,750 per person or legal entity depending on the maximum payment limitation that may apply to the NAP covered producer. The service fee can be waived for beginning, socially disadvantaged, qualifying veteran, and limited resource farmers and rancher. These farmers and ranchers can also receive a 50 percent reduction in the premium.

CURRENT DROUGHT CONDITIONS

The current U.S. Drought Monitor map is status quo for most SE Colorado counties. Central portion of Kiowa County remains in D4 - exceptional drought and the balance of the county in D3 extreme drought.  There have been areas of Baca, Las Animas, Bent and Otero moved to D2 severe drought.  

CRP EMERGENCY GRAZING 

Many of the counties in Colorado are eligible for Emergency grazing of eligible CRP acres.  If interested in Emergency grazing of CRP; we encourage producers to contact your local FSA office for more information.  

Currently producers can graze at 100% stocking rate until March 15, which is the beginning of the Primary Nesting season for wildlife.  Producers can request to graze during the primary nesting season if all of the following occur: 

  • Payments are authorized for the county under Livestock Forage Program or LFP
  • NRCS grazing plans are written at 50% of the normal carrying capacity. 

Haying is not authorized during PNS or primary nesting season.  

Ineligible acres are: SAFE or State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement acres.   In Kiowa those are acres enrolled into the Lesser Prairie Chicken SAFE CRP program. 

NRCS will be required to make a site visit to determine if the acres can be grazed. Acres that were grazed last year, could potentially be ineligible this year.  

AT NO TIME CAN FEEDING OF BALES BE ALLOWED ON THE CRP ACRES. 

CRP GENERAL SIGNUP #56 

Still no update on a new deadline date for CRP signup #56.  Hopefully the coming weeks will bring some news.  Producers are still encouraged to contact the office regarding submitting offers for CRP enrollment.  Be reminded, current active contracts that expire in September 2021 are eligible for re-enrollment.  Producers with active contracts that expire beyond September 2022 cannot submit any offers at this time.  

2021 ARCPLC ENROLLMENT 

If there are any producers who did not get a chance to register for the CSU - FSA ARCPLC Zoom meeting that was held last Tuesday, February 16, can contact the office for an emailed link to the recording.  Producers will also be receiving another postcard regarding ARCPLC signup; however, this one comes from the National Office, not this local FSA office.  If you have already contacted the office regarding enrollment and have signed your 2021 ARCPLC contract(s) for farms not enrolled, there is no need to contact the office again.  

REMINDER:  If you didn't receive a postcard; your farm(s) are still eligible to make an election.  ARCPLC elections can be made each year through 2023.  The 2018 Farm Bill made that possible.  

Offices are encouraging producers not to wait until the last minute to enroll especially if owners' signatures must be obtained either by mail or email.  

There are a couple of different tools available to learn and choose the option right for your farm.  

  • The CSU-FSA webinar on Farm Bill decision scheduled for Tuesday, February 16 will be recorded for later viewing.  A link will be provided in next week's edition.  
  • Visit Farmers.gov website and search ARCPLC decision for more information. 
  • On Farmers you will find two online tools to assist you in making your decision.  Website addresses are provided below. 

https://fd-tools.ncsa.illinois.edu/

https://www.afpc.tamu.edu/tools/farm/farmbill/2018/

COLD WEATHER and CALVING 

The office has fielded a few calls regarding death losses of livestock during the recent cold snap.  A notice of loss must be filed with the FSA office in the county where the livestock were located.  Ex.  producer Bob had 20 head of cows in Prowers County grazing on winter pasture and lost newborn calves due to the extreme cold.  Producer Bob will file the notice of loss with Prowers County FSA even though producer Bob has no interest other interests in Prowers County.  

The notice of loss can be filed in any FSA office, but the physical location county will determine the extreme weather event and process the application.  

With the recent cold snap and some ranchers have started the calving process; it's extremely important to be documenting those losses with pictures and record books.  

Couple of good tips to following documenting any loss -  

  • pictures must be date stamped - there are many free phone apps available - be certain to download one to your phone.  
  • Documentation - keep an up to date, legible calving record, those daily diaries work well.  

The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provides assistance to ranchers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather, disease and attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law. 

For disease losses, FSA county committees can accept veterinarian certifications that livestock deaths were directly related to adverse weather and unpreventable through good animal husbandry and management.

For 2021 livestock losses, you must file a notice within 30 calendar days of when the loss is first apparent. You then must provide the following supporting documentation to your local FSA office no later than 60 calendar days after the end of the calendar year in which the eligible loss condition occurred. 

  • Proof of death documentation
  • Copy of grower's contracts 
  • Proof of normal mortality documentation

USDA has established normal mortality rates for each type and weight range of eligible livestock, i.e., Adult Beef Cow = 1.5% and Non-Adult Beef Cattle (less than 250 pounds) = 3%. These established percentages reflect losses that are considered expected or typical under "normal" conditions.

In addition to filing a notice of loss, you must also submit an application for payment by March 1, 2022.

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