USDA Update – June 30, 2020

Agriculture USDA Service Center Update
Published Tuesday, June 30, 2020
by Eads USDA Service Center Staff

IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER:

  • PRIMARY NESTING SEASON - March 15 - July 15 - NO ACTIVITY PERMITTED ON CRP
  • FSA 2020 ACREAGE REPORTING DATE:  EXTENDED TO AUGUST 14
  • CFAP - Signup May 26 - August 28
  • LFP - Signup ends January 30, 2021
  • 2020 - COUNTY COMMITTEE NOMINATION PERIOD - DEADLINE AUGUST 1, 2020
  • 2020 PLC YIELD UPDATE - Deadline September 30, 2020
  • WHIP+ signup - Begins March 23, 2020

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.

USDA Service Centers will continue to operate by phone appointment only for a few more weeks. 

COVID-19 USDA GUIDANCE

There is no public access allowed into the Service Center at this time.  Customers can call 719-438-5851 and schedule a phone appointment or can call with questions.  The staff is working and will continue to provide customer service.  Customers can use email, fax and phones to contact the office and/or employees.   Contact information is provided below. 

USDA Service Centers Open for Business by Phone Appointment Only 

U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Centers are encouraging visitors to take precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.  

The Kiowa County USDA Service Center will continue to be open for business by phone appointment only and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While our program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with our producers by phone, and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call to schedule a phone appointment.   

Farm Service Agency: (719) 438-5851 extension 2 - Natural Resources Conservation Service: (719) 438-5851 extension 3.

Employees may also be contacted by email; the email addresses are listed below in the Service Center contact information.   

Online services are available to customers with an eAuth account, which provides access to the farmers.gov portal where producers can view USDA farm loan information and payments and view and track certain USDA program applications and payments. Online NRCS services are available to customers through the Conservation Client Gateway. Customers can track payments, report completed practices, request conservation assistance, and electronically sign documents. Customers who do not already have an eAuth account can enroll at farmers.gov/sign-in. 

For the most current updates on available services and Service Center status visit farmers.gov/coronavirus.

SERVICE CENTER CLOSED

USDA Service Center will be closed Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day.  Happy 4th to everyone. 

RAIN!

Beneficial rain fell in places around the county last Friday and Saturday evenings.  In some areas, it wasn't much rain and in others it was welcomed and invited to stay awhile.  According to the weather stations located in various areas of the county, places received anywhere from .20 to 1.50 of rain over the weekend and hopefully more is on the way.  This heat will dry things up quickly. 

CRP EMERGENCY GRAZING

Official word was received last Tuesday that the county had been approved for CRP Emergency Grazing. 

DURATION OF GRAZING

The 2018 Farm Bill revised the qualifying criteria for Emergency CRP grazing.  The previous Farm Bill required County Committees to request Emergency grazing in writing through the State Office and the National Office would review the requests and act accordingly.  The 2018 Farm Bill authorizes the use of CRP for emergency haying and grazing based on the severity of the drought using the U.S. Drought Monitor. Outside the primary nesting season (March 15- July 15 annually) if the county is designated in a D2 for 8 weeks, D3 or D4, Emergency haying and grazing is authorized until the beginning, and if conditions warrant after primary nesting season.  Authorization to graze during the primary nesting season is authorized only by the National Office. Kiowa County continues to be in D3 conditions, which cover nearly all of the county.

2020-06-25_map_colorado_drought_conditions_-_june_23_2020_-_national_drought_mitigation_center.png

MAP Colorado Drought Conditions - June 23, 2020 - National Drought Mitigation Center
Colorado Drought Conditions - June 23, 2020. Courtesy National Drought Mitigation Center

Important note - CRP Emergency grazing will expire the earlier of:  

  • Number of days allowed within the NRCS prescribed grazing plan.
  • Conditions improve and Emergency grazing is no longer authorized.
  • 90 days, if grazing began on June 23, 2020.    

Key word is 'earlier'.

Grazing Plan

The NRCS grazing plan has a specific number of days grazing is allowed based on the carrying capacity.  During the nesting season it is based on 50% and after nesting season is 75% stocking rate.  However, the grazing plan is only a tool to use, if the permanent cover is being damaged by the grazing it is the responsibility of the CRP producer to have the cattle removed. 

Conditions improve

At any time, if the U.S. Drought Monitor rates the county lower than a D2 rating, Emergency grazing is no longer authorized, and livestock will need to be removed. 

90 days

If conditions remain in a drought rating of D2 or higher, emergency grazing is authorized for 90 days; however, the majority of all grazing plans do not allow 90 days of grazing. 

REQUESTING CRP EMERGENCY GRAZING

Either the CRP participant or the livestock producer can contact the FSA Office, by phone to begin the process.  There are a number of forms that will require all CRP participants signature before approval can be issued.  To speed the process along; either party needs to have a plan together for obtaining those signatures, especially those of non-resident owners. 

There is no payment reduction for Emergency grazing

NRCS responsibilities

  • The livestock producer will work with NRCS on the required grazing plan.  During the primary nesting season, which will not end until July 15 the stocking rate is 50% of normal carrying capacity.  After July 15, it the stocking rate will increase to 75%.  
  • The CRP contract participants will be required to sign a modified Conservation Plan of Operations which NRCS will generate. 

FSA responsibilities

CRP participants must:

  • Complete CRP - 117, request to graze (one signature of current CRP participant required)
  • Sign terms and conditions for Emergency Grazing.
  • Sign modified CPO generated by NRCS.

Livestock producer must: 

  • Sign statement that the acreage will not be subleased; if the livestock producer is not a participant on the CRP contract being grazed.
  • Follow the grazing plan established by NRCS. 

When all signatures have been obtained the CRP contract participants and the livestock producer will receive a letter of approval.  There can be NO grazing of the acreage until the approval letter is received by either party.

IMPORTANT: Livestock producers and CRP producers must work together with the grazing of the CRP acreage.  Any damage to the CRP contract acreage will be the responsibility of the CRP contract participants.  USDA/CCC has a binding and legal contract with the participants NOT with the livestock producer. 

2020 CROP ACREAGE REPORTING

Producers who have crop insurance are reminded to report all planted, prevented planted and failed acres to their crop insurance BEFORE reporting to FSA. 

Due to COVID-19. FSA received a crop acreage reporting extension to August 14, 2020.  Crop insurance has received NO extension concerning deadlines. 

Producers in Kiowa County will be required to complete the information for crop reporting on the aerial photos for each farm.  Producers can call the office and request the maps to be emailed or mailed.  There will also be instructions included pertaining on what information needs to be written on the aerial photo. 

Once the office receives the completed maps back in the office; the staff will work through the acreage reports in the order received.  Producers will be contacted when the acreage reports are ready for signature.

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