Flexibility for Producers Filing ‘Notice of Loss’ for Failed, PP Acres

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is adding these flexibilities for Notice of Loss on both insured and uninsured crops to enable Service Centers to best assist producers.  
 
“With many program deadlines approaching, our Service Centers are working hard to accommodate as many producer appointments as possible,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “By providing flexibilities to our Notice of Loss policy, we can ensure we provide the best customer service.”
 
Producers who miss FSA’s July 15 acreage reporting deadline will not face a late filing fee if filed within a month of the deadline. For questions, please contact your FSA county office. To locate your FSA county office at your Service Center, visit farmers.gov/service-center-locator.

Complete Crop Acreage Reports

Agricultural producers who have not yet completed their crop acreage reports after spring planting should make an appointment with their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office before the applicable deadline. July 15 is a major deadline for most crops, but acreage reporting deadlines vary by county and by crop. Contact your FSA county office for acreage reporting deadlines that are specific to your county.
 
“The first step to become eligible for many USDA programs is to file an accurate crop acreage report,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “To file your acreage report, call your local FSA office to make an appointment. Your local staff is standing by to help you.”
           
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 you must call first to make an appointment. For questions, please call your FSA county office.

CFAP Applications Now Being Accepted Online

The USDA Farm Service Agency is accepting Coronavirus Food Assistance Program applications via an online portal. The agency will also use commercial document storage and e-signature solutions so farmers and ranchers can complete CFAP applications from home. Producers who wish to apply will need an e-Authentication account and can do so at farmers.gov.

MN Farmers Must Develop a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is requiring all Minnesota farmers to have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in place by June 29. The plan must comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health coronavirus guidelines and OSHA standards. All farms and farmers’ markets must develop and implement a preparedness plan.

2020 ARC/PLC Enrollment Open Until June 30

Agricultural producers who have not yet enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2020 must do so by June 30. Although program elections for the 2020 crop year remain the same as elections made for 2019, all producers need to contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to sign a 2020 enrollment contract.
 
To date, more than 1.4 million ARC and PLC contracts have been signed for the 2020 crop year. This represents 89 percent of expected enrollment.
 
Producers who do not complete enrollment by close of business local time on Tuesday, June 30 will not be enrolled in ARC or PLC for the 2020 crop year and will be ineligible to receive a payment should one trigger for an eligible crop.
 
ARC and PLC contracts can be mailed or emailed to producers for signature depending on producer preference. Signed contracts can be mailed or emailed back to FSA or, arrangements can be made in advance with FSA to drop off signed contracts at the FSA county office – call ahead for local drop off and other options available for submitting signed contracts electronically.

ND FSA Offices Open for In-Person Appointments

North Dakota USDA Service Centers (Farm Service Agency and Natural Resource Conservation Service) may now conduct business in person in the office by appointment only. Visitors will be pre-screened based on health concerns or recent travel and must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are encouraged to wear a face covering during their appointments and must call ahead and schedule an appointment.
 
Online services are still available to customers, including the new Box and OneSpan functionality that enable customers to sign and share FSA and NRCS documents with USDA Service Center staff in just a few clicks. Producers can get started with a simple username and password for Box or, for OneSpan, a quick identity verification. Additional 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. Through the FSA website, customers can access certain FSA programs and view FSA data, including maps, on FSAfarm+. Customers who do not already have an eAuth account can enroll at farmers.gov/sign-in

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Signup Now Open

Signup for the $16 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program through USDA is now open. Eligible commodities include several specialty crops and non-speciality crops, as well as livestock. USDA is working to identify commodities not included CFAP to potentially be added. Farmers and ranchers who suffered a five percent or greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April or with unharvested, mature crops are encouraged to submit comments to USDA.

CFAP Signup Set to Begin May 26, Program Details Released

Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will begin after Memorial Day on Tuesday, May 26. That is according to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who says $16 billion in direct payments will be sent to farmers as soon as one week after USDA launches the portal. The signup window will then remain open through August. Program details were sent out in a news release that can be viewed here. The specific payments rates for eligible commodities are available for non-speciality crops, specialty crops, and livestock.

Practice Physical Distancing on the Farm

As North Dakota slowly moves into a phase of re-opening, the risk of illness from COVID-19 has not faded. Farmers, ranchers and their employees interact with each other regularly, so they need to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) physical distancing guidelines to minimize the risk for themselves and their families. Here are some tips to protect farm employees:
  • Maintain a 6-foot distance between people whenever possible.
  • Wear a mask when working around others.
  • Develop a cohesive plan for the whole farm.
Daily plans can be communicated virtually through phone calls, emails or group text messages. If in-person meetings are necessary, try to meet outside in an open area rather than in a small shop with limited space that won’t allow for physical distancing. If you have space, set chairs apart or mark spots on the floor for distancing. Here are some other tips for physical distancing:
  • Have enough vehicles so people can drive separately or in pairs as often as possible. Assign equipment, tractors and pickups to individuals as much as possible, especially for those who may be considered at higher risk of developing illnesses.
  • Limit the number of individuals in vehicles when riding from field to field, and wear a mask when sharing this space.
  • Limit ride-alongs of nonessential workers or family.  
  • Stagger breaks and mealtimes to minimize the number of individuals in the breakroom at one time, and encourage cleaning and disinfecting between uses.
Visit NDSU’s COVID-19 in agriculture website at

Dry Bean Scene

Acreage decisions haven’t been easy for farmers in the Northern Plains this year. Northland Community and Technical College Farm Business Management instructor Betsy Jensen says while some farmers have started planting, others have yet to turn a wheel. Get the details in the Dry Bean Scene on the Red River Farm Network, made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.