Deadlines approach for FSA benefits

The Farm Service Agency has many programs that provide farmers and ranchers supplemental income to help with the many expenses of maintaining a crop or livestock operation.

Producers are reminded that the deadlines vary to apply for many FSA program benefits.

Before FSA can make any program payments, an approved contract or application must be on file and any necessary eligibility determinations made.

June 1 is the final date to obtain all signatures on a Direct and Counter-cyclical Program contract for the 2005-crop year, without having to pay late fees.

The program provides direct payments for eligible crops and counter-cyclical payments if the market price falls below a target price for applicable crops.

Producers of 2004 white-wheat crop may apply until May 31 for a Hard White Wheat Incentive Payment on their certified seed planted for the 2004 crop and/or a payment on the 2004-crop production sold to an approved warehouse or a seed-processing facility.

The program pays a $2-per-acre incentive for planted certified seed, and a 20-cent-per-bushel incentive for No. 2 Grade or better white wheat production, not to exceed 60 bushels per acre.

Commodity loans and loan deficiency payments for 2004-crop feed grains, cotton, minor oilseeds and pulse crops must be requested by May 31.

Small-grain acreages must be reported by May 31. Producers must report acreages to maintain eligibility for commodity loan, LDP, Non-insured Crop Assistance, DCP, and Conservation Reserve programs.

Most programs require an acreage report for the total cropland on all farms for which you have an interest.

Aug. 1 is the acreage-reporting deadline for all other crops and the final date to request a farm reconstitution.

Those producers who might experience a failed crop would need to file a form CCC-576 prior to the disposition of that crop to maintain a recorded acreage history credit within FSA archives.

Signup is ongoing for the Crop Disaster Program for 2003 or 2004 losses. The request deadline to apply has not yet been established.

To apply for FSA benefits, contact the local USDA Service Center in Marion.

Bill Harmon is executive director of the Marion County FSA office.

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