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Call your FSA office before you visit to update or reallocate

Call your FSA office before you visit to update or reallocate
Deadline is looming for key farm bill decisions

Carl Schwiekhardt says the staff at your local Farm Service Agency office wants to see you now. They would rather work with you now on yield updates and base reallocation for the 2014 Farm Bill programs, not later.

But before you go, call to make an appointment. That will prevent you wasting time in case you happened to hit one of their busy days. The closer it gets to the Feb. 27 for updating yields or reallocating bases, the busier the officer should be, or at least FSA officials hope so. Many people have not visited the local office yet.

Related: Indiana FSA officials concerned about lack of farm bill inquiries so far

Here are questions Schweithardt, the program chief at FSA, is getting.

Sign up now: Do your homework before you go to your local FSA office to work on updating yields or reallocating bases. Here, Val Dolcini, far left, USDA FSA administrator, listens to farmers discuss the farm bill at the Rush/Shelby County FSA office near Manilla.

Question: What information do I need to bring with me for my appointment to reallocate bases, update yields and make my election?

Answer: It is very important to do your homework before making an appointment. There is information on the federal FSA website and various other resources.

Bring with you the acreage history letter you should have received in August. The base reallocation will be determined mostly using the information from this letter. Gather all yield information available for each farm for the years 2008 through 2012 and calculate a bushel per acre estimate. Remember that FSA does have crop insurance yield data available in the local offices for those producers associated with the crop insurance records.

If you are a tenant on a farm, you are strongly encouraged to discuss the new programs and decisions with land owners. Deadlines are fast approaching, so producers need to start this process as soon as possible.

Related: Make farm bill sign-up easy on yourself

Remember, again, that the deadline for updating yields or reallocating bases is Feb. 27. Whether or not you update yields or reallocate bases is voluntary, and is your choice. The deadline for making an election into which program you want is March 31.

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