Farmers should start receiving notices updating them on their current base acres, yields and 2009-2012 planting history, USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan Garcia said Friday.
The written updates are an important part of preparing agricultural producers for the new safety net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, USDA said.
"We're sending these reports to make sure that farmers and ranchers have key information as they make critical decisions about programs that impact their livelihood," said Garcia. "It's important that producers take a few minutes to cross check the information they receive with their own farm records."
Garcia said if the information is correct, no further action is needed. But if the letter is incomplete or incorrect, producers need to contact their local FSA county office as soon as possible.
Verifying the accuracy of data on a farm's acreage history is an important step for producers enrolling in the upcoming Agriculture Risk Coverage program and the Price Loss Coverage program, USDA says.
Later this summer, farmers and ranchers will have an opportunity to update their crop yield information and reallocate base acres.
"I encourage producers to bring their USDA notice to any scheduled appointments with the local FSA county office," Garcia advised. "This will help ensure they have the information they need with them to discuss the available program options."
By mid-winter, all producers on a farm will be required to make a one-time, unanimous and irrevocable election between price protection and county revenue protection or individual revenue protection for 2014-2018 crop years.
Producers can expect to sign contracts for ARC or PLC for the 2014 and 2015 crop years in early 2015.
USDA said covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (includes short grain rice and temperate japonica rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed, and wheat.
Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity, USDA said.