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More information about who signs FSA forms and gets payments

More information about who signs FSA forms and gets payments
Here's another attempt to explain a confusing part of new farm bill rules.

The new 2014 Farm Bill programs are different than anything you've seen before. We attempted to explain who signs documents and who gets payments if there are any under the new farm bill programs in an item that first appeared on Jan. 5. An attentive viewer brought it to our attention that our description wasn't totally correct.

Related: What happens if you are in the ARC-County program and pick up a PLC farm?

How confusing is it? The viewer's interpretation wasn't 100% correct either. Carl Schweikhardt, chief production adjustment specialist with FSA in Indiana, helps us take another stab at explaining this correctly.

Farm payment destination: Even though the landowner must sign base/yield forms and the tenant and/or landowner sign election forms, any payments will be split depending upon interest in the crops grown on base acres determined during enrollment.

Remember that your best bet is to double-check with your local FSA office on any information you hear or read anywhere. If it all doesn't match up, then go to another FSA source. Email us at [email protected] and we will see you get an answer.

"There is confusion about you signs what and when, mainly due to the one-time base/yield updates and election process that we have to go through first," he says. Yield updates and base reallocation, if you choose to do them, must be done by Feb. 27. The current landowner must sign these forms.

Program election
You must actually make program elections by March 31. The current producer(s) on the farm will sign in these instances. Current producers include the current tenant(s) and landowner(s) who will share in crops grown on the farm. If there has been a change in tenant, then current tenant refers to the tenant who will be farming the land in 2015, the FSA specialist says.

Here's where confusion comes in: landowners sign yield update and base reallocation forms. Current producer(s), meaning 2015 tenant(s) and 2015 landowners who will share in the crops, sign the actual election form where you choose ACP-County, ACP-Individual or PLC.

Related: Can landowners switch tenants during 5-year FSA programs?

If it's a cash-rent farm, then only the 2015 tenant signs the program election form, Schweikhardt says. However, if it's a 50-50 share lease and the landowner will have interest in the crop, then the tenant and landowner would both be required to sign.

Sign-up and payments
"After the base/yield and election processes, we will have an annual enrollment for each year 2014 through 2018, and then it will be determined who will be eligible for payment," he adds.

For 2014 and 2015 crop years, enrollment will be done simultaneously beginning in the spring of 2015. This part will be similar to past determinations in previous programs, he indicates. Who gets the payment when there is one will depend upon how the owner and tenant agree to farm the farm, and who has interest in the crops for that year.

For example, if it's a cash lease agreement and the tenant gets 100% of the crops for a rental payment, then the tenant will get 100% of the payment, he notes. However, if it's a 50/50 share lease, once more common but still used, then the payments will be split on a 50/50 basis between landowner and tenant. If it is some other share arrangement, the payments will be split based on however the share percentages are set up for that farm for that year.

Related: Make farm bill sign-up easy on yourself

Here's one final caveat. If the 2014 tenant is different than the 2015 tenant, the 2014 tenant will sign up the farm for 2014. The new tenant (and landowner if on shares) will sign up for 2015.

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