Farmers and ranchers planning to participate in USDA Farm Service Agency programs are encouraged to register in advance by reporting farm records and business structure changes to the agency by April 15.
Enrollment for the disaster programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, including the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program will begin by April 15, says FSA Administrator Juan Garcia.
"We expect significant interest in these programs," Garcia said in a statement. "Early registration should help improve the sign-up process and allow us to expedite implementation of the programs. I strongly encourage producers to complete their paperwork ahead of time."
Producers who have updates or changes to their records include:
• New producers or producers who have not reported farm records to FSA.
• Producers who have recently bought, sold or rented land. Those producers need to ensure that changes have been reported and properly recorded by local FSA county office personnel, FSA said. Reports of purchased or sold property should include a copy of the land deed, and if land has been leased, then documentation should be provided that indicates the producer had/has control of the acreage.
• Producers that have changed business structures (e.g. formed a partnership or LLC) need to ensure that these relationships and shares are properly recorded with FSA. Even family farms that have records on file may want to ensure that this is recorded accurately as it may impact payment limits.
Farm records can be updated during business hours at FSA Service Centers that administer the county where the farm or ranch is located, FSA's announcement said. Producers can contact their local FSA Service Center in advance to find out what paperwork they may need.
In addition, bank account information should be supplied or updated if necessary to ensure that producers receive payments as quickly as possible through direct deposit.
While any producer may report farm records and business structure changes, it is especially important for producers who suffered livestock, livestock grazing, honeybee, farm-raised fish, or tree/vine losses for 2011, 2012, 2013 or 2014, and may be eligible for assistance through one of the four disaster programs, FSA said.
For further information about our disaster programs and USDA's Farm Bill implementation plan, visit FSA's 2014 Farm Bill Web page.
FSA Service Center locations can be found on the FSA website.