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Take Time To Update FSA Records

Take Time To Update FSA Records

Now is the time to prepare for this year's farm programs at your local FSA office. That includes checking with the FSA staff to review all payment eligibility forms and update other records.

FAQ: What do I need to do now to get ready for this year's farm programs at my local FSA office?

Answer: Provided by Beth Grabau, public relations and outreach specialist at USDA's Farm Service Agency state office in Des Moines.

As they prepare for the 2011 crop year, farmers should review all payment eligibility forms for accuracy, as well as make sure the tax ID number being used is correct. When signing up for the 2011 DCP/ACRE program, you should review the current ownership to make sure it is correct. Did an owner form a trust or was an estate opened? Is there a new operator or an additional operator on the farm?

Making these changes at your local FSA office may not be popular and it can be time consuming. But some work upfront, now in the winter when you have some time, will prevent ineligibility for programs in the future and will save time in the long run. Your local FSA office staff will be able to assist you in updating your records.

Always, if you have questions about USDA farm programs, contact your local FSA office. You can also get helpful information at

Do you feel like you are forgetting something?

A farmer recently told me, "I always feel like I'm forgetting something when it comes to my FSA farm program obligations. What other things do I have to remember to do? Or to ask the FSA office staff about this winter?"

Keep in mind that changes occur frequently to FSA programs as well as new farm programs being enacted into law throughout the year. This keeps us all guessing, producers as well as FSA employees. Your local FSA staff works hard to ensure you have all of the needed forms on file or that you are notified when additional forms and/or documentation are needed.

Annually farmers have eligibility forms that are needed to be properly filled out before payments can be issued, as well as reporting requirements throughout the year. Farmers need to report acres and for some programs production evidence as well. Disaster programs now require that farmers insure all crops of economic significance. So keep in mind you may need to insure a crop and that crop may have an insurance deadline different from your major crops.

Remember, when you are in doubt, always call your local FSA office for guidance.

If you have specific questions or need details regarding USDA farm programs, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency office. You can also get news and information about DCP, ACRE and other USDA programs at

Two Iowa State University Extension Web sites have farm program information and analysis. They are ISU's Ag Decision Maker site at and ISU Extension Specialist Steve Johnson's site at

And be sure to read the regular column "Frequently Asked Questions about the Farm Program" that appears in each issue of Wallaces Farmer magazine and at

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