DES MOINES - John R. Whitaker, State Executive Director for USDA's Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA) wants to remind producers of the importance of new reporting requirements for all fall seeded cover crops as well as forage crops.
Producers of perennial forage crops (grass, hay, alfalfa, and pasture) must submit a 2013 acreage report for those crops by Dec. 15, 2012 as well as all fall seeded wheat and other fall seeded small grains. Late-filed fees will not be assessed if reported by June 30, 2013. This is also the same date for these crops to be reported to your crop insurance agent when carrying federal crop insurance.
FSA often receives requests for information about how farmers and ranchers protect the soil and water resources of our nation.
"Producers with cover crops or other crops which protect the soil through the winter months should be recognized for their contribution to a better environment," said Whitaker. "When they report those crops to us by Dec. 15, we have the statistics to show this important impact.
"This year demonstrates the importance of cover crops. These crops will hold valuable moisture through the winter months, as well as being a source of feed or bedding for livestock," added Whitaker. "In addition to holding moisture, these crops hold any available nitrogen for next year's crop instead of letting it slip away into our streams."
In prior years, reports for these crops were not due to FSA until later in the spring and summer. This change is part of an initiative at the national level to align acreage reporting dates between FSA and Risk Management Agency.
All acreage must be reported for a farm, including crops on non-cropland such as hayed or grazed grassland and other cover crops. It is also important to accurately report crops' intended use. Intended use is used to determine eligibility in many FSA programs and cannot be revised once reported.
Producers should contact their local FSA county office if they are uncertain about reporting deadlines. In order to meet FSA program eligibility requirements, producers must submit timely acreage reports. Reports filed after the established deadlines must meet certain requirements to be accepted and may be charged late fees.
For more information on FSA crop reporting requirements and other programs, visit your local FSA office or visit us online at www.fsa.usda.gov/ia.