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Stay eligible for aid: don't forget to file acreage reports

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:50 PM

Acreage reporting time will soon be here.

Please remember that filing an accurate acreage report for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage and prevented planting acreage, can prevent the loss of benefits for a variety of programs.

Failed acreage must be reported within 15 days of the disaster event and before disposition of the crop. Prevented planting must be reported no later than 15 days after the final planting date.

Acreage reports are required for many Farm Service Agency programs. June 30 is the deadline to certify small grains and July 15 is the deadline to certify all other crops and CRP. Acreage reports on crops for which NAP assistance may be paid are due in the county office by the earlier of June 30 for small grains and fruit crops harvested in the spring, and July 15 for all other crops.

Here are some agri-business notes from the Huron and Erie County Farm Service Agency:

Share vs. cash lease Producers should be careful to differentiate between "share leases" (more commonly known as flexible or hybrid leases) vs. cash leases when reporting to the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The FSA considers flexible, hybrid leases as, in which the producer pays a base rent, and offers a bonus on yield and/or price increase to a landowner.

For example: A lease that is for $100 per acre plus an additional $40 per acre if the crop exceeds $4/bushel or 170 bushels corn/acre or $7/bushel or 40 bushels of soybeans per acre is by FSA procedure considered a share lease, not a cash lease. Cash leases specify a fixed amount, not subject to changes from yield or price.

Each year FSA participants are subject to spot-check and need to update the CCC-502 using the Continuation Sheet for Leased or Owned Land. FSA participants, who agree on a share lease as described above, should contact their local FSA office and update the producer's CCC-502 file, to avoid possible violations with FSA payments

CRP cover maintenance Participants are required to maintain Conservation Reserve Program acres according to the Conservation Plan agreed to with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Participants must:

Have adequate approved vegetative cover to control erosion for the contract period;

Control weeds and other types of undesirable vegetation; and take control measures outside of the primary nesting season which is March 1 to July 15.

Please keep in mind mowing for cosmetic purposes is prohibited at all times. That is why it is important to review your Conservation Plan and talk to NRCS for the best control method(s), if you think undesirable plant species are invading your CRP land. Early detection is the key to effective control of noxious weeds. Producers need to scout their fields during the nesting period and look for noxious weeds and other undesirable species. If noxious weeds are present on CRP land, producers should contact their local FSA and NRCS offices during the nesting season, so the County Committee (COC) and NRCS can determine if spot treatment is needed on the acreage. Spot treatment includes spot spraying and spot mowing, and is limited to the immediate area of infestation. Spot treatments may be performed outside the nesting season without COC approval.

In Ohio, the following plants are prohibited noxious weeds: Shatter cane, Canada thistle, Poison hemlock, Cressleaf groundsel, musk thistle, purple loosestrife, Mile-A-Minute Weed, Giant Hogweed, Apple of Peru and Marestail, Russian thistle, Johnsongrass, wild parsnip, wild carrot, Oxeye daisy, wild mustard and grapevines.

Within the next few days CRP producers will receive a letter in regard to this issue. If you have a weed problem that you need to address, complete the form on the bottom of your letter and return it to our office for COC approval. Approval to spot mow or spot spray must be obtained prior to taking any action for weed control during the nesting season. General mowing of CRP areas for any reason other than weed control is always prohibited. To do so will jeopardize your CRP benefits.

Diana Strouse is the county executive director for the Huron and Erie County Farm Service Agency. For more information, call the agency at (419) 668-4113.

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