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USDA market facilitation program extended

By Norwalk Reflector staff • Feb 9, 2019 at 10:00 AM

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will administer the market facilitation (MFP) to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, wheat, shelled almond and fresh sweet cherry producers.

The sign-up period for MFP has been extended through Thursday, with information and instructions provided at www.farmers.gov/mfp. Eligible producers should apply after harvest is complete, as payments only will be issued once production is reported. A payment will be issued on 100 percent of the producer’s total net production, multiplied by the MFP rate for a specific commodity. Call for an appointment.

Actively engaged provisions for non-family joint operations or entities many farm service agency programs require all program participants, either individuals or legal entities, to be “actively engaged in farming.” This means participants provide a significant contribution to the farming operation, whether it is capital, land, equipment, active personal labor and/or management. For entities, each partner, stockholder or member with an ownership interest, must contribute active personal labor and/or management to the operation on a regular basis. Joint operations comprised of non-family members or partners, stockholders or persons with an ownership in the farming operation must meet additional payment eligibility provisions. Joint operations comprised of family members are exempt from these additional requirements.

For 2016 and subsequent crop years, non-family joint operations can have one member who may use a significant contribution of active personal management exclusively to meet the requirements to be determined “actively engaged in farming.” The person or member will be defined as the farm manager for the purposes of administering these management provisions. Non-family joint operations may request to add up to two additional managers for their farming operation based on the size and/or complexity of the operation.

If additional farm managers are requested and approved, all members who contribute management are required to complete form CCC-902MR (management activity record). The farm manager should use the form to record management activities including capital, labor and agronomics, which includes crop selection, planting decisions, acquisition of inputs, crop management and marketing decisions.

One form should be used for each month and the farm manager should enter the number of hours of time spent for each activity under the date of the month the actions were completed. The manager also must document if each management activity was completed on the farm or remotely.

The records and supporting business documentation must be maintained and timely made available for review by the appropriate FSA reviewing authority, if requested. If the farm manager fails to meet these requirements, their contribution of active personal management to the farming operation for payment eligibility purposes will be disregarded and their payment eligibility status will be re-determined for the applicable program year.

In some instances, additional persons or members of a non-family member joint operation who meet the definition of farm manager also may be allowed to use such a contribution of active personal management to meet the eligibility requirements. However, under no circumstances may the number of farm managers in a non-family joint operation exceed a total of three in any given crop and program year.

In other news...

Changing bank accounts

FSA program payments are issued electronically into your bank account. In order to make timely payments, you need to notify your FSA servicing office if you close your account or if your bank information is changed for whatever reason (such as your financial institution merging or being purchased).

Payments can be delayed if FSA is not notified of changes to account and bank routing numbers. For some programs, payments aren’t made until the following year. For example, payments for crop year 2018 through the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage program aren’t paid until 2019. If the bank account was closed due to the death of an individual or dissolution of an entity or partnership before the payment was issued, please notify your local FSA office as soon as possible to claim your payment.

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Dates to remember

Feb. 18: President’s Day holiday. FSA offices closed.

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