USDA extends deadline to report spring-seeded crops

Minnesota farmers affected by flooding and wet conditions now have extra time to report spring-seeded crops to their Farm Service Agency county offices and crop insurance agents. It’s a move intended to help keep farmers eligible for key federal programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials say.

The USDA announced this week that it is extending the reporting deadline from July 15 to July 22. The new deadline applies to farmers in a dozen states, including Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin.

“These are challenging times for farmers, and we are here to help,” said Bill Northey, USDA undersecretary for farm production and conservation. “This deadline extension is part of our broader effort to increase program flexibility and reduce overall regulatory burden for producers who are having to make some tough choices for their operations.”

Filing a timely crop acreage report is important for maintaining eligibility for USDA conservation, disaster assistance, safety net, crop insurance and farm loan programs, the USDA said Wednesday. A crop acreage report documents crops and their intended uses.

The deadline change was a move that would help Minnesota farmers, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Tina Smith said Friday. Both senators urged farmers to talk to their local FSA office or crop insurance agent by July 22.

“Our farmers are the backbone of our economy, and we must do everything we can to help them during severe weather challenges like those they’ve experienced this spring,” Klobuchar said. “Extending the deadline to report crop acreage offers farmers more flexibility on delayed plantings and other fieldwork while ensuring they still qualify for critical USDA programs.”

“This has been a tough few years for farmers, and we need to make sure we are doing our part to give them the resources they need,” Smith said. “I’m pleased to see the USDA extending its deadlines for crucial programs and I encourage all Minnesotan farmers to take advantage of the new filing deadlines.”

The new July 22 reporting deadline applies to agricultural producers in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

“While producers in many parts of the country are experiencing a challenging spring and early summer, these states are seeing an especially large number of producers delayed in planting and unable to complete their other fieldwork,” Northey said.

Farmers in states not on the list have to file reports or be added to a county register by July 15, the USDA said.

“We encourage you to contact your FSA county office today to set up an appointment,” Northey said. “Our team is standing by to help you complete this important process that keeps you eligible for key USDA programs.”

Acreage reports from producers in states affected by the deadline change who set up appointments before the July 22 deadline will be considered timely filed, even if the appointment is after the deadline, the USDA said. Reports from farmers in other states who set appointments before July 15 will also be considered timely filed.

The reporting deadline change is one of a few different measures the USDA has taken to help American farmers this year. Those measures have included extending the deadline to report prevented planting acres in certain places, setting an earlier haying and grazing date for producers who planted cover crops on prevented planting acres, and offering sign-ups through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for assistance to plant cover crops.