The first deadline for the seed cotton program is this Friday, according to USDA Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Gary Six.
“If you don’t have any generic base, your signup deadline is September 28th, which is not far off,” Six says at the Southwest Council of Agribusiness annual meeting at Lubbock, Texas.
Growers with a generic base have until Dec. 7, 2018, to make their election, update yields and enroll. But Six warns no matter the deadline, there is no late-filing provision. “If you miss those dates, you miss getting into the program.”
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA) has certified seed cotton as a covered commodity under The Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs effective for the 2018 crop year.
While FSA has hired temporary employees to assist with the paperwork, Six encourages growers to visit their county office as soon as possible. “If you sign up today and you change your mind two weeks from now, you can withdraw that election, as long as you do it before the Dec. 7-deadline.”
In August, growers should have received a Summary Acreage History Report letter from their county FSA office. The summary includes 2018 generic base acres, along with the 2013 counter-cyclical yield. Six says, if your summary does not list a yield, a grower still has options.
“You may not have a yield in there, which means you're going to get the county average yield. But don’t panic. We have options to let you prove that up if you can. The main thing is getting there early enough talk to us, see if we can get you signed up and then if we need anything else, we'll have time to figure it out.”
FSA is also signing up growers for the Market Facilitation Program, a trade-support program for U.S. producers. Six says growers can apply for the program at their county office or online, through the authenticatedfarmers.gov portal, which allows growers to print, manage and track their application from the secure farmers.gov dashboard.
Corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, wheat, dairy, hogs, shelled almonds, and fresh sweet cherries are eligible to apply. When the program was first announced, the eligibility of silage was in question, but Six says, it will qualify when converted to a grain.
“The 2018 production is on the Market Facilitation Program, so you’ve got to wait until your harvest is in to apply,” says Six. “You've got until January 15th to certify your production. Now, you are subject to a spot-check if your production records don't look in line with everybody else in the county, but it's a certification on the producer's part. We don't require you to bring in your production records, but if you’d like to, we’ll take them.”