USDA extends FSA farm changes

Now Media Group


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a one-time, 30-day extension to the June 1 deadline for recording farm organization structures related to Actively Engaged in Farming determinations. This date is used to determine the level of interest an individual holds in a legal entity for the applicable program year. Farming operations will now have until July 1 to complete their restructuring or finalize any operational change. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued the extension in response to farmers and ranchers who requested more time to comply, and to assure that everyone has enough time to provide their information under the new rules.

'Most farming and ranching organizations have been able to comply with the actively engaged rule,' said Vilsack. 'This one-time extension should give producers who may still need to update their farm structure information the additional time to do so.'

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said he was pleased with the 30-day extension.

'Just two weeks ago, Farm Bureau and other farm groups communicated to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack that our farmers needed more time to examine the business structures of their farms to ensure they could retain eligibility for farm programs,' Duvall said. 'We appreciate Secretary Vilsack's responsiveness to this request. During a period when our farmers are under increasing levels of stress due to lower crop prices and a farm economy that continues to be sluggish, this decision is welcome.'

However, the deadline is barely more than a month away.

'So farmers who need to make a status change in farm structure with FSA offices need to move forward with a sense of urgency,' Duvall said.

The 2014 Farm Bill provided the Secretary with the direction and authority to amend the Actively Engaged in Farming rules related to management. The final rule established limits on the number of individuals who can qualify as actively engaged using only management. Only one payment limit for management is allowed under the rule, with the ability to request up to two additional qualifying managers operations for large and complex operations.

The rule does not apply to farming operations comprised entirely of family members. The rule also does not change the existing regulations related to contributions of land, capital, equipment or labor, or the existing regulations related to landowners with a risk in the crop or to spouses. Producers that planted fall crops have until the 2017 crop year to comply with the new rules. The payment limit associated with Farm Service Agency farm payments is generally limited annually.