July 15 crop certification deadline looms

Carol Sanders | UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences 

YellowSquashFBPINE BLUFF, Ark. – July 15 is the deadline to certify spring-seeded crops, says Dr. Henry English, director, Small Farm Program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Traditional crops, such as corn, cotton, grain sorghum, soybeans and rice, as well as commercial vegetables, should be certified. This includes okra, cucumbers, watermelons, squash, southern peas and sweet potatoes, said Dr. English.

Failure to certify crops makes participation in disaster programs nearly impossible, says Dr. English. Many Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs require that all cropland on a farm be certified to earn FSA benefits. In some cases, vegetable producers have gone to their FSA offices to sign up for a disaster program only to learn that no record exists of their crop being planted.

“This is because farmers neglected to certify their crops,” he said.

If crops cannot be planted by July 15, FSA will consider them as “timely reported” if reported to FSA within 15 calendar days after planting is completed. Timely certification verifies the acreage planted as well as any failed acreage and provides a history of corps planted.

Producers should notify and file a notice of loss with their local FSA office within 15 calendar days of any damage or loss to NAP crops.

If producers have not registered their irrigation wells and relifts, Dr. English urges them to stop by their local conservation office, usually located in the NRCS office, to do so and pay the $10 per well registration fee to avoid a $50 late registration fee.

Registration of wells and relifts is important as it establishes a history of usage. Should water usage become limited, allocation of water resources will depend upon history of usage, says Dr. English. If there is no history, no water will be allocated for that well.

To avoid wait times, producers are urged to call their local FSA office for an appointment to certify crops.

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