Certify crops by July 15 to be eligible for disaster and other farm programs

Carol Sanders | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

1011498_43408410July 15 is the deadline to certify spring-seeded crops, said Dr. Henry English, director, Small Farm Program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). Certification is required to meet eligibility requirements for government farm programs.

Both traditional row crops such as corn, cotton, grain sorghum, soybeans and rice as well as commercial vegetables should be certified, he advises. This includes okra, cucumbers, watermelons, squash, southern peas and sweet potatoes. Producers must report each of their crops, intended use, acreages and planting dates.

Failure to certify makes participation in disaster programs nearly impossible, said 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 local 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, said Dr. English.

All crops planted by July 15 must be certified by that date, said Dr. English, but, if crops cannot be planted by July 15, FSA will consider them as “timely reported” if reported within 15 calendar days after planting is completed.

Dr. English reminds producers that their crop insurance and their FSA reports should be identical as they will be compared. If not, be prepared to provide a written explanation of any differences.

Also, Arkansas producers who could not plant because of excessive rains, high winds or flooding or who planted and their crops failed should file a notice of loss within 15 calendar days of the occurrence or when the loss becomes apparent, said Dr. English, who suggests calling the FSA office for an appointment.

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