Federal law requires that if you are enrolled in the USDA Federal Farm Program or purchase crop insurance you must report your planted acres to your local USDA Farm Service Agency office (FSA). The deadline is July 15th but farmers are encouraged to report their planted acres as soon as they finish planting. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the procedures this year are going to be pretty much the same as last year.

Pre-pandemic most farmers called their FSA office for an appointment and did the paperwork right their in the office. I talked with Mark Ritter County USDA Director in Steele County about the procedures before the CDA announcement about relaxing the mask mandates. I suspect even with that the USDA will not be changing their procedures for crop certification.

Mark said when farmers finish planting they can have the FSA office mail or email the maps for all their farms. They can fill in each field with crop planted, date planted and the farmers share of the crop and send or email them back to the FSA office. FSA staff with enter the data and then mail or email a form farmers need to sign. There is also a drop box outside the FSA office if that farmers can use.

Even when things get back to normal I suspect that many farmers will still do their crop reporting by email because it is so fast and easy to get it done. Listen to USDA County FSA Director Mark Ritter talk about crop certification and other programs and deadlines farmers need to be aware of.