July 15 is the deadline to certify spring-seeded crops, said Henry English, director of the Small Farm Program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Both traditional crops such as corn, cotton, grain sorghum, soybeans and rice as well as commercial vegetables should be certified. This includes okra, cantaloupes, cucumbers, watermelons, sunflowers and sweet potatoes.
Failure to certify makes it difficult to participate in disaster programs, English said. Many Farm Service Agency programs require that all cropland on a farm to be certified to earn FSA benefits.
In some cases, producers have gone to their local FSA office to sign up for a disaster program and found out there wasn’t a record of their crop being planted because farmers didn’t certify their crops, English said.
Some of the programs that require acreage reporting for participation include the Non-insured Assistance Program (NAP), Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP), Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Marketing Loan Program (MLP) and the Livestock Feed Program (LFP).
All crops planted by July 15 must be certified by that date, but if crops cannot be planted by then, FSA will consider them as “timely reported” if reported to FSA within 15 days after planting is completed. Timely certification verifies the acreage planted as well as any failed acreage and provides a history of crops planted.
Because of the lack of rain and potential drought conditions, English reminds producers to notify and file a notice of loss with their local FSA county office within 15 days of damage or loss to NAP crops.