Producers who have gone into county Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices to sign-up for the 2009 DCP farm program have found out that sign-up is more detailed and time-consuming than in the past. As part of the 2008 Farm Bill, USDA has implemented new payment eligibility and adjusted gross income (AGI) forms to be completed when enrolling in the DCP, MILC and other government farm programs. Farm program participants in 2009 will be required to complete either FSA Form CCC-9021 for individuals or Form CCC-902E for partnerships, corporations and other business entities. Each person in a farming operation who is eligible to receive farm program payments through FSA must complete this form.

The farm operating plan forms are much more detailed than in previous years, and ask for details on financing of farm operations, farm machinery and custom work, land rental contracts, farm labor and management. For partnerships, corporations, etc., the operating plans require a specific listing of the percentage of contribution by each individual, and require operators to provide a copy of documentation for the entity. Farm program payments will be assigned to the individuals in the farm entity rather than directly to that entity, and all program payment limits will be based on the individual.

A big change for 2009 farm program sign-up at FSA offices is with required Form CCC-926, which is the Average AGI statement that must be completed by all individuals, as part of tighter payment limit requirements in the 2008 Farm Bill. Producers must certify their AGI in four areas for tax years 2007, 2006 and 2005 in order to meet farm program payment eligibility. They must verify that average non-farm income was $500,000 or less to be eligible for DCP and MILC program payments, and that average farm income was $750,000 or less to receive DCP direct payments. Total AGI must be $1 million or less to qualify for conservation program payments, including CRP payments, unless at least two-thirds of that income was from farming operations.

Sign-up for the 2009 DCP farm program is underway at county FSA offices, and will continue until June 1, 2009. Producers may enroll in the DCP program now, and decide later on whether or not to enroll in the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) option. Since 2009 farm program sign-up is more detailed and complicated, producers are encouraged to do initial farm program sign-up before spring planting begins. Producers should attend FSA meetings, read FSA newsletters, mailings, etc., and gather necessary documentation, to be better prepared for farm program sign-up at FSA offices. Producers with questions on the new requirements, farm entities, adding or combining farm units or other details on farm program sign-up, should contact their county FSA office.

Acre Program Resources
One of the big decisions involved with enrollment in the 2009 farm program is whether or not to enroll in the ACRE program option. ACRE program sign-up has not yet started, but farm operators and owners will have until June 1 to make that decision for 2009. FSA offices do not have all the final details for the ACRE program; however, enough information and calculations are known regarding the ACRE program for producers to begin analyzing potential participation in ACRE. Following is some information that may be useful to you as you evaluate the ACRE decision for 2009 on your farms:

  • ACRE Program Information Sheet, written by Kent Thiesse
  • ACRE Program Table, prepared by FSA
  • ACRE Program Calculation Worksheet, prepared by Kent Thiesse

To receive copies of this ACRE program information, please contact Kent Thiesse via e-mail at: kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com

Following are some useful Web Sites for analyzing the ACRE Program:

Editor’s note: Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com.