The Importance of Filing Your Crop Acreage Report with USDA

Acreage reporting is the key to eligibility for many USDA programs, including crop insurance, disaster assistance, farm loans, and conservation programs. By providing accurate and timely data, you’re making a real impact on decision-making for agricultural policies, accessing risk management tools, promoting market transparency, and contributing to the future of agricultural growth.

Data for Decisions:

Your Crop Report provides vital information on crop production, yields, and acreage. Your accurate and timely information helps direct agricultural planning and resource allocation, and this helps the USDA make informed decisions on policies and programs that affect all of us.

Shaping Policies:

By filing your Crop Report, you actively influence agricultural policies, affecting commodity pricing, trade negotiations, and crop insurance programs. Your data helps policymakers see the bigger picture, identify trends, and predict supply and demand. In short, you have the power to influence policies that can benefit not just you, but the entire industry.

Risk Management:

Filing your Crop Report isn’t just about numbers and stats— accurate reporting helps you access valuable risk management tools like crop insurance and protecting your farm against unforeseen events. When disaster strikes, having the right data on your side can mean the difference between bouncing back and going bust. So, by filing your report, you’re proactively managing risks and safeguarding your livelihood.

Transparent Markets:

Crop reporting contributes to market transparency. When you share reliable data on crop production and stocks, you’re helping buyers, sellers, and traders make informed decisions. Transparent markets mean fair pricing, better market access, and efficient supply chain management. By filing your Crop Report, you’re supporting a more transparent and equitable agricultural marketplace.

Future Growth:

Your crop reporting data is important for researchers and experts who study agricultural trends and develop innovative practices. By sharing your insights, you’re helping shape the future of farming. From tackling climate change to optimizing resource allocation and boosting productivity, your contribution helps build a sustainable and thriving agricultural sector.

To file a crop acreage report, you need:

  • Form FSA-578 “Report of Acreage”
  • An FSA map of your farm or ranch and your tract and field numbers
  • The intended use of your crops
  • The number of acres of crops you are reporting
  • Approximate crop boundaries, planting patterns and dates, irrigation practices, producer shares, and other information as directed by your local Service Center.

If this is your first-year farming, you likely will not have an FSA map of your farm or ranch with tract and field numbers.  That’s okay! To get a farm number, submit proof of identity, a copy of your deed or leasing documents, and any entity documentation for your business (limited partnership, estate, or trust documents) to your local USDA Service Center.

What is reported on a USDA Crop Acreage Report?

  1. Crop types: The report includes the types of crops grown, including common commodity crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, and rice, and specialty crops including a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
  2. Acreage planted: The report provides information on the total acreage planted for each crop.
  3. Acreage harvested: It includes data on the acreage that has been successfully harvested for each crop.
  4. Crop yields: The report may include yield estimates, indicating the expected or actual crop production per unit of area.
  5. Crop condition: In some cases, the report may provide information on the general condition of crops, such as excellent, good, fair, poor, etc.

Continuous Certification for Perennial Forage (ie: your Grazing Ground)

If you have Grazing Ground, you have the option to report your acreage once, without having to report that acreage in subsequent years, as long as there are no applicable changes on your farm.

The Perennial Crop continuous certification process requires you to initially complete an acreage report certifying the perennial crop acreage. Perennial crops can include mixed forage and perennial grass varieties. You can select the continuous certification option any time after the crop is certified. Once the continuous certification option is selected, the certified acreage will roll forward annually and does not require additional action on your part in subsequent years unless the acreage report changes.

You can opt out of continuous certification at any time. The continuous certification will terminate automatically if a change in the farming operation occurs.

As always, subscribers to Ag Funding Assistance will receive convenient printable pdf forms, all program and contact information, and text message reminders 5 days prior to deadlines and closing dates to help you submit your Crop Acreage Report with your local FSA office.