What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
November 11: Office closed in observance of Veteran’s Day
November 25: Office closed in observance of Thanksgiving
December 6: Deadline to Return COC Ballots
December 15: Fall Seeded Crop Certification Deadline
March 15: ARCPLC Program Deadline

FSA Encourages Farmers and Ranchers to Vote in County Committee Elections
The 2021 Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections began on November 1, 2021, when ballots were mailed to eligible voters. The deadline to return ballots to local FSA offices, or to be postmarked, is December 6, 2021. County committee members are an important component of the operations of FSA and provide a link between the agricultural community and USDA. Farmers and ranchers elected to county committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level, applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on commodity price support programs; conservation programs; incentive indemnity and disaster programs for some commodities; emergency programs and eligibility. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.

To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program. A person who is not of legal voting age but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm, may also be eligible to vote. A cooperating producer is someone who has provided information about their farming or ranching operation(s) but may not have applied or received FSA program benefits. Eligible voters in local administrative area 3, which includes Center, Iowa, LaFayette, Lansing, Paint Creek, and Taylor townships, who do not receive a ballot can obtain one from their local USDA Service Center. Newly elected committee members will take office January 1, 2022.

Enrollment Begins for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs for 2022
Agricultural producers can now make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2022 crop year. The signup period opened Monday, Oct. 18.  These key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops. Enrollment for the 2022 crop year closes March 15, 2022.

2022 Elections and Enrollment
Producers can elect coverage and enroll in crop-by-crop ARC-County or PLC, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm, for the 2022 crop year. Although election changes for 2022 are optional, enrollment (signed contract) is required for each year of the program. If a producer has a multi-year contract on the farm and makes an election change for 2022, it will be necessary to sign a new contract. If an election is not submitted by the deadline of March 15, 2022, the election defaults to the current election for crops on the farm from the prior crop year.

Streamlining How You Find Information on Farmers.gov
If you’ve been to farmers.gov before, things may look a little different from the last time you were here. We’ve made some changes, to improve how you find information so that you can find what you need even more easily and efficiently. The big, green navigation bar near the top of every page – it’s different now. It opens up, to show descriptions and subtopics, making it quicker and easier to figure out what’s where and reduce guessing. Why? Two reasons: First, farmers.gov has grown a lot over the years and the old navigation wasn’t designed for the load. Second, because you asked for it.  We analyzed your comments through the “Feedback” button on the site and tested our new designs and information organization with real farmers and ranchers through surveys and live testing sessions. Along with the new website navigation, we restructured how our pages and topics are grouped and organized to help you easily access the information you need. We also relabeled some of our existing pages using more direct language. This means that pages or information you’ve used before may have different labels or be in new places.

Important changes:
• The old Fund page is now called Loans. The Loans page has information and resources about USDA loans, including the Farm Loan Programs.
• The Recover page is now Protection and Recovery. This page has information to help you prepare and recover from natural disasters, and to mitigate risk for your operation.
• The Conserve page is now Conservation. This page hasn’t changed much and still has information on how to implement conservation practices, improve and preserve natural resources, and address conservation concerns.
• The Manage page is now Working With Us. This page connects you with resources that tell you how USDA can help you start, expand, enhance, or improve your agricultural operation.
• The Connect page has been replaced with Your Business, a guide to USDA resources that cater to your specific operation.

Information that was on the Connect page has been moved to the Contact Us page and the Get Involved page. We are always updating farmers.gov based on your feedback and to stay up-to-date with important USDA announcements. We’ve recently created some new webpages, and updated some existing ones, to better equip you with the vital information you need. There are even more new pages coming soon, so stay tuned! For farmers.gov, we don’t guess what farmers and ranchers want from a website. We start by asking, then test our designs with volunteers who are also farmers and ranchers.
There’s a feedback button on every page of farmers.gov. Based on your feedback, we looked for ways to make our site easier to use and to build the information that you’re looking for. Live user testing sessions provide data, such as this heatmap, showing where testers tended to click during an exercise.

You helped us create the new navigation design, the new information organization, and told us how to speak using your words, and not legalese. Check out farmers.gov today!