“I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman’s cares.” – John F. Kennedy

For those of you that attended the February 7th crop update meeting in Fargo and stayed awake during my speech titled “What We Learned”, it is truly shaping up to mimic the same conditions of 2019.  Some areas are worse and some better.  If you remember the agency weather forecaster called for a cool wet spring (late planting) in the East and a dryer, hotter spring in the West.  Of course, there are exceptions to this (it was a forecast) but generally that is what we are seeing across the state.

  • In the counties of Richland, Cass, and Wilkin, planting started on tiled ground 4/30. Most of the sugar beets and wheat are in, corn is about 70% planted, and soybeans roughly 50%.  I expect roughly 20% of acres to be unseeded in these counties as it tends to get wetter as you head west.
  • In Dickey, Lamoure, and Sargent tiled ground has again been planted first. They are battling tough roads and infrastructure to maneuver around.  We are expecting roughly 50% unseeded in these areas.
  • In Barnes and Stutsman, we are expecting 50%-70% unseeded.
  • North of interstate very little has been seeded, conditions are improving daily and we are expecting 50%-70% unseeded.
  • Bottineau county has pockets with very little seeded and we are expecting 70% unseeded. Ward county seed bed ranges from very good, to average, to unseeded. We are expecting 30% unseeded.
  • The further West we travel, the dryer the ground conditions become. This will be the highest seeded acreage in our agency.

I am forecasting 200,000-300,000 of unseeded acreage within our agency!  Of course, this can all change with the weather, but I have always said to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

We are approaching the final plant date for small grains and corn.  Depending on your county, it will either be May 25th, or May 31st.  Your agent will be calling you on this date or close to this date to report potential PP claims for these crops and we will do the same for the beans on or around June 10th.

We are anticipating a very slow response from FSA as to the turnaround for 578’s.  In anticipation of this, we are working with our companies and on procedures to accurately and timely report acres and get any potential PP claims paid.


FSA Update

Our office continues to make weekly calls to both state FSA and Senators to update them on the progress, or lack of, in issuing WHIP + payments. This last week we have seen some meaningful movement in regards to working and issuing claims but I believe there are way more claims out there than FSA realizes.  They prioritized ARC/PLC signups, then into CRP signups, and lastly WHIP applications.  Then Covid-19 hit and now we will be into certifying acres, which I believe they will prioritize ahead of WHIP.  For those who did not update yields or were told they could not, that will be a priority since the deadline is in September.  With the passage of CFAP, FSA is supposed to be taking applications starting May 26th.  In short, FSA is rotating employees due to Covid-19 and being inundated with programs that they are unable to keep up with. You will have to be your own advocate in ushering through your applications for disaster assistance as well as your 578’s.


Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

This program was established to help all agriculture affected by Coronavirus.  When the details of the language were vetted there was a robust bipartisan effort to correct the shortcomings in the dates, payment caps, and to simplify the formulas. The final result addressed none of the suggested corrections to the shortcomings.  This was truly baffling since it had such widespread bipartisan support from both majority leaders to correct.

Our friends at Texas A&M, Bart Fischer and Joe Outlaw (who was one of the guest speakers at our crop meeting in February), have prepared a document to help us navigate this new program.  Congress is expected to approve another Covid-19 agriculture relief package sometime over the next couple of months. This package is only part of what is believed to be a larger more comprehensive response. Click here for complete overview.

We may not know all the answers, but if you have any questions please contact us and we will do our best to help guide you.