USDA extends deadline for reporting 'Actively Engaged' data

By Daniel Enoch

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WASHINGTON, May 27, 2016 - USDA is giving ag producers an extra 30 days to report their farm organization structures related to “Actively Engaged in Farming” determinations.

Farm operations will now have until July 1 to complete restructuring or finalize any operational change. The old deadline was June 1. The information is used to determine the level of interest an individual holds in a legal entity for the applicable program year.

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USDA issued the extension in response to farmers and ranchers who requested more time to comply, and to assure that everyone has enough time to provide their information under the new rules.

“Most farming and ranching organizations have been able to comply with the actively engaged rule,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “This one-time extension should give producers who may still need to update their farm structure information the additional time to do so.”

The 2014 farm bill provided the Agriculture Secretary with the direction and authority to amend the Actively Engaged in Farming rules related to management, USDA said in a release. The department's final rule established limits on the number of individuals who can qualify as actively engaged using only management. The payment limit associated with Farm Service Agency payments is generally limited annually to $125,000 per individual or entity.

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The rule allows only one payment limit for management. However, large and complex operation can request up to two additional qualifying managers.

The rule does not apply to farming operations comprised entirely of family members. It also does not change the existing regulations related to contributions of land, capital, equipment or labor, or the existing regulations related to landowners with a risk in the crop or to spouses. Producers that planted fall crops have until the 2017 crop year to comply with the new rule.

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