The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed the Acreage Crop Reporting and Streamlining Initiative (ACRSI) “to establish a common USDA framework for producer commodity reporting in support of USDA programs.” USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) are participating. The goal of the initiative is to simplify acreage reporting by minimizing duplicate data reporting and entry, maximizing data use, and increasing reliability, accuracy, integrity, and completeness of the data.
While ACRSI allows sharing of common acreage report data for a select set of crops across all 50 states, it does not change any reporting requirements or deadlines for crop insurance or other farm programs. Farmers are still required to complete an acreage report with their crop insurance agent and certify their acreage with FSA. ACRSI crops for spring 2016 acreage reporting are alfalfa, peanuts, corn (field, sweet, popcorn), rice, cotton (upland, ELS), rye, CRP, sorghum (grain, non-grain, dual purpose), fallow, soybeans, grass, wheat (including Khorasan), and oats.
The key to successful ACRSI implementation lies in where the farmer first reports acreage data. Because the private-sector crop insurance infrastructure is better equipped to manage structural changes, from a staffing and IT standpoint, farmers are better served by first completing an acreage report with their crop insurance agent. By reporting to their agent first, farmers have the best chance of minimizing errors and achieving reduced paperwork and time savings. The common acreage report information reported to the agent – what was planted, when, where, and how many acres – is shared through ACRSI with the FSA county office and will be available when the farmer visits that office to complete all required FSA certifications.
Crop insurance has become farmers’ most important risk management tool in large part due to the private sector’s professionalism and efficiency. It is delivered by the private sector and these companies need to ensure the accuracy of the acreage and production they are insuring. At-risk, for-profit private companies enter into a financial contract with farmers and this fiduciary responsibility requires that companies and their agents receive and verify accurate acreage and production information. The industry is responsible for collecting accurate data and using that data in a manner that ensures an actuarially sound safety net for American agriculture.