The Farm Service Agency (or FSA) is a branch of the USDA that primarily oversees a number of conversation programs. In their own words, the purpose of these programs is to address issues including:
- Drinking water protection
- Reducing soil erosion
- Wildlife habitat preservation
- Preservation and restoration of forests and wetlands
- Aiding farmers whose farms are damaged by natural disasters
Of the many programs the FSA oversees, one of the most well known is the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
CRP allows farmers and landowners to take sensitive or underperforming land out of active production and establish plant life that will improve environmental quality. In exchange for doing so, the landowner receives yearly rental payments from the government, in addition to cost share reimbursement.
The FSA handles the administration for CRP, making them the face of the program. That means when someone is looking to enroll in CRP, they’ll be dealing directly with FSA. This includes the initial application, as well as the submission of reports for cost-share reimbursement.
A Brief History of the FSA
The FSA traces its origins back to an organization called the Resettlement Administration (RA). The RA was born of the Great Depression, officially established by the New Deal on May 1, 1935. The initial job of the RA was to move struggling farmers and workers from damaged and underperforming land to more thriving locations.
The RA generally fell short of their ambitious goals, often lacking proof to support their plans. After continuous criticism, they were dissolved into the Farm Security Administration. Though this organization was also known as the FSA, it is not the same as the FSA we have today.
Like the RA, the Farm Security Administration continued to assist poor farmers in relocating to better land, but it’s probably best known for its photography program. The old FSA spent nearly a decade capturing raw, stunning images of the lives and struggles of rural farmers. Though their photos are still appreciated to this day, their other initiatives were less successful.
The Farm Security Administration was ultimately dissolved in 1946.
Over the course of the following decades, different organizations would rise, fall, and merge. While the initial focus of these various agencies was to handle poor farmers facing hard times, they also began to support conservation methods, helping restore health to sensitive land.
Eventually, this would become their primary goal.
In 1994, the USDA went through a major reorganization, merging the Consolidated Farm Service Agency, Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, Farmers Home Administration and Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service to create the Consolidated Farm Service Agency. A year later, the name was shortened to simply Farm Service Agency.
In addition to managing CRP, the FSA provides support to farmers in need through loans, payments, and disaster relief programs.
Working with FSA for CRP
If you’re looking to enroll in CRP or CCRP, you’ll be working directly with the FSA throughout the process. In addition to managing the enrollment process, they require proper documentation and reporting for cost-share reimbursement.
Failure to properly follow the requirements can result in delayed payments and other issues. Unfortunately, paperwork for CRP can be a little complicated. We can help with that.
At FDCE, we’ve developed a great working relationship with FSA, learning the in’s and out’s of what they need so that your CRP establishment goes as smoothly as possible. Of course, we don’t just do the reporting.
We go beyond the typical CRP service contractors, offering a turnkey solution that handles the process from start to finish including seed purchasing, planting, herbicide, and report submission. Contact us today.