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Changes to acreage reports and crop insurance

STEVE JOHNSON 05/02/2012 @ 11:09am Farm Management Specialist with ISU Extension housed in Polk County, Iowa. Areas of expertise include crop marketing, grain contracts, government farm programs, crop insurance, farmland leasing and other crop risk management strategies. Reach Steve by e-mail at sdjohns@iastate.edu.

Everyone who plants an insurable crop should be keeping track of what date you plant each field and how many acres were planted to that crop. That information has to be reported to your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office on FSA Form 578; the acreage report.

Some 2012 acreage certification and crop insurance changes to keep in mind:

  • July 15 is the deadline for acreage certification for spring planted crops

  • Crop insurance billing date of August 15 – a penalty will attach for late payment of premiums not received by October 1

  • In certifying acres, the farm operator needs to report crops planted, practice (irrigated vs. non-irrigated), number of acres and planting date

  • FSA Form 578 needs to include the farm serial number, tract number and field number

  • FSA assigns each field a unique identifier called a Common Land Unit (CLU).

Across the Corn Belt, hundreds of thousands of farmers are finding that acreage reporting just got easier. However, many farmers can now report this data while viewing a map of each field boundary. CLU data is contained in the USDA’s Comprehensive Information Management System.

Approved Insurance Providers represent the crop insurance industry and they have access to this data and are already using it to assist clients. Some early findings indicate the crop insurance agents working with clients may be able to speed up the process of acreage certification and provide more accuracy.

Advantages of CLU Information

The initial intent of CLU reporting was for USDA agencies like the FSA and the Risk Management Agency (RMA) to have consistent information. Heading into the third year of this nationwide effort, producers are beginning to see some real benefits:

  1. Easier and likely more accurate, tracking of data using maps versus using just alpha numeric data.

  2. Map-based information can be compiled immediately following planting in advance of acreage certification with FSA and filing FSA Form 578

  3. It is easier for crop insurance adjusters to verify policies, adjust claims and make indemnity payments when viewing map-based information.

  4. CLU information integrates well with precision technologies and the use of planter and yield monitor data for reporting


Since the crop insurance billing date has been moved up to August 15, providing a copy of that acreage report well in advance of the July 15 deadline will assure timelier crop insurance data entry and receipt of your premium notice. The 2012 crop insurance premium is due in September. Anything received after October 1    incurs a penalty.

Consider working with your crop insurance agent in advance of acreage certification. This might provide an opportunity to use CLU information and move to map-based reporting. A farmer that has added additional land for 2012, or perhaps their FSA office has not assigned CLU identification to each field, may see additional time during acreage certification.

Contact your local FSA office regarding acreage certification and completion of FSA Form 578. Contact your crop insurance agent should you have particular questions or concerns regarding your coverage or potential access to CLU information and map-based reporting opportunities.

Source: USDA Risk Management Agency-Informational Memo IS-12-002 & Iowa Crop Insurance Providers, April 2012.

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