USDA published a request for comments “to help us improve services and reduce duplication of effort, including collecting information from the public.” The Federal Register Notice is available on the NCC’s website at www.cotton.org/issues/2011/upload/11fedregisterUSDA.pdf.

The Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS) agencies including the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Risk Management Agency (RMA) have been working on a joint, coordinated initiative to have a common USDA framework for producers’ information reporting to participate in certain USDA programs. FSA and RMA have worked in coordination with the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on the common reporting process.

The Acreage and Crop Reporting Streamlining Initiative (ACRSI) is a new initiative to simplify commodity, acreage and production reporting by producers; eliminate or minimize duplication of information collection by multiple agencies; and reduce the burden on producers, insurance agents, and approved insurance providers. FSA and RMA are implementing a web-based single source reporting system to establish a single data collection and reporting in the initiative. FSA and RMA are also improving the existing Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved information collections for FSA and RMA, 0560–0004, Report of Acreage, and 0563–0053, Multiple Peril Crop Insurance, respectively.

Currently, commodity, acreage and production information is generally collected from the respondent during a personal visit to the FSA Service Center and again from the respondent during a personal visit to the insurance agent. The forms still will be available to accommodate respondents with no Internet access and those who wish to continue to personally visit the FSA Service Center and insurance agent to report the information.

When a web-based single system is fully implemented, respondents will be allowed to report the information once. The information also will be shared by FSA and RMA, as well as other USDA agencies, such as NRCS and NASS that have the authority and need for such information. In each phase of system implementation, some or the entire commodity, acreage and production information in the existing approved information collections will be reported via a web-based single source reporting system. The respondent will only have to report it one time through a single source thereby reducing the respondent’s burden of reporting such information and eliminating the duplicate reporting that may be currently required. The information will then be shared with the other agency without having the producer personally visit both offices.

FSA and RMA anticipate that producers will be able to use their precision-ag systems, farm management information systems or download data files to directly report commodity, acreage and production information needed to participate in USDA programs. The information being collected will consist of, but not be limited to: producer name, location state, commodity name, commodity type or variety, location county, date planted, land location (legal description, FSA farm number, FSA track number, FSA field number), intended use, prevented planting acres, acres planted but failed, planted acres and production of commodity produced.

FSA and RMA will implement the web-based system in phases until fully implemented. USDA is requesting comments on all aspects of this information collection initiative and will consider comments received by Sept. 19, 2011.

For more information -- for FSA, contact: Tony Jackson at (202) 720–3865; for RMA, contact: Pat Engel at (202) 720–8812.