Programs Submission Response: LFP Software Availability

ISSUE:
LFP Software Availability

FACTS:
LFP software availability is being delayed for counties that have been declared eligible. 

Manual applications taken for LFP require second party review for correctness.  This results in triple man hours when you have taken the application manually, then loaded, then additional employee has second partied.  Manual applications also increase the potential for human error.

SOLUTIONS:
LFP software should be made available to counties immediately upon being declared eligible OR open the software to allow users to load applications regardless of county eligibility.  Payments are determined by a downloaded payment factor which will not trigger until the file is appropriately received from National Office anyway.  County Offices and their producers are very aware of the drought monitor and LFP eligibility.

NATIONAL OFFICE SOFTWARE  RESPONSE:
In 2016 it was determined that the LFP application software did not meet certain compliance requirements and the program underwent a rewrite to correct these compliance issues. When the rewritten program was released in December 2016, we discovered several bugs in the program that hadn’t been discovered in testing. One of the bugs involved updating the monthly payment rates for eligible counties. The software was not updating drought intensity factors, so the software was not calculating new payments based on the new drought intensity factors. Information Bulletin 8545 was issued in February to let the field know that there was a problem with updates.  Once corrections to the software were made, and extensive testing was completed to assure the problem had been fixed, Information Bulletin 8556 was issued on March 10, 2017 to notify the field that the problems with the LFP application software had been resolved and county eligibility had been updated.

“LFP Eligible Counties” report is updated on a weekly basis. The National Office receives the list of “LFP Eligible Counties” on Thursday of each week, and the “LFP Eligible Counties” report is usually updated by Friday or no later than Monday of the next week, depending on the number of eligible counties on the listing.  Once the LFP eligible counties are approved each week, our Program Delivery Branch website is updated with a link for the latest drought intensity factor for all eligible counties nationwide. The only official source for “LFP Eligible Counties” is found at this address under the heading “LFP”: http://fsaintranet.sc.egov.usda.gov/ffas/farmbill/ccc/. The link will reference the date of the latest data.

NATIONAL OFFICE POLICY  RESPONSE:
LFP applications should only be taken when a county has received notification that a forage type is eligible for LFP on the “LFP Eligible Counties” listing found at: : http://fsaintranet.sc.egov.usda.gov/ffas/farmbill/ccc/ for the specific grazing period.  No other report or listing authorizes eligibility.  So, if county offices are taking applications without their county and forage type being listed, then manual applications should be taken because the crop and county have not been officially approved for LFP.