Continuing Resolution Vote and NASCOE Preparations Hunter Moorhead, Legislative Consultant November 19, 2019
By a vote of 231 to 192, the House of Representatives today passed the continuing resolution to keep the government open through December 20, 2019.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a floor statement today that the Senate will pass the continuing resolution and President Trump will sign it.
The Leader also mentioned that talks continue regarding completion of the fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills. As a reminder, the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have both passed the Agriculture Appropriations bill. We are hopeful the two draft measures will be finalized before the December 20 deadline.
Although we have no indication a government shutdown is anticipated, Chris Lary, National Benefits/Emblems Chair, has been taking a proactive role to prepare in case there were to be a furlough. Many employees have been contacted regarding what worked well last time and what didn’t work so well. She has complied information in order to help mitigate the impact of a furlough.
The employee checklist for furlough has been reviewed, web links have been viewed and verified and NASCOE is prepared should the need arise to get membership information to assist them.
Please make sure your State President has your current home email address so that you will receive this information timely.
We will kick off the convention on Saturday, August 8th with tours taking place on Sunday, August 9th. The meetings will start on Monday and continue through Wednesday. The banquet will be held on Wednesday evening.
Registration for the convention is still in the works, but we wanted everyone to have a chance to go ahead and reserve a room.
In our continual dedicated efforts to always serve our members with maximum value we are excited to announce that we have just partnered with LiveStreamingFitness.com as our “official” online healthy lifestyle resource!
Why did we do this? Because you and your family matter to us! We believe that every one of you should have affordable access to resources like fitness, nutrition and cooking to serve you and your family in living your healthiest life. LiveStreamingFitness.com is an on-line healthy lifestyle platform that includes live streaming and on demand fitness, nutrition and cooking shows available 24/7 in a safe and interactive community of professionals and individuals promoting the best version of a healthy you.
On top of that, WE NEGOTIATED ON YOUR BEHALF…a membership like this normally costs $99 per year. For only $49 per year, with your NASCOE promo code**, you will have full access to these amazing resources! Also, get EXTRA FREE MONTHS if you hurry and enroll before December 1st; your membership will be valid through the entirety of 2020!
**Get the NASCOE Program Code from your state Benefits Chair
Check out the information below to enroll and let’s get started living our healthiest lives together!
County Office Employees are facing challenging times. You are administering more programs from
various software platforms than ever before.
You face these challenges head on each day with fewer employees than we
have ever had. NASCOE understands you
are struggling to meet the daily demands of providing an ever-increasing array
of programs while maintaining the same quality of service your customers expect
Your NASCOE team has worked diligently with the FSA Administration to
increase staffing in field offices. We
supported the development of a work measurement tool to support our case for
additional staffing, however the administration continues to withhold the full
results of the workload model. Members
of Congress have also requested on multiple occasions and been denied this
information from the Department.
NASCOE continues to work with concerned members of Congress to provide
additional funding for FSA salaries and expenses. Congress has responded and provided their
support. They are concerned about the
American Farmers who depend on you to deliver the farm programs passed by Congress
to help keep rural America strong. Due
to these concerns, both Houses of Congress have recently held hearings on the
2018 Farm Bill Implementation. They have
asked the tough questions regarding FSA county offices being properly staffed
so employees have the ability to administer these farm programs.
On September 19, 2019, Under Secretary Bill Northey testified at a joint House hearing of the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee and Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee to Review the Implementation of Federal Farm and Disaster Programs. You can view the hearing by clicking on the following link.
The hearing is 3 hours long so you may want to skip ahead to the following points
indicated below to hear the items that best reflect the issues that NASCOE has
been working closely with members of the House on:
1:06 – Congressman Peterson – Staffing concerns and part time offices
1:12 – Congressman Conway – 2018 Farm Bill implementation
1:15 – Congressman Peterson – Employment application process
On October 17th, Deputy Secretary Censky provided testimony and
answered questions at a hearing held by the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and
Forestry Committee on implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill. Below is a
link to the page where you can watch this hearing.
You may want to skip to the following times which highlight the committees
concerns about the status of FSA staffing:
0:36 – Senator Hoeven – FSA office staffing
1:21 – Senator Hyde Smith – Asks questions concerning the
current law prohibiting the closure of any FSA county office without prior
congressional approval, and prohibiting the relocation of any staff that
results in an office with two or fewer employees
FSA programs are discussed at various points throughout both hearings. Please take time to look at
the clips from the hearings to see how NASCOE and Congress are working together
to address these concerns with USDA. We
believe you will find that Congress is very aware of the lack of hiring
going on in FSA across the nation. You will also see how much Congress
appreciates the work that our members do for American agriculture in county
offices across this nation each day.
When adding acreage information when in the bulk copy setting, you have the ability to select a field number that has the acreage already reported on it.
Being able to select a field that has already been information on it causes an error message to appear after you have tried to add the bulk copy, but will only tell you one field at a time that has already been completed(if you have multiple fields that have already been completed in the review screen, it will only show one field at a time that needs to be changed). This causes more time being taken to remove the field that already has information on it.
I think it would be very beneficial to have an error message that states all the fields that have the crop information already on them and see if you want to continue or cancel the submission.
I will add this to the list of IT enhancements for consideration.
It would be extremely helpful to the county office if we could have a section on the 578 that lists the Producer’s share of the acres. For example, John Doe has 2 farms, Farm 1 @ 100 acres and it is 100% his. Farm 2 @ 250 acres, but it is on a 50/50 share. This year, John Doe plants all of his acres to corn. On the 578 it lists 350 acres of corn. But John’s share is 225 acres.
I’m not sure if there are any facts other than CARS does not generate a report or 578 that lists the producer’s share of the acres he/she farms. But MFP and other programs are calculating the producer’s share of the acres.
Update CARS to have a report of the producer’s share of the acres by crop he/she farms and list the producer’s share of the acres by crop on the FSA-578.
I believe this can be accomplish using the EDW producer crop detail report. This is not a canned report so the user will need to export the data and query information for the specific producer.
To obtain the FSA-578C Continuous Certification form in CARS, an acreage report must be certified before the form can be printed.
According to 2-CP par 35, continuous acreage certification was developed to streamline the acreage reporting process and reduce producer visits to the County Office as well as reduce network congestion. A lot of times, acreage reports are taken over the phone and printed for when the producer stops by to sign. In order to get the 578C continuous coverage form that goes with the acreage report, some County Offices are certifying the acreage report, printing the form, then removing the certification dates after the form has been obtained. In doing this, incorrect dates could potentially be entered back into the system. A blank form can also be obtained from the FSA forms site but County Office staff must input all pertinent information when all of this information is already located in CARS.
In doing this, it is only an attempt to provide the best customer service to our producers.
Remove the mandatory certification date in CARS in order to obtain the FSA-578C. The producer is not signing up for continuous certification until they mark “Yes” in the boxes on the 578C and sign.
Policy requires at least one field of the crop, type, and intended use to be certified. Because of this CARS requires the certification in order to obtain the FSA-578C. I will work with policy to see if this functionality can be changed to not tie the printing of the FSA-578C to the continuous signature date.
CARS-after removing a producer either as other tenant or owner in farm records, the producer still remains on the acreage report when the crop rolls over.
If a PT or farmer is not paying attention during the certification process the wrong producer gets the share if the crop rolls over.
When an edit in farm records removes the producer and you hit refresh farm data in CARS it should automatically delete any fields that the removed producer gets a share of. Just like it does when a field edit is done.
Current software requires 100 percent shares to be loaded. I will add this to the list of IT enhancements for discussion and consideration.
I absolutely love the auto populated initials on the 578, but I had an incident this morning where my producer spilled his Dr. Pepper on the farm folder after it was signed. I went in to the software to print a new 578 to resign the one that took place of the destroyed copy. When I went to print without revising, it put my initials down as a revision.
All revisions have to be documented in the COC minutes according to 2-CP. When initials are placed on a 578 as a revision, it will make it look like an erroneous revision.
Adjust the CARS software to read if a field was truly revised or if it is just a reprint.
I will add this item to the list of IT enhancements for discussion and consideration.