COVID-19 cases are currently surging in America’s heartland, putting the backbone of our agricultural industry in a perilous position. Though record numbers of people are inundating our hospitals, the work of America’s agricultural industry must press on. Crops still need to be planted and acres still need to be reported to the government. Their work and their health is paramount to a strong and vital economy.
Unfortunately, our current method of reporting crop acreage to the USDA — hours long waits in FSA offices to submit paperwork in person — put their health in jeopardy along with FSA employees as well.
At a time when distancing is proven to keep Americans safe and healthy, we’re encouraging the USDA to embrace a solution that can save lives and keep our economy strong: electronic acreage reporting. Congress has approved the implementation and the USDA has developed the technology. All that’s required is a decision from the USDA.
The Technology is Ready
Much like how TurboTax® was a game changer for income tax reporting to the IRS for millions of Americans, electronic acreage reporting is poised to revolutionize how American agriculture workers share their data with the USDA.
Cloud-based software combined with precision GPS technology has been widely used for years by the agriculture industry to obtain accurate acreage assessments. But despite these advancements in technology, the current system still requires ag workers to fill out paper forms and submit them in person, wasting time, money and risking potentially deadly exposure to COVID-19.
The Bill Has Already Been Passed
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic began claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans, Congress approved the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which included the Acreage Crop Report Streamlining Initiative (ACRSI) which approved the collection of electronic acreage reporting by the USDA.
The bill gave Washington a deadline of September 30, 2020 to implement a method for receiving acreage data electronically, but the request has been ignored. This common sense legislation was passed to save our agriculture industry time and money, and now with action from the incoming administration, it can save lives.
Revolutionary and Life Saving
As COVID-19 continues to surge, focusing on the health and safety of our families and our community is more important than ever before. Now is the time to complete and submit acreage reports from the comfort and safety of home.
The bill has been passed. The technology for electronic acreage reporting is tested and ready. We urge the USDA and the incoming administration to embrace this revolutionary and potentially life-saving solution and help keep our American agriculture industry healthy and thriving.
Photo by Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash.