FSA Changes Key Definitions Impacting Family Farm Operations

The Farm Service Agency restored the previous definitions of terms like “active personal management, significant contribution, and related phrasing” in a rule regarding farm program subsidy eligibility and payment limitations. FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said the change is more of a “correction.” He says, “These revisions mean that members of a family farm operation are not subject to the more stringent management requirements applicable to farming operations comprised of non-family members established in the 2014 Farm Bill and further supported by the 2018 Farm Bill.”

USDA also says that the more restrictive definitions only apply to farming operations comprised of non-family members that are subject to a limit in the number of farm managers seeking to qualify as actively engaged in farming based on a contribution of active personal management alone, as it was established in the 2018 Farm Bill.

During an interview, Fordyce says, “It wasn’t our intention to bring family farm entities under the more restrictive provisions. It wasn’t Congress’ intent for us to do that.” The Hagstrom Report says the correction to the rule will be published right away in the Federal Register and goes into effect immediately.

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