Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm from the government and I'm here to help

It was inevitable.

Purchasing a small acreage brings a little attention apparently. The Department of Agriculture sent me a nice little letter today asking for some information about me and my wife.

It seems the county office of the Farm Services Agency wants to know a little more about me, including, but not limited to my Social Security number (which is not part of the form - the bureaucrat drew a line and wrote "SS # here.")

The parcel I purchased was part of a farming operation which included a father and two sons operating four parcels. (That they combined the other three into one parcel when I know one of those was sold off convinces me that they don't know what they're doing.)

The FSA manages several programs including CRP, the Conservation Reserve Program, where land is idled and a "farmer" gets paid. Sort of like a welfare queen from the inner city. FSA also manages minority programs, works with the Commodity Credit Corporation for money to farmers, even grants through the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Oh boy, Pennies from Heaven!

I specifically searched for ground that was not in CRP or with soon-to-be-expired contracts. Why? What the government hands you with one hand, the other hand hits you with a club and I want no part in it.

While government handouts are enticing, especially in these times where I could be fired for saying management where I work is a pile of excrement once too many times. It sure would be nice getting money for not doing anything (similar to a couple of co-workers.)

But that would make me a hypocrite wouldn't it? How could I rant against a huge pile of national debt when my hand is in the till?

But what to do with this official government letter (is Comic Sans font professional?) requesting personal information so that an agency that I cannot support will do its damnedest to get me into? I don't give a rip about their crop surveys or grant programs. They can stuff those in their poop chute.

Form FSA-155 "Request for Farm Reconstitution." "Used to list all of the assets on the farm and farmland that a farm borrower possesses when reconstituting their farm." From the Federal code:
"In order to implement agency programs and monitor farmer compliance with regulations, the agency must have records on what land is being farmed by a particular producer. This is accomplished by a determination of what land or groups of land ‘constitute’ an individual unit or farm. "
"Compliance," there's that word again.

I'll have to choose my response:
  1. Ignore it (they won't go away, you know)
  2. Tell them I don't want their "free" money, advice, or supervision (again, they won't go away)
  3. Ridicule them enough so that they wouldn't want to go near that "crazy bald a-hole", or eventually get tired of him
Number 3 is probably where I'll be going since according to the form: "Furnishing the requested information is voluntary. Failure to furnish and file the requested information will result in the denial of further monies or other program benefits as required by existing law and regulations."

Uh, Okay. What's the penalty? The feds won't let me take corn to market next year? Maybe they will add me to the list of people in the War on Farmers. From form 155:
This information maybe provided to other agencies, IRS, Department of Justice, or other State and Federal law enforcement agencies and in response to a court magistrate or administrative tribunal.
A tribunal? Cool. Since the helpful bureaucrat filled out the Farm Identifier on the form, I guess by their definition I own a farm. If I don't fill this crap out, I won't get any "free" money that I don't want anyway.

I don't see what the downside is but I guess I'll talk to the little Gruppenf├╝hrer today - maybe...


Bawb said...

I'd probably just keep throwing those letters in the ol' circular file and ignoring them.

Eventually they'll probably call you on the phone, and then you can give 'em your two cents worth. Really loud.

strandediniowa said...

Bawb, I was too busy in a real job to call and why should I pay the dime to call them. Actually I might fill it in just like I did with the census. The minimum required.

Maybe I'll sign it with a big "NO THANK YOU" scrawled across the back.

Then I'll get labeled a troublemaker. I don't know if I want that...

TrueBlueSam said...

I work with several USDA offices in Illinois because of forestry related federal programs. The folks in FSA and NRCS are generally most concerned about helping landowners by sending money to them for planting, thinning, and etc. BUT, once you are in the system, you do have to play by their rules. I have seen a couple of cases where landowners decided to ignore the federal rules after they took money, and then you have the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers, US Justice Department partner up with you to manage your life properly.

strandediniowa said...

Dad received PIC in the early 80's and then couldn't get rid of them. Forms to fill out or questionnaires demanding more information each time.

In order to close out the estate with them the county FSA demanded the original death certificate. Not a copy - the original. Huh?

I don't want the money, or the hassle. Like you said, Sam, you gotta go by their rules.

Anonymous said...

Yup. I bought an acreage in Warren County. Shortly after that comes a notice from the USDA asking (demanding, no?) that I state ny house hold income, the % amount of ny household income derived from the ownership of the property, and so on. And so on.
Of course the government wants to know all about you.
It all leads to a more "efficient" way to rape you.
Just go along, don't resist and file "to my best knowledge" I don't recall".

strandediniowa said...

Dad received several of those kind of letters, Anon and he threw them in the trash.

After about the third or fourth letter came one demanding he respond. His replies were: "not enough", "too much", "very little", etc. to the questionnaire.

He didn't get another one.

What would we do without the feds?