The deadline to sign up for the new Farm Bill programs is only 2 weeks away, and most Hoosier farmers have made their decisions and are signed up. March 31 is the deadline to make any changes in your base acres and to update yields as well as to decide which option you want to choose for the new Farm Bill program. State FSA Director Julia Wickard says most Indiana farmers have made those decisions, “We are in that 75% to 80% range of producers who have come in and either made the decision to reallocate their base acres and yields or make the election as to which Farm Bill program they want to enroll in.” For the remaining 20%, Wickard said, if you do not make a decision and visit your county office to complete the paperwork, the decision will be made for you, “If a producer would decide not to make a decision by the March 31 deadline, then by default they would be enrolled in the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program.” She added they would also lose any payments for losses in the 2014 crop year.
Over 400 education meetings, seminars, and webcasts have been held around the state to help producers make the right decision. Wickard told HAT most growers who are coming to their FSA office are prepared, “We have seen that most of the producers who have come into our county offices have run the on-line tools that are available, and they have been able to make the decision as to which program fits their operation.” The use of electronic records has also made the sign up process faster and more efficient.
Wickard said one issue that may be slowing some producers down is obtaining the signatures of the many landlords that are often involved in an operation, “If for whatever reason those signatures cannot be obtained, we can offer an extension in some very limited situations.”
At Commodity Classic, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack indicated another possible extension could be granted if not enough producers signed up by the March 31 deadline, but Wickard says what she is hearing from Washington is that March 31 is a firm deadline. Two weeks ago the USDA extended the deadline to March 31 because some areas of the US had not had enough producers sign up for the program. While Wickard did not expect Indiana to reach 100% participation, she did expect many of the remaining producers to complete their paperwork by the deadline.
Overview of the ARC and PLC Options
The largest reform in farm safety net
programs came with the repeal of the
Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program
(DCP) and the Average Crop Revenue
Election (ACRE) program. However,
the new programs, Price Loss Coverage
(PLC) and Agricultural Risk Coverage
(ARC), are designed to help producers
better manage risk. Producers
have until March 31, 2015 to choose
between which of these programs best
fits their farming operation.
Dates associated with ARC and PLC
that farm owners and producers need
- Now through March 31, 2015:
Producers make a one-time election
between ARC and PLC for the
2014 through 2018 crop years.
- Mid-April 2015-through Summer
2015: Producers sign contracts for
2014 and 2015 crop years.
- October 2015: Payments issued for
2014 crop year, if needed.
USDA helped create online tools to
assist in the decision making process,
allowing farm owners and producers to
enter information about their operation
and see projections that show what
ARC and PLC will mean for them
under possible future scenarios. The
online tools can be accessed at www.