Vilsack announces Agricultural Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage updates
Crop farm owners may begin updating their yield history and reallocating base acres at their local Farm Service Agency county offices for the new farm program Sept. 29, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Sept. 24 during an event at th...
Crop farm owners may begin updating their yield history and reallocating base acres at their local Farm Service Agency county offices for the new farm program Sept. 29, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Sept. 24 during an event at the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus and in a national call to reporters.
At the event on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota, Vilsack thanked Minnesota Democratic Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and Democratic Reps. Collin Peterson and Tim Walz, all of Minnesota, for their roles in passing the farm bill and noted that the University of Minnesota will sponsor many events for farmers to learn about the crop and dairy programs this fall.
Producers may also make a selection between the Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs on Sept. 29, but Vilsack recommended producers not make that decision before consulting with bankers, crop insurance agents and other advisers and giving it a lot of thought.
“Technically, they can make the decision, but I would be surprised if any are in the position to do that,” Vilsack told reporters.
Details on the differences between the programs can be found in the rule and fact sheets provided to FSA offices.
Vilsack also encouraged landowners and producers to visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture website to use online tools.
Vilsack, who was visiting the University of Minnesota, noted he had watched “a run-through of the technology that is available.”
“It is a simple system on the computer, but there are multiple scenarios; there could be tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars difference.”
“This will take time to work the numbers,” Vilsack said. “As they work these tools, they will find differences. They can also factor in the Supplemental Coverage Option,” an additional crop insurance program.
“They might want to make different decisions from farm to farm,” he noted.
Vilsack said no deadline has been set for signup for the new programs, although the rule on the program published in the Federal Register on Sept. 25 says the deadline will be June 1.
The new programs cover the 2014 to 2018 crop years and are irrevocable except for wheat farmers, because they planted the earliest.
Making the choice
Vilsack stressed that landowners must make the decision about reallocation of base acres and that producers must make the decision about which program to sign up for.
He noted that the Farm Service Agency sent letters this summer to farm owners and producers urging them to analyze their crop planting histories in order to decide whether to keep their base acres or reallocate them according to recent plantings.
The programs cover wheat, oats and barley (including wheat, oats, and barley used for haying and grazing); corn; grain sorghum; long-grain rice; medium-grain rice; pulse crops; soybeans; other oilseeds; and peanuts.
Cotton, which was covered under the previous direct payments program, is not covered.
USDA provided $3 million to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri and the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M (co-leads for the National Association of Agricultural and Food Policy), along with the University of Illinois (lead for the National Coalition for Producer Education) to develop the new programs.
Vilsack said he considers the end of the direct payments and the establishment of the ARC and PLC programs to be “one of the largest farm policy reforms in decades,” and said the new programs will be much easier to explain to the general public.
“Farming is one of the riskiest businesses in the world,” Vilsack said in a news release.
“These new programs help ensure that risk can be effectively managed so that families don’t lose farms that have been passed down through generations because of events beyond their control,” he said.
“But unlike the old direct payment program, which paid farmers in good years and bad, these new initiatives are based on market forces and include county - and individual - coverage options. These reforms provide a much more rational approach to helping farmers manage risk.”