NDSU Extension - Mercer County


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2014 Mercer County Crops Day/Farm Bill Workshop

Crops Day, Farm Bill

Submitted by Craig Askim, Extension Agent, Agriculture and Natural Resources


The annual Mercer County Crops Day will be held December 18 at the Beulah Civic Center. The event will start at 9:30 a.m. with NDSU specialists presenting educational information on Vomitoxin in Grains, In-Season Fertilization Options, and Weed Management. The afternoon program will feature Mercer County Soil Conservation District program updates and around 1:30 p.m. there will be an informational session discussing the 2014 new farm bill. The event is free and open to the public. Please call 701-873-5195 if you plan to attend for a meal count.

The new farm bill is surely different than any past farm bills. This farm bill will require the landowners and renters to be in 100% agreement with the options they choose to sign up their farms/units. This farm bill is not a one size fits all bill. In fact, it is very likely that each farm number/unit you farm under will have a completely different outcome when compared to other farm units in your operation. The first thing producers/landowners need to do is to make sure your base acreage/yield information is correct for each individual farm using 2009 to 2012 planted acreage. This information must be corrected at your local FSA office before February 27, 2015. The second step of the process is to communicate with all parties involved in the operation. If a name is listed on any type of trust, rental agreement, etc. all parties must be in agreement.

Another factor to think about with this farm bill is that you are signing the farm (unit) up for five years and no changes can be made once the farm is signed up. Any agreement made with other parties within that five year time frame are stuck with the agreement that is in place.

Producers basically have two options: 1) sign up for the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or (2) sign up for the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC). The PLC provides payments when crop prices fall, while ARC protects against falling revenue and is available in the county level or the individual producer level.  To make it more interesting a producer for each individual farm/unit could sign up one crop under PLC and a different crop under ARC. The deadline to sign-up and choose options is March 31, 2015.

The right decision will be very hard to determine because the variable yields and prices will be largely dictated by weather and markets within the next five years. Both options in the farm bill give producers a financial safety net but one protects against falling market prices and the other protects against falling revenue. Which option is best can only be determined on an individual farm basis.  There are many questions to be asked and answered before a decision can be made on what option is in your best interest.  With this farm bill everyone must do their homework, communicate, educate themselves and with all parties involved to make the best decision possible.  If you choose not to do your homework ahead of time you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.

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