NDSU Extension - Mercer County


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Producers Should Start Farm Bill Enrollment

Agriculture Risk Loss (ARC) program, Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, farm bill, farm bill enrollment

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

Crop producers/landowners will need to enroll in the new farm bill program by March 16. The program is an insurance program to aid in protection against price loss or county average yields. Producers will select which option for each individual crop based on the number of base acres they have per farm tract number. Producers have an opportunity to update their current PLC yields in this new farm bill program, but those yields will go into effect for the 2020 cropping year. Therefore, producers need to review their cropping history yields from the years of 2013 to 2017 to see if a PLC yield increase can occur. Producers will have until September 2020 to complete the updates. 

There are several reasons producers should visit their Farm Service Agency (FSA) office now to enroll in the Agriculture Risk Loss (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, says Andrew Swenson, North Dakota State University Extension farm management specialist.

“March 16, 2020, is the enrollment deadline for the 2019 crop year, but FSA offices have multiple programs competing for the available time and attention of their staff,” Swenson says.

“The longer a producer waits to schedule an appointment, the fewer options they will have to schedule a time and date that works best for them,” Swenson says. "Because of the importance and complexities of the ARC and PLC programs, producers should start the enrollment process now to ensure their elections are made and contracts signed ahead of the deadlines.”

If a producer fails to enroll by March 16, they will be ineligible to receive 2019 ARC and PLC payments.

There is no downside to enrolling now, as producers have the option of revising their ARC and PLC program election up to the March 16 deadline.

ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guaranteed level. PLC provides income support payments on historical base acres when the national marketing year average (MYA) price for a covered commodity falls below its effective reference price.

Producers have the option of either selecting PLC or ARC-County on a crop-by-crop basis within each FSA farm unit, whereas the ARC-Individual program option includes total crop base acres of the enrolled farms. The sign-up decision is for both the 2019 and 2020 crop years.

Swenson says that given current price projections, wheat base should provide payments under both PLC and ARC-Co, but PLC should be the best choice unless the farm’s payment yields are very low. PLC payments are more likely and should be higher for the 2019 crop year.

“It is likely that soybean base will not provide payments under either PLC or ARC-CO,” Swenson adds. “However, ARC-CO is the better choice for soybean base, because of the possible lower county average yields reported for 2019.”

“I cannot see a clear favorite for corn base; currently neither option looks favorable for 2019 crop year payments,” Swenson says. “The national MYA price would have to drop $.15 per bushel from the current projection of $3.85 before reaching the reference price of $3.70, below which PLC payments would be made. Given the current price projection, 2019 county average corn yields would need to be greater than 17 percent below the county’s benchmark yield to trigger an ARC-CO payment.

Currently, PLC is the clear choice for canola base acres and it also looks like the best option for barley and sunflower base.”

For more information on ARC and PLC, producers can download the NDSU ARC or PLC election decision tools excel spreadsheet at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/farmmanagement/farm-bill for further assistance producers can call their local county Extension office. Mercer County Extension office can be reached at 701-873-5195. Remember, the deadline to signup is March 16.

Source: Andrew Swenson, andrew.swenson@ndsu.edu


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