Bumper Crop Of Meetings To Explain USDA's New Farm Programs

Bumper Crop Of Meetings To Explain USDA's New Farm Programs

Iowa farmers and landowners urged to attend local meetings to help make ARC, PLC and related decisions.

Iowa farmers and landowners will learn about the new programs authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the Farm Bill) at informational meetings conducted by Iowa State University Extension and local USDA Farm Service Agency staff members. Meetings are being held across the state this winter, beginning now in November, to explain options available under the new Farm Bill.

Actually, there is a bumper crop of farm program meetings—Iowa Farm Bureau also has a bunch of local meetings scheduled across Iowa beginning in late fall and going on into winter. There's more information about Farm Bureau's meetings at the end of this article. Here is what ISU Extension has going on:

PLAN TO ATTEND: ISU Extension farm management specialists have already started holding local meetings to explain USDA's new farm program options created by 2014 Farm Bill. Iowa Farm Bureau is also holding a series of farmer meetings across the state this winter.

Farm Bill Program Overview Meetings—ISU Extension's meetings will focus on the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) that will be administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency, and the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) administered by USDA's Risk Management Agency through federal crop insurance providers.

"Extension farm management specialists are prepared to discuss decisions farmers and landowners need to make in the coming months regarding Price Loss Coverage, and Agricultural Risk Coverage Individual and County options," says Chad Hart, ISU Extension grain marketing economist and program coordinator. "Local FSA staff members who administer the programs will be available to answer questions."

ISU Extension's goal is to help you make the right decisions
The timeline for when decisions need to be made along with information about online Farm Bill decision tools will also be shared at the meetings. Topics that will be covered during the meetings include:

Base reallocation

Yield updating

Price Loss Coverage (PLC)

Ag Risk Coverage (ARC)

Implications of PLC and ARC on participation in the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO)

Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP)

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)

Locate and plan to attend a Farm Bill program meeting near you

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Farm Bill meetings for November and upcoming months continue to be added to the ISU Extension and Outreach Statewide Calendar. For the most current listing of meeting locations and dates visit the Ag Decision Maker Farm Bill website or contact your county extension office. The Ag Decision Maker Farm Bill website also contains useful links and resources related to Farm Bill decision making. Contact a county extension office for additional details about upcoming local meetings.

Iowa Farm Bureau to hold farm bill enrollment meetings statewide
Similar to the ISU Extension meetings, the Farm Bureau meetings are designed to help Iowans navigate USDA's new menu of risk management programs.

In the next few months, farmers, landowners and Iowans with farm ties face many risk management enrollment decisions in the 2014 farm bill. With enrollment deadlines approaching and more choices and more decision options available than ever before, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is offering free informational meetings to help Iowans navigate their options.

The Agricultural Act of 2014, better known as the 2014 Farm Bill, offers several vital risk management tools which require enrollment in order to be 'locked in.' For example, the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or the Price Loss Coverage, (PLC) programs are both designed to provide a safety net for farmers in times of extreme market swings, but there are many options to consider before choosing which one of these programs is best for your farm. Once completed, all program enrollment decisions will be binding for the duration of the five-year Farm Bill program.

First step is to update your farm's base acre and yield information
In addition to risk management program enrollments, farmers and landowners will also have options to update their farm's base acreage and production history.  "Farms may have evolved over the years and yields have risen, so these things need to be updated in the Farm Services Administration (FSA) system to be sure farmers are best able to protect their long-range economic sustainability," says Dave Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services.

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"With the range of options available for farmers, the IFBF farm bill meetings are designed to help farmers and others visualize how each program will help them manage risk in the short term, as well as in the later years of the 2014 farm bill," Miller says. "We want to help farmers get a better idea of the longer term. In some cases, the program option that looks best for this year or next may not be the right one for the last two years of the farm bill."

A 5-year decision, determine the best option for your farm
The meetings will also help farmers determine which option is best for their location. "For example, a farmer with land in Kossuth County may find one program best suited to that location, but it could be a very different choice that would be best for a farmer with land in Lucas County," says Miller.

The Iowa Farm Bureau Farm Bill Decision meetings will also help attendees learn the online USDA-sponsored decision tools, so they can make program choices that best suit their individual needs. IFBF will host 32 meetings around the state from December 15, 2014 to February 3, 2015.  There is no cost to attend, but registration is requested.  A complete list and locations of the meetings can be found at www.iowafarmbureau.com. For additional questions call 515-225-5633.

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