USDA Awarding $6 million To Prepare Farmers For New Farm Program

USDA Awarding $6 million To Prepare Farmers For New Farm Program

Universities and Cooperative Extension Service efforts across the country will help educate farmers about new farm program options.

FAQ: Sign-up for the new USDA farm and commodity programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill is scheduled to begin later this year and in early 2015. However, the education process to help farmers learn about the new program provisions is beginning this summer. Information is becoming available as USDA sets the rules and details to implement the programs. Will there be local meetings held in Iowa to explain the program options to help farmers make informed decisions?

NEW PROGRAMS, NEW DECISIONS: Implementation of 2014 Farm Bill continues as universities and Cooperative Extension Service will help educate farmers on making decisions as they prepare to sign up for new USDA farm program. ISU Extension will help answer farmers' questions and fill that educational need in Iowa.

Answer: The answer is "yes" there will be help available, beginning soon. Watch for announcements from your local USDA Farm Service Agency office and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach regarding upcoming meetings to explain the new 2014 Farm Program. There will also be websites offered by Extension with information and online decision-making tools farmers can use to help figure out which are the best farm program elections to make, for their particular farming operation. Local FSA office staff and ISU Extension farm management field specialists will also be available to answer specific questions.

Chad Hart, ISU Extension grain marketing economist, is heading a team of ISU farm management field specialists and others in ISU Extension as they are preparing for their role in this educational effort in Iowa. ISU Extension is continuing to work with Farm Service Agency farm program specialists in carrying out this mission.

USDA makes major commitment to help states in farm program effort
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on May 29 announced USDA is awarding $6 million to universities and cooperative state extension services to develop online decision tools and other materials and train experts to educate producers about several key farm bill programs. The new Web tools will help farmers determine what their participation in programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill will mean for their farm businesses.

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The University of Illinois (lead for the National Coalition for Producer Education or NCCPE, along with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute or FAPRI at the University of Missouri, and the Agricultural and Food Policy Center or AFPC at Texas A&M (co-leads for the National Association of Agricultural and Food Policy or NAAFP) will receive a total of $3 million to develop the new online tools and train state-based extension agents who can in turn help educate farmers.

New tools being developed to help farmers make best decisions
"Helping farmers and ranchers understand new Farm Bill programs and what the programs mean for their families is one of USDA's top priorities," said Vilsack. "With the resources we're providing, university experts will help ensure farmers and ranchers are highly educated as they make critical decisions about new programs that impact their livelihoods. The new tools that will be developed will empower farmers and ranchers to select the plan that best fits their unique needs."

The new resources will help farmers and ranchers make an educated choice between the new Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. Using the new online tools, producers will be able to use data unique to their specific farming operations combined with factors like the geographical diversity of crops, soils, weather and climates across the country to test a variety of financial scenarios before officially signing up for the new program options later this year. Once a producer enrolls in the ARC or PLC program, he or she must remain in the program through the 2018 crop year.

New tools will be provided for other new farm programs as well. Sign-up for the newly established Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP) begins late this summer and enrollment for "buy-up" provisions under the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) will begin early next year. An online MPP tool will be available when sign up begins and the NAP buy-up provision resource will become available to producers in the fall for the 2015 crop year.

Iowa State University Extension is also receiving some of this funding
The University of Illinois, as well as FAPRI and AFPC will develop ARC and PLC Web tools. The University of Illinois will also develop the online resources for the MPP and NAP programs.

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USDA will also award $3 million to state cooperative extension services—a nationwide network of experts based at land-grant universities such as Iowa State University—for outreach and education on the new Farm Bill programs. Funds will be used to conduct public education outreach meetings where producers can speak with local extension agents and Farm Service Agency staff. Outreach meetings will begin late this summer to help farmers and ranchers understand the new programs and their options.

While universities work to create new online tools, producers now have access to a preliminary website that gives them a chance to begin familiarizing themselves with the new programs and the type of information they will need to consider when deciding which program options work better for them. At this site, farmers and ranchers can view ARC and PLC projected payments, ARC guarantees, and PLC payment rate projections. These tables are available on the FSA website.

Farmers can now start familiarizing themselves about new programs
This farm program educational effort USDA announced on May 29 was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers, said Vilsack.

Since enactment of the 2014 Farm Bill earlier this year, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, Vilsack said. This includes providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

Partners to develop web-based decision tools: For the NCPE, University of Illinois as lead: Michigan State University, Montana State University, Watts & Associates, Delaware State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, North Carolina A&T University, University of Wisconsin, Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, Ohio State University, and University of Minnesota. For the NAAFP, FAPRI and AFPC as co-leads: Texas Tech University, University of Missouri, Iowa State University, University of Nebraska, Kansas State University, Mississippi State University, Oklahoma State University, Tennessee State University, University of Georgia, and Fresno State University. View a list of funding for state extension services.

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Implementation Timeline for Selected Farm Bill Programs

Mid-Summer - 2014

Late Summer - 2014

Fall 2014

Winter 2014

Early 2015

Producers receive letters notifying them of current bases and yields and 2009 to 2012 planting history.

MPP, ARC and PLC online tools become available. MPP enrollment for 2014 and 2015 begins. MPP owners have opportunity to update yields and reallocate bases for ARC/PLC purposes.

NAP buy-up online tools become available NAP buy-up sign-up starts.

ARC/PLC one-time selections occur.

ARC/PLC sign-up for 2014 and 2015 starts.

Visit www.fsa.usda.gov or the local FSA office for information about FSA and the 2014 Farm Bill programs.

TAGS: USDA Extension
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