Iowa State University Extension and USDA's Farm Service Agency are offering a live update webinar explaining the new USDA 2014 farm program—the two options are called Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The webinar is titled "ARC & PLC Decisions: Update, Election and Enrollment" and is scheduled for live broadcast via the Internet on Monday July 21 at 7 p.m.
Participants will get an update on the new farm program, including the opportunity to update base acres and farm yields, then to elect and enroll a farm in one of the new farm program options—either Agriculture Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage. Farmers will be making those decisions in the near future.
Farmers will have to make a 5-year decision
Farmers, along with their landowners on rented ground, can make a one-time, unanimous and irrevocable election by FSA farm number for the life of the five-year farm program, says ISU Extension farm management specialist Steve Johnson. You'll choose either ARC or PLC and sign up for one of these programs for the duration of the 2014 Farm Bill. You won't be able to change your election from year to year.
The party at risk will then enroll annually in the ARC county, ARC individual farm, or the PLC program. If the farm is not enrolled in ARC or PLC for 2014, then it automatically defaults and can only be enrolled in the PLC beginning in 2015.
Speakers for the July 21 Webinar include ISU Extension economist Chad Hart and USDA's Iowa FSA chief program specialist Kevin McClure. The webinar will last approximately one hour. To tune in via your computer, log onto connect.extension.iastate.edu/anr. Contact the Polk County ISU Extension office at (515) 957-5760 with any questions.
Learn about the next steps in ARC/PLC process
The Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill) authorized the Agriculture Risk Coverage or ARC program and the Price Loss Coverage or PLC program, which are administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency. ARC/PLC provides revenue and price loss payments to eligible producers for the 2014 through 2018 crop years.
In early August FSA will mail all farm owners and operators a Summary Acreage History Report. This report identifies the acreage of covered commodities reported (for 2008 through 2012) to FSA for each farm for which a producer is currently on record with FSA. This report will also provide producers with the base acres and counter-cyclical yield as of Sept. 30, 2013.
Updating base acres, and farm yields
Here's a sampling of the types of questions that will be addressed on the July 21 Webinar. These questions and answers are provided by John Whitaker, state FSA executive director in Iowa, and Kevin McClure, chief program specialist for FSA in Iowa.
Question: What do I do once I receive my Summary History Report from FSA?
Answer: The Summary Acreage History Report will include the farm's 2014 base acres and current counter-cyclical yield as of Sept. 30, 2013 along with the "planted" acres, the acres prevented from being planted, and acres planted after failed or prevented acres (called subsequent acres) reported to FSA for all covered commodities planted on the farm for each year 2008 through 2012. Also, in approved double crop counties, both covered commodities planted will be included.
Immediately upon receipt of the Summary Acreage History Report, producers should thoroughly review the acreage data for each crop, year and farm outlined in the report. If the acreage history is accurate for the farm then no further action is required by the producer at this time. Additional information will be provided to producers once the reallocation software and forms are available in FSA county offices which may require producer input or action. However, producers who determine the Summary Acreage History Report is incorrect or missing data, should contact their local FSA county office to request corrections to the acreage history report. Do it sooner rather than later.
Question: Will the Summary Acreage History Report include ALL covered commodity acreage history?
Answer: If there was a, "break in tract history" meaning a producer, through FSA, made a change in tract structure when a tract division, combination and/or farm transfer occurred between 2009 through 2014,FSA's system was unable to pull the information for inclusion in the Summary Acreage History Report. The missing acreage history can be included and the local FSA county office staff can conduct a manual research of data to obtain missing acreage for each covered commodity on a farm and provide an updated history report.
FSA National Notice ARCPLC-5 is available online to the public and contains examples of how tract and farm structures and subsequent FSA manual research for updated data impact acreage history reports (see paragraph 2C of the Notice).
Question: Can a producer update bases and yields at the same time?
Answer: FSA is projected to launch their reallocation of bases/yield updates software in earl fall of 2014. In the meantime, producers should compile yield documentation by farm and by crop year (2008-2012) in preparation for the actual reallocation of base acres and counter-cyclical yield update process.
Question: How can I learn more about ARC/PLC? Are there web-based decision-making tools available for producers to reference?
Answer: FSA has published the initial benchmark prices for the ARC program and reference process for the PLC program online and will update the website monthly until the final date is published later in the year (final dates vary by commodity). To access the website and all related tools visit www.fsa.usda.gov, select Programs and Services from the top menu and then select ARC/PLC Program from the dropdown options.
Additionally, a side-by-side program comparison, quick reference tool is available here.
USDA hopes to publicize the final program and regulations for both ARC and PLC in the fall of 2014. As always you can visit FSA's Farm Bill website. Mark this site as a "favorite" and visit often for the latest in FSA federal farm program news and updates. FSA also recommends producers subscribe to GovDelivery – FSA's online news source. Producers can self-subscribe online or FSA service center staff will assist you in subscribing when you visit your local FSA office. Monthly updates and related announcements will be electronically delivered to you via email for 24/7 access to the latest Farm Bill information.