USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday introduced preliminary details and planning options for farmers seeking crop safety net coverage as authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.
Producers may navigate to the USDA FSA website to review online tools designed in partnership with the University of Missouri, the University of Illinois and Texas A&M that will populate based on different selection scenarios. The two choices will be either Price Loss Coverage – which includes either an individual or county yield option – and Agricultural Risk Coverage.
If producers make no election, the Price Loss Coverage option will be automatically selected. Vilsack noted during a press call on the programs that an election cutoff date has not been determined, but early spring 2015 is the initial target, USDA said.
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In addition, owners of farms have a one-time opportunity to either maintain the farm’s 2013 base acres of covered commodities through 2018 or reallocate base acres among those covered commodities planted on the farm at any time during the 2009-2012 crop years, USDA says. This will be determined first in order to inform the PLC-ARC decision.
Producers should have already received 2013 base acre and planting history information via mail in order to make these decisions, Vilsack said.
"There's no one answer here," Vilsack said of the 2014 Farm Bill-authorized options. "This is very much an individual farmer-by-farmer, farm-by-farm and crop-by-decision."
Vilsack said the mix-and-match nature of the programs make for difficult decisions that will need to be considered by all parties involved in a farming operation. He notes that FSA staff has seen the final program details, and suggested producers work also with the online tool, farm bankers and other advisors to determine appropriate choices.
FSA offices will be open beginning Sept. 29 to discuss PLC and ARC details. Farmers may also begin making their elections on that date, but Vilsack again advised waiting.
"There are a multitude of variations that have to be considered … and you have to be comfortable with what you think the future might very well be when you're making this decision," Vilsack said. "You'll see in working these programs, that in some cases there can be tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars difference, depending upon the circumstance."
For more information on PLC-ARC options, visit the FSA website.