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Capitol Hill

USDA Sets Key Deadlines for New Farm Bill Programs

By Lindsay Kennedy & Chris Cogburn I

N EARLY OCTOBER, THE U.S. Department of Agriculture released a set of important dates for farmers

regarding the new programs Agricul- ture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) established by the 2014 Farm Bill. Growers must elect ARC or PLC in

a one-time decision effective at least through 2018 when the current farm bill expires. ARC protects against fall- ing revenue, while PLC provides pay- ments when crop prices fall below levels set in the farm bill. Producers

will have through early spring of 2015 to select which program works best for their businesses. Farm owners have been able to up-

date their yield history and/or reallo- cate base acres at their local Farm Ser- vice Agency (FSA) office since Sept. 29. However, our understanding was that FSA employee training on these programs did not start until late Oc- tober, so many growers are likely just now starting that process. While not all of the data has been released at press time, USDA’s Risk

Management Agency (RMA) has re- leased SCO information for sorghum and FSA has released some county ARC yields. Every farmer will have to look at

individual farms to make the decision to go with PLC or ARC. A big deter- minant in that decision will be the ra- tio of the producer’s PLC yield to the county ARC yield if the producer is going with the county option. If a pro- ducer has a PLC yield quite a bit un- der the county ARC yield, then coun- ty ARC might be the better option. Tis will also depend on what the

SCO yield is in that county. Our ear- ly analysis has found some counties where SCO would have netted $75 since 2000 and some where it would have been a net loss of $8 over the same time period. To assist with the decision making

process, USDA awarded $3 million to the Food and Agricultural Policy Re- search Institute at the University of Missouri, the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M, and the University of Illinois to develop deci- sion tools for farmers. Te tools and information about

the programs can be found at www.

6 SORGHUM Grower Fall 2014

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