US - The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched a new online resource this week to help farmers across the country make important decisions on new Farm Bill created safety net programs.
The Web tool, located at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc, allows farmers to evaluate the levels of coverage offered by the new Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs.
Using the online resource producers will be able to use data unique to their specific farming operation along with factors like 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 by the winter.
This will help farmers better understand and select the program they need. “The 2014 Farm Bill offers several new programs and USDA is committed to educating farmers on these options so that producers can plan for the future and protect their business,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
“The new Web tool will help ensure that producers have the information they need to make critical decisions and better determine what participation in either program will mean for their business.”
Landowners and farmers also have the option of meeting with dedicated representatives at their local Farm Service Agency office beginning Monday, 29 September when landowners can update yields and reallocate base acres and later this fall, farmers can make decisions on safety net options.
The Web tool was developed with a $3 million USDA grant to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri and the Agricultural and Food Policy Center (AFPC) at Texas A&M (co-leads for the National Association of Agricultural and Food Policy), along with the University of Illinois (lead for the National Coalition for Producer Education).
“The new resource is a user-friendly option that farmers can access from anywhere, at any time,” said Mr Vilsack. “They can use their home computer, Smartphone or any other mobile device to explore a variety of coverage options to determine which program is right for them.”
This summer, producers received information regarding their current base acres, yields and planting history, based on USDA records. Farmers can now use new Web tool to input their information and analyse their options before electing Agriculture Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage. Once a producer officially enrolls in the program of their choice, they will remain in that specific program through the 2018 crop year.
Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, rice, safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.
Producers will have time to use the new Web tool before officially enrolling in the program for the 2014 and 2015 crop years. If market conditions warrant, payments for the 2014 crop will be issued beginning October 2015.
This week’s announcement 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 the taxpayer.
Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including 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.
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