Clements: The Department of Agriculture recently opened enrollment for the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage safety net programs, known as and ARC and PLC. John Newton, American Farm Bureau Federation chief economist, says the 2018 farm bill made important improvements to the programs.
Newton: Most notable of which is changes in the reference price under PLC and then some yield adjustments on ARC county. So, now farmers need to crunch the numbers and they have an opportunity to visit with their FSA office to sign up for this crop year and next crop year on ARC and PLC on a commodity-by-commodity basis.
Clements: Newton says there are differences between the two programs that farmers must consider.
Newton: PLC is a price-based safety net that provides support to a farmer whenever the marketing-year average price for the commodity falls below the refence price. And ARC county’s revenue-based safety net program protection is based on the five-year average of the farmer's county revenue and the marketing year average price. So, we look at both prices and revenue under ARC county, and prices only under PLC.
Clements: Producers have until March 2020 to make a decision for the next crop year. Newton says several tools are available to help.
Newton: Several universities have USDA sponsored decision tools, one at the University of Illinois and one developed by Texas A&M. So, farmers can use either of those decision tools. We’ll also crunch some numbers here at Farm Bureau to help farmers mark that ARC and PLC decision.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.