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Worksheet Helps Producers Identify Selections for 2014 Farm Bill

September 5th, 2014

The Agricultural Act of 2014 is important legislation. It provides farmland owners and operators the opportunity to make a one-time election of a commodity program for 2014 through 2018. The legislation also allows the operator to enroll annually in a chosen program. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach provides several resources to assist in this decision-making process.

“While the Farm Bill of 2014 provides opportunities for farmers to update their farm selections, it is important that they consider several factors before making these decisions,” said Ann Johanns, extension program specialist. Johanns coordinates Ag Decision Maker, an agricultural economics and business website sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“We have developed several tools, including the Base Acreage Reallocation and Payment Yield Update, to assist owners and operators as they determine what is best for their business and family,” Johanns said.

Alejandro Plastina, an extension economist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, developed the Base Acreage Reallocation and Payment Yield Update.

“Opportunities to update base acres and payment yields for commodity programs are few and far between,” Plastina said. “So farmers should seriously consider this opportunity provided by the 2014 Farm Bill.”

“The worksheet is a simple tool to evaluate the convenience of having the payment formulas for some commodity programs updated to better reflect current production patterns on a farm-by-farm basis,” Plastina added. He noted that the decision tool includes multiple worksheets to allow information for up to five farms.

The Base Acreage Reallocation and Payment Yield Update worksheet was designed to help Iowa farmland owners with base acreage reallocation decisions for the Agricultural Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, and with payment yield update decisions for the PLC program. To access this and other online tools, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm.

To further support producers, a series of workshops will be held across Iowa to provide information about the Farm Bill and the impact it has on producers. The meetings will be held once final regulations are set. A complete schedule will be posted on the AgDM Farm Bill Web page at www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/info/farmbill.html.

Ag Decision Maker (AgDM) 

An agricultural economics and business website.

Government Programs

Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Program by Oct. 1

September 5th, 2014

Contacts:
USDA Office of Communications
PH (202) 720-4623
Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Program by Oct. 1

Congressionally Mandated Payment Reductions to Take Effect at Beginning of New Fiscal Year
Ranchers Applying for LFP Support Who Have Scheduled Appointments by Sept. 30th Will not be Impacted
WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible.

The Budget Control Act passed by Congress in 2011 requires USDA to implement reductions of 7.3 percent to the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) in the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2014. However, producers seeking LFP support who have scheduled appointments with their local FSA office before Oct. 1, even if the appointment occurs after Oct.1, will not see reductions in the amount of disaster relief they receive.

USDA is encouraging producers to register, request an appointment or begin a Livestock Forage Disaster Program application with their county FSA office before Oct. 1, 2014, to lock in the current zero percent sequestration rate. As an additional aid to qualified producers applying for LFP, the Farm Service’s Agency has developed an online registration that enables farmers and ranchers to put their names on an electronic list before the deadline to avoid reductions in their disaster assistance. This is an alternative to visiting or contacting the county office. To place a name on the Livestock Forage Disaster Program list online, visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster-register .

Producers who already contacted the county office and have an appointment scheduled need do nothing more.

“In just four months since disaster assistance enrollments began, we’ve processed 240,000 applications to help farmers and ranchers who suffered losses,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Eligible producers who have not yet contacted their local FSA office should stop by or call their local FSA office, or sign up online before Oct. 1 when congressionally mandated payment reductions take effect. This will ensure they receive as much financial assistance as possible.”

The Livestock Indemnity Program, the Tree Assistance Program and the Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program Frost Freeze payments will also be cut by 7.3 percent on Oct. 1, 2014. Unlike the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, applications for these programs must be fully completed by Sept. 30. FSA offices will prioritize these applications, but as the full application process can take several days or more to complete, producers are encouraged to begin the application process as soon as possible.

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program compensates eligible livestock producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire between Oct. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2014. Eligible livestock includes alpacas, beef cattle, buffalo, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, poultry, reindeer, sheep or swine that have been or would have been grazing the eligible grazing land or pastureland. Producers forced to liquidate their livestock may also be eligible for program benefits.

Additionally, the 2014 Farm Bill eliminated the risk management purchase requirement. Livestock producers are no longer required to purchase coverage under the federal crop insurance program or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program to be eligible for Livestock Forage Disaster Program assistance.

To learn more about USDA disaster relief program, producers can review the 2014 Farm Bill fact sheet at www.fsa.usda.gov/farmbill, the LFP program fact sheet, http://go.usa.gov/5JTk, or contact their local FSA office.

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program 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. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

Ag Decision Maker (AgDM) 

An agricultural economics and business website.

Government Programs

USDA Conservation Reserve Program: Early Outs for Some Contracts

September 2nd, 2014

The Agriculture Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill) requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to allow a limited number of CRP participants who meet specific qualifications an opportunity to terminate (referred to as “opt-outs”) the CRP contract during fiscal year 2015, if those contracts have been in effect for at least five years and if other conditions are also met. View the USDA FSA Conservation Fact Sheet for details on the opt out conditions.

Ag Decision Maker (AgDM) 

An agricultural economics and business website.

Government Programs, Land

USDA Extends Deadline for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program

August 12th, 2014

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2014 — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced today that the enrollment deadline for the 2012 and 2013 Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) has been extended to Aug. 15, 2014. Originally, program sign-up was scheduled to end Aug. 1.

The new deadline gives livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers who experienced losses because of disease, adverse weather, wildfires or colony collapse disorder between Oct. 1, 2011 and Sept. 30, 2013, an additional two weeks to enroll in ELAP.

“Because ELAP is an important safety net for key sectors of American agriculture, we’ve provided this two week extension so that producers can submit required documentation and apply for program benefits,” said Garcia.

Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA service center or visit FSA’s website at www.fsa.usda.gov for additional information regarding ELAP.

ELAP was authorized by 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 taxpayers. 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. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

Government Programs

USDA Extends Deadline for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program

August 12th, 2014

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2014 — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced today that the enrollment deadline for the 2012 and 2013 Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) has been extended to Aug. 15, 2014. Originally, program sign-up was scheduled to end Aug. 1.

The new deadline gives livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers who experienced losses because of disease, adverse weather, wildfires or colony collapse disorder between Oct. 1, 2011 and Sept. 30, 2013, an additional two weeks to enroll in ELAP.

“Because ELAP is an important safety net for key sectors of American agriculture, we’ve provided this two week extension so that producers can submit required documentation and apply for program benefits,” said Garcia.

Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA service center or visit FSA’s website at www.fsa.usda.gov for additional information regarding ELAP.

ELAP was authorized by 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 taxpayers. 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. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

Ag Decision Maker (AgDM) 

An agricultural economics and business website.

Government Programs

FSA mails summary acreage history report

August 11th, 2014

FSA Mails Summary Acreage History Report

Landowners and farm operators should review this report for each FSA farm number and cross check the information with their own farm planting records. If the information is correct, no further action is needed at this time. But if the data is incomplete or incorrect, the operator needs to contact their local FSA county office as soon as possible. Read more in Steve Johnson’s article on Base acreage reallocation decisions.

Ag Decision Maker (AgDM) 

An agricultural economics and business website.

Government Programs

Live Webinar July 21 Offers Update on Farm Program

July 21st, 2014

Contributed by Steven D. JohnsonFarm Management Specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, sdjohns@iastate.edu, 515-957-5790

GFPIowa State University Extension and Outreach and USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) are conducting a live update webinar on the farm program called Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The webinar titled “ARC PLC Decisions: Update, Election and Enrollment” is scheduled for 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 programs – Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC).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. 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 include ISU Extension and Outreach Economist Chad Hart and USDA FSA Chief Program Specialist Kevin McClure. The webinar will last approximately one hour.

To attend, log onto https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/anr. The webinar will be recorded for viewing at a later time from the Ag Decision Maker Farm Bill webpage.

Contact the Polk County Extension office at (515) 957-5760 with any questions.

Additional Contact:

Kevin McClure, Chief Program Specialist, Iowa State FSA Office, 515-254-1540 Ext. 1041, Kevin.McClure@ia.usda.gov

 

Ag Decision Maker (AgDM) 

An agricultural economics and business website.

Government Programs, Meetings and Events

Remember to report acres to FSA by July 15, 2014

July 1st, 2014
Contacts:
John R Whitaker
PH 515-331-8480
2014 Farm Bill Program Eligibility Requires Acreage Certification with USDA’s Farm Service Agency

(Des Moines, Iowa) June 10, 2014 – USDA Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, John Whitaker reminds farmers that planted acres must be reported to FSA by July 15, 2014. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) requires accurate and timely filed acreage reports for all crops and land uses, including prevented and failed acreage as well as Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres.

“Historically acreage certification has been a requirement to be eligible for USDA programs and although some federal farm program sign-ups have not yet started, timely acreage reports submitted to your local FSA office will be important to ensuring program eligibility,” said Whitaker.

Acreage reports are considered timely filed when completed by the applicable final crop reporting deadline, which may vary from state to state. Prevented acreage must be reported within 15 calendar days after the final planting date. Failed acreage must be reported before the disposition of the crop. Producers should contact their county FSA office if they are uncertain about reporting deadlines.

Producers should visit their county FSA office to complete acreage reporting. For questions on this or any FSA program, including specific crop reporting deadlines and planting dates, producers should contact their county FSA office. More information on FSA programs can be found at: www.fsa.usda.gov. Local FSA office contact information can be found at: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app

Ag Decision Maker (AgDM) 

An agricultural economics and business website.

Government Programs

USDA Announces Programs to Conserve Sensitive Land and Help Beginning Farmers

June 6th, 2014

Contacts:

Office of Communications
(202) 720-4623
USDA Announces Programs to Conserve Sensitive Land and Help Beginning Farmers

Programs that Allow Producers to Protect Land and Help New, Minority and Veteran Farmers Get their Start in Agriculture

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that farmers, ranchers and landowners committed to protecting and conserving environmentally sensitive land may sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) beginning June 9.The Secretary also announced that retiring farmers enrolled in CRP could receive incentives to transfer a portion of their land to beginning, disadvantaged or veteran farmers through the Transition Incentives Program (TIP).

“CRP is one of the largest voluntary conservation programs in the country,” said Vilsack. “This initiative helps farmers and ranchers lead the nation in preventing soil erosion, improving water quality and restoring wildlife habitat, all of which will make a difference for future generations.”
Vilsack continued, “The average age of farmers and ranchers in the United States is 58 years, and twice as many are 65 or older compared to those 45 or younger. The cost of buying land is one of the biggest barriers to many interested in getting started in agriculture. The Transition Incentives Program is very usefulas we work to help new farmers and ranchers get started.”

The Conservation Reserve Program provides incentives to producers who utilize conservation methods on environmentally-sensitive lands. For example, farmers are monetarily compensated for establishing long-term vegetative species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”) to control soil erosion, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat.

CRP consists of a “continuous” and “general” sign-up period. Continuous sign up for the voluntary program starts June 9. Under continuous sign-up authority, eligible land can be enrolled in CRP at any time with contracts of up to 10 to 15 years in duration. In lieu of a general sign-up this year, USDA will allow producers with general CRP contracts expiring this September to have the option of a one-year contract extension. USDA will also implement the 2014 Farm Bill’s requirement that producers enrolled through general sign-up for more than five years can exercise the option to opt-out of the program if certain other conditions are met. In addition, the new grassland provisions, which will allow producers to graze their enrolled land, will enable producers to do so with more flexibility.

The Transition Incentives Program provides two additional years of payments for retired farmers and ranchers who transition expiring CRP acres to socially disadvantaged, military veteran, or beginning producers who return the land to sustainable grazing or crop production. Sign up will also begin June 9. TIP funding was increased by more than 30 percent in the 2014 Farm Bill, providing up to $33 million through 2018.

As part of the 2014 Farm Bill, participants meeting specific qualifications may have the opportunity to terminate their CRP contract during fiscal year 2015 if the contract has been in effect for a minimum of five years and if other conditions are also met.

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers CRP, will coordinate the various CRP program opportunities. For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit a local FSA county office or go online to www.fsa.usda.gov.

Both the CRP and TIP were reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. 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.

For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Ag Decision Maker (AgDM) 

An agricultural economics and business website.

Government Programs

New farm program to provide enrollment decisions

March 27th, 2014

Contributed by Steven D. JohnsonFarm Management Specialist, Iowa State University Extension, sdjohns@iastate.edu, 515-957-5790.

Johnson_Steve_smThe 2014 farm bill is now law and the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) officials are writing rules and regulations to carry out new programs. The five-year farm bill eliminates direct payments, Counter-Cyclical Payments (CCP) and ACRE (Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) programs for commodity crops. Replacing them are some new risk management options that farmers must choose from by FSA farm number.

Crop insurance remains the backbone of the farm financial safety net. It will be augmented by the new farm program. Farmers can invest in their own risk management by buying crop revenue insurance so they are protected annually should a decline in yield and/or a drop in futures price occur.

To protect farmers from multiple year downturns in cash prices or a decline in revenue, the new bill introduces two new programs.  Farmers will choose between a revenue program that covers price and yield losses — Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and a price-only program known as Price Loss Coverage (PLC). It will be several months before the new USDA farm program sign-up begins – probably next winter.

Crop coverage options

Farmers who choose ARC will have to make another decision of whether to enroll in county ARC on a commodity-by-commodity basis or choose an individual farm ARC that combines all the program commodities on the farm together.

Payments for the county ARC occur when actual county yield times the national marketing price for a commodity is below the ARC revenue guarantee for that crop year. Farm ARC would issue payments depending on whole farm revenue, since program commodities are combined. The program covers losses on 85% of the base acres for the county option and 65% of base acres for farm coverage.

The ARC guarantee provides a range of revenue protection from 76% to 86% of historical revenue, with farmer-purchased crop insurance expected to cover deeper losses. Farmers who enroll in ARC may not buy (Supplemental Coverage Option) SCO insurance beginning in 2015 because they are very similar products.

PLC is a target-price program that makes payments when national average cash crop prices drop below a “reference price” set in the farm bill. The reference prices are: $3.70 per bushel for corn, $8.40 per bushel for soybeans and $5.50 per bushel for wheat. Beginning in 2015, PLC enrollment also allows the purchase of SCO insurance to reduce the traditional crop insurance deductible levels. Only farmers enrolled in the PLC program may buy SCO insurance and county yields are used.

Farmers along with their landowners on rented ground have to make a one-time, irrevocable decision to enroll a farm in ARC or PLC for the life of the five-year farm bill. If a farmer doesn’t make a decision, farms are automatically enrolled in PLC beginning in 2015.

To help decide on which program to use, farmers may have to review historical planted acres due to the one-time choice of reallocating base acres using the average for the years 2009 through 2012. However, the reallocation of acres by crop cannot exceed the total historical base acreage. In addition, farmers might want to compare yield information for their farms to their county yields for the years 2008 through 2012.

Payment triggers for both the ARC and PLC programs are based on marketing year average prices. Thus any payments for revenue or price losses won’t be made until the year following a loss.

More information to come

It is too early to know for sure which program will be best for Corn Belt farmers, as the final rules and regulations are not yet known. Once USDA releases the information, farmers and landowners should have time to make enrollment decisions.

A preliminary analysis of the two programs suggests, for 2014, ARC’s price coverage level is more favorable for corn and soybeans while PLC’s reference price is more favorable for other crops such as peanuts, rice, barley and wheat. However, farmers will need to consider how the two programs will work over the life of the five-year farm bill; or through the 2018 crop year.

Ag Decision Maker (AgDM) 

An agricultural economics and business website.

Government Programs, Other