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PROGRAM DEADLINE: Sign-up for the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs runs through March 15.

Consider waiting before signing up for farm programs

Extension specialist recommends waiting to sign up for ARC or PLC programs.

Wait to decide whether to sign up for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program this year, suggests Andrew Swenson, North Dakota State University Extension farm management specialist.

Sign-up runs through March 15.

You have the option of selecting either PLC or ARC-County on a crop-by-crop basis within each Farm Service Agency farm unit, whereas the ARC-Individual program option includes total crop base acres of the enrolled farms. The program election decision is for both the 2019 and 2020 crop years.

The PLC program looks as if it will be the best option for nearly all commodities, Swenson says. But you have the opportunity to get more clarity on prices and yields by waiting.

To determine payments for the 2019 crop year, both ARC and PLC use 2019 national marketing year average prices, but the ARC-County program also uses 2019 county average yields.

The 2019 marketing year period varies by crop. The period for wheat, barley and oats is June 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020. For canola, flax, field peas and lentils the period is July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. For soybeans, corn and sunflowers the period is Sept. 1, 2019 through Aug. 31, 2020.

USDA updates projected market year average prices each month based on sales up to that point. With each passing month, the price projection becomes more accurate.

“Yields are more difficult to project,” Swenson says. This year, the primary source of ARC-County yields will be from the Risk Management Agency (RMA) instead of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

There are no estimates by RMA of county yields, and the yields used by the FSA for the ARC-County program are not published until payments are announced.

NASS county yield survey results for the 2019 crop of wheat, barley and oats are available in the middle of December whereas corn, soybeans and sunflowers yields will be published towards the end of February 2020.

These should help indicate the level of yields, Swenson adds. Also, since the signup period for ARC and PLC is after harvest, you will have an idea of yields in the county.

ARC-Individual payments are determined by farm-level yields, therefore you should be able to determine 2019 crop year payments, if any, under the ARC-Individual program well before the signup decision deadline.

“Currently, PLC looks like the best option for nearly all commodities covered by the ARC-PLC program due to the drop in commodity prices in recent years,” Swenson says. “Because time is in your favor; take advantage of it to make a more informed decision.”

Source: NDSU, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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