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8 groups unite to praise proposed changes to ARC program

Thinkstock/ThinkstockPhotos Brown ripe corn ready for harvest.
Sens. Heitkamp and Ernst introduce legislation.

Eight farm groups have united in support of a bill introduced by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joni Ernst of Iowa that improves the Agriculture Risk Coverage Program.

Who are the eight farm groups?

  1. American Farm Bureau Federation
  2. American Soybean Association
  3. National Association of Wheat Growers
  4. National Corn Growers Association
  5. National Farmers Union
  6. National Sunflower Association
  7. USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council
  8. US Canola Association

What does the bill do?

Components of the bill include:

  • Prioritizing the use of data collected from USDA’s Risk Management Agency to calculate crop yields.
  • Using data from the county in which a farm is located when calculating yields, rather than allowing farmers to use yield data from their “administrative counties” if they farm in more than one county.
  • Allowing state Farm Service Agency committees to adjust yield estimates when results are inexplicably different compared to neighboring counties within the same state or adjacent counties across state lines.

Why use RMA data?

  • Only about 60% of producers return NASS surveys, so it is difficult to assume accuracy of the data;
  • The NASS yield estimate comes from producer surveys and the RMA yield data comes from actual production history;
  • There is no penalty for failure to fill out a NASS survey or misreport submitted information.  However, farmers may face criminal penalties for filing an inaccurate crop production report for RMA; and
  • RMA reports all its county yields as irrigated or non-irrigated yields, whereas NASS does not.

ASA comments

“ARC-CO is of great importance to soy growers, who signed up over 90% of soybean acres in the program,” said ASA President and Roseville, Illinois grower Ron Moore. “In hard economic times, finding the best way to provide support against declines in farm revenue is on every grower’s mind.”

Source: AFBF

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