Farmers have only a couple of weeks to make elections and complete enrollment in the USDA Farm Service Agency Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs.
The deadline for the two programs for the 2021 crop year is March 15. If a farmer or landowner fails to submit signed elections by the deadline, the election defaults to the election from the prior crop year, which would be 2019.
ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guaranteed level. PLC provides income support payments on historical base acres when the effective price for a covered commodity falls below its reference price.
Covered commodities include corn, grain sorghum, oats, peanuts, long grain rice, medium and short grain rice, seed cotton, soybeans, sunflower seed, and wheat.
Producers can elect coverage and enroll in crop-by-crop ARC-County or PLC, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm, for the 2021 crop year.
While election changes for 2021 are optional, a signed enrollment contract is required for each year of the program. If a producer has a multiyear contract on the farm and makes an election change for 2021, it will be necessary to sign a new contract.
For crop years 2022 and 2023, producers will have an opportunity to make new elections during those sign-ups. Farm owners cannot enroll in either program unless they have a share interest in the farm.
USDA offers two web-based decision tools to assist producers in making decisions using crop data specific to their respective farming operations. These tools include:
Gardner-farmdoc Payment Calculator. The University of Illinois tool offers farmers the ability to run payment-estimate modeling for their farms and counties for ARC-County and PLC.
ARC and PLC Decision Tool. This Texas A&M tool allows producers to analyze payment yield updates and expected payments for 2021. Producers who have used the tool in the past should see their username and much of their farm data already available in the system.
For more information on ARC and PLC, including the online decision tools, visit the ARC and PLC webpage. Farmers can also contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency. Currently, government offices such as FSA are not allowed to bring producers into the building, so make sure to call first.
Don’t forget landlord
If a landlord or other tenant also is receiving a share, they need to sign the ARC and PLC paperwork.
If both signatures are not on the contract by the March 15 deadline, it will make the farm ineligible for any 2021 ARC or PLC payments that may be earned.
Here are a few other dates not to miss:
March 5. Deadline for Quality Loss Adjustment.
March 15. Deadline to sign up for 2021 ARC/PLC.
March 15. Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program sales closing date for hay, pasture and some fruits and vegetables.
March 15. Last day for fire burn as a management practice on Conservation Reserve Program warm-season grasses.