Farm Bill meetings will explain ARC & PLC selections

Colorado producers will be able to learn the details of two key programs in the 2014 Farm Bill at a series of meetings to be held by the Colorado Farm Service Agency and sponsored by Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Farmers Union Service Association, county Farmers Union chapters, and local agents.

Tuesday, November 18

  • Sterling, 8-11 a.m. at the Northeastern Junior College, Hay Student Center Ballroom
  • Burlington, 2:30-5:30 p.m. at the Community Center, 340 S. 14th St.

Wednesday, November, 19

  • Lamar, 8:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Community College Auditorium, 2401 Main Street, Lamar
  • Limon, 2:30-5:30 p.m. at the Community Building, 477 D Avenue

Farmers will be able to make a choice between Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). This will be a one-time decision that will affect them through the length of the Farm Bill. Both programs are intended to help farmers manage the ups and downs of unpredictable weather and commodity price fluctuations.

ARC, a revenue program that covers price and yield losses, gives farmers a choice between county-level coverage (ARC-CO) and individual-level farm coverage (ARC-IC). PLC, a target-price program, makes payments when the national average of commodity crop prices drop below a specific reference price set in the farm bill.

Producers will have through early spring of 2015 to select which program works best for their businesses.

To help farmers choose between ARC and PLC, USDA helped create online tools that allow farmers to enter information about their operation and see projections about what each program will mean for them under possible future scenarios. The new tools are now available at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc. USDA provided $3 million to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri and the Agricultural and Food Policy Center (AFPC) at Texas A&M, along with the University of Illinois, to develop the new programs.

Producers will be required to make a number of choices in the months ahead. Decisions around updating base acres, reallocating existing base acres, and program elections will need to be made. These decisions will take a great deal of reflection, and producers will need to evaluate their strategic goals on a given FSA farm. Producers can utilize online web-based decision tools developed by USDA to help make the program selections that best fit their operation.