Important Deadlines for Minnesota Farmers
While warm weather may not feel right-around-the-corner, farmers in Minnesota have spring planting season on their minds. They are getting ready to meet two important deadlines that will affect their farming decisions for the next five years.
Last year, Congress passed a farm bill that established new safety-net programs for farmers to enroll in, known as Agriculture-Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price-Loss Coverage (PLC). Farmers have the one-time option to choose which program is best for their farm and this decision will be effective with said farm through the 2018 crop year. Also, for the first time since 2002, farmers can reallocate base acres and update the farm’s yield history.
The deadline to update base acres and yield is February 27th.** If no update is made, the farm’s current base acres and yield will be used. The last day farmers can sign up for either ARC or PLC is March 31st, and USDA is encouraging farmers to get an early start on the process. If a farmer foregoes selecting a program, no 2014 crop payments will be made and the farm will default to PLC for the remaining years.
Local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices have been working on the sign-up process since the enactment of the Farm Bill and are able to help farmers who have questions or need assistance. To contact a local FSA office, visit https://offices.usda.gov.
There are also a number of land-grant university resources that provide information on the sign-up process. The University of Minnesota Extension has an online training tool that provides informative material on Title 1 of the Farm Bill, and the University of Illinois’s website contains a “farm bill toolbox” that, step-by-step, walks farmers through each point in the process. These resources can be located online or with the help of a county FSA office.
Commodity programs provide financial protection to farmers during times when they need it most. It is essential that farmers in Minnesota visit their local FSA office and ask the questions they need to ask, because these are important decisions that will affect the future of their farm and Minnesota agriculture as a whole.
Please do not miss your opportunity to make these important decisions. The first deadline is this Friday, February 27th.**
For help navigating this process, contact my Otsego office: (763) 241-6848
For questions about the legislation, contact my D.C. office: (202) 225-2331
**Note: USDA Provides One-Time Extension of Deadline to Update Base Acres or Yield History for ARC/PLC Programs -- New deadline to update yield and base acres is March 31st.