Programs being offered in the new farm bill are complex and the experts say it’ll require some education for Iowa’s farmers to take part. Steven Johnson, a farm management specialist with the Iowa State University Extension, says the process starts with farmers updating their base acres and yields, which must be done by February 27th.
Johnson says farmers will have to either retain or reallocate base acres on their farms.”I’m suggesting that the producers and the landowners get this done early, as this is easy in most of the corn belt,” Johnson says. “If you can create more corn base by reallocating, do it. If your corn base would be higher by retaining the old corn base, just retain. So, don’t make this that difficult decision.”
He says farmers can update to a new Price Loss Coverage, or PLC, yield using production records for the 2008 to 2012 growing seasons, or they can keep the old counter-cyclical yield. “Update the yields if you’ve got the production evidence,” Johnson says. “If not, the plugs will be 75% of the county yields and those are posted on the FSA website. If we can get there by Christmas, we’ve got plenty of time to make a decision.”
Johnson says farmers will have until March 31st to make either a PLC or and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) election for their farm for the next five years. “I think they’re probably more complicated now than they were six months ago with these low national prices,” Johnson says. “For 2014, we’re probably going to trigger both county ARC and PLC payments on a farm for corn base. I think there’s going to be a lot of interest in this whole ARC-PLC program.”
The actual program enrollment will begin in mid-April and run through the summer months.
(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)