NFU commends USDA on timely rollout of important farm safety net programs

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Farm Forum

WASHINGTON – National Farmers Union (NFU) Senior Vice President of Programs Chandler Goule said U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) should be commended for its timely rollout of several important farm safety net programs.

“Family farmers across this great nation need as much certainty as possible as they plan for the upcoming crop year, and USDA has given them an enormous peace of mind by rolling out these very important risk management tools,” said Goule.

USDA Secretary Vilsack unveiled the details of several important programs contained in the 2014 Farm Bill intended to help farmers manage the ups and downs of unpredictable weather and commodity price fluctuations. Farmers will be able to make a choice between Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) starting Sept. 29, 2014, a one-time decision that will affect them through the length of the Farm Bill.

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 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. Like past commodity programs, upcoming selections will have multi-year payment implications, and decisions will reside with the land going forward. Producers can utilize online web-based decision tools developed by the USDA to help make the program selections that best fit their operation.

“Through this extended timetable, USDA has given farmers increased flexibility and sufficient time and resources to make informed decisions on which risk management program bests addresses their specific situation,” said Goule.

“The 2014 Farm Bill represented a major shift in farm policy, reducing overall spending while placing a new emphasis on personal risk management tools for family farmers,” said Goule. “These new tools announced today will help America’s family farmers continue to raise the food, feed, fiber and fuel for the world’s growing base of consumers.”