The USDA has announced a deadline extension of 30 days -- to March 31 -- for farmers to update yields, reallocate base acres, and choose between the ARC and PLC programs.
The news was welcomed by Linda Newkirk, Arkansas State Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency. “The deadline extension comes as a great relief -- for both the FSA staff and the farmers. We’re very excited about it.
“We thought we’d be operating through registers because not everyone had been signed up. Add to that the fact that states in the South have had such bad weather recently. We’ve had to close offices and that’s slowed sign-ups, as well.
‘So, this extension is very welcome. With these extra 30 days, I believe we’ll get the bulk of folks signed up.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “This is an important decision for producers, because these programs provide financial protection against unexpected changes in the marketplace. Producers are working to make the best decision they can. And we’re working to ensure that they’ve got the time, the information, and the opportunities to have those final conversations, review their data, and to visit the Farm Service Agency to make those decisions.”
From a USDA press release:
If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by March 31, 2015, the farm's current yield and base will be used. A program choice of ARC or PLC coverage also must be made by March 31, 2015, or there will be no 2014 payments for the farm and the farm will default to PLC coverage through the 2018 crop year.
“These are complex decisions, which is why we launched a strong education and outreach campaign back in September. Now we’re providing a one-time extension of an additional month so that every producer is fully prepared to enroll in this program,” said Vilsack.
Nationwide, more than 2.9 million educational postcards, in English and Spanish, have been sent to producers, and over 4,100 training sessions have been conducted on the new safety-net programs. The online tools, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc, allow producers to explore projections on how ARC or PLC coverage will affect their operation under possible future scenarios.
Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.
To learn more, farmers can contact their local Farm Service Agency county office. To find your local office visit http://offices.usda.gov.