(Posted Thu. Sep 4th, 2014)
Farmers have until late September to verify their current base acres, yields and 2009-2012 planting history with their Farm Service Agency office. This marks the first step growers will take under the farm bill’s new risk management programs.
Farmers should have received a letter from USDA in late July or early August, with a report of their base acres and yields for the past several years. These figures are used to calculate eligibility and payment for crop risk management programs through 2018, so it’s imperative that the information be accurate. Later this fall, farmers and ranchers will have an opportunity to update their crop yield information and reallocate their base acres.
“These risk management programs are only as good as the information used to calculate them,” said Jim Reed, chairman of the National Corn Growers Association Public Policy Action Team. “In some cases, the current base acres may not accurately reflect changes in farm operations in recent years. This is a good opportunity for corn growers to verify the accuracy of their farm records, and prepare for program decisions later on.”
Growers have 60 days from the date of the letter to notify their FSA office of any inaccuracies. For example, for letters dated July 28, 2014, growers must contact FSA no later than Friday, September 26. If the information is accurate, no action is necessary.
“Before you get busy with harvest, take 30 minutes to review the records. If it’s right, you’re done. But if not, contact your FSA office,” said Reed.
By mid-winter, farmers will be required to choose between two risk management programs, Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) for the 2014-2018 crop years. More information and web-based decision tools to evaluate these options will be available in the coming weeks.