In the face of a struggling farm economy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that it will make $7 billion in risk management program payments to many of the 1.7 million farms enrolled in either Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs from the 2015 crop year. National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock said that these programs are more important than ever to help farmers manage risk and weather difficult economic times.
“Farmers are struggling. This is a shot in the arm when they need it most,” said Spurlock. “We advocated for a shift to a market-based program that kicks in only when needed. Now is that time.”
According to USDA calculations, these payments will account for 10 percent of 2016 projected net farm income. Net farm incomes have declined 55 percent over the last two years, and most farms will be operating at a loss in 2016.
“These payments will help provide reassurance to America’s farm families, who are standing strong against low commodity prices,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a press release announcing the program payments.
Spurlock thanked Secretary Vilsack and USDA for their efforts to strengthen the farm economy. He called on Congress to support policies that will improve market access and grow demand for corn.
“Thank you to Secretary Vilsack for being a strong advocate for farmers and rural communities. We appreciate USDA’s Farm Service Agency for getting payments out in a timely fashion,” said Spurlock. “Congress can send a strong message of support to America’s farmers by passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement in 2016, and supporting a strong Renewable Fuel Standard.”
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The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Administered by NCGA the partnership has more than 220 working farms enrolled in 16 states. SHP’s mission is to utilize science and data to partner with farmers who are adopting conservation agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.
The Corn Utilization and Technology Conference (CUTC) is a biennial event happening this June. Learn more.