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ARC/PLC webinars planned for February

By Steve Johnson - Columnist | Jan 19, 2021

Producers have until March 15, 2021 to make an annual election for the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program under the 2018 Farm Bill. This decision is unlike the previous farm bills that often-required producers make a one-time election by commodity crop and by FSA farm that was in place for more than one year.

If your 2021 ARC/PLC election and enrollment is not submitted to your local FSA office by the deadline of March 15, 2021, the election defaults to the current election for crops on the farm from the prior crop year. For crop years 2022 and 2023, producers will have an opportunity to make new elections during those signup periods. Farm owners cannot enroll in either program unless they have a share interest in the crops on their farm.

Producers can elect coverage for the 2021 crop year and enroll in crop-by-crop ARC-County (ARC-CO) or PLC programs, or ARC-Individual (ARC-IC) where all crops are combined on the entire farm. Although election changes for 2021 are optional, enrollment (signed contract) is required for each year of the program. If a producer had a multi-year contract on the farm and makes an election change for 2021, it will be necessary to sign a new contract.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, the process will not be as easy as it has in past years. The doors to your local FSA office are locked to the public. However, the staff are still functioning and ready for your ARC/PLC decisions. A producer will need to sign up either online or through email–the most widely used approach. After contacting your local FSA office, a staff member can email you the ARC/PLC program forms you need to sign. The producer will print, sign, and then scan the signed copies to email back to the office.

ISU Extension resources

The basic choices for 2021 continue to be PLC or ARC (at the individual or county levels). A producer’s choice will depend on the type of crop base acres, the county where the farm is located as well as the producer’s national cash price outlook for the 2021 crop. PLC payments are triggered when the marketing year average price falls below the reference prices of $3.70 per bushel for corn and $8.40 per bushel for soybeans, respectively. Current USDA projections for the 2021 crop are around $4 per bushel for corn and above $10 per bushel for soybeans. The ARC-County (ARC-CO) payments are triggered when actual county revenue for the crop is less than the revenue guarantee. ISU Extension has updated their ARC-CO and PLC Payment Estimator for 2021 and made it available to download as an Excel file.

This tool calculates the highest county yield that would trigger a 2021 ARC-CO payment by crop, based on a user’s defined price and a range of plus or minus 20 percent of that price. The spreadsheet then shows the probabilities for each of those yield triggers based on historical county yields.

February webinars planned

Alejandro Plastina, associate professor in economics and extension economist at Iowa State University, will review the 2021 ARC/PLC payment analysis process in a live webinar on Friday, Feb. 5 at 1 p.m. This webinar will be followed by Extension farm management field specialists statewide holding regional webinars from Feb. 9 through Feb. 19. These webinars will feature various cash price projections and county example scenarios for potential payments as well as answering participant questions.

There is no cost to join these live webinars, and all virtual sessions will be recorded and made available for viewing on the Ag Decision Maker website the day following the live session. See the Ag Decision Maker webpage to register for an upcoming webinar or to download the ARC/PLC Payment Estimator: https://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/info/farmbill.html

Steve Johnson is a retired Iowa State University Extension and Outreach farm management specialist. He can be still reached at sdjohns@iastate.edu.

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