The mission of the USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA) is to equitably serve all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners. FSA is dedicated to achieving an economically and environmentally sound future for American agriculture through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans.
Coverage selection for new 2014 Farm Bill Safety Net Programs - Nov. 17, 2014 through March 31, 2015
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farm owners and producers that the opportunity to choose between the new 2014 Farm Bill established programs, Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), begins Nov. 17, 2014, and continues through March 31, 2015. The new programs, designed to help producers better manage risk, usher in one of the most significant reforms to U.S. farm programs in decades.
"USDA is committed to keeping farm owners and producers well informed on all steps in this process to ensure that they have all of the information that they need before making their coverage choice," said Farm Service Agency Administrator Val Dolcini. "The new ARC and PLC programs provide a more rational approach to helping farmers manage risk by ensuring families don't lose the farm because of events beyond their control."
USDA helped create online tools to assist in the decision process, allowing farm owners and producers to enter information about their operation and see projections that show what ARC and/or PLC will mean for them under possible future scenarios. Farm owners and producers can access the online resources, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc, from the convenience of their home computer or mobile device at any time.
"In addition to the new online tools, USDA has done extensive outreach, including partnering with State Cooperative Extension Services to hold meetings and meet with farm owners and producers," said Dolcini. "USDA leaders will continue visiting with farm owners and producers to share information and answer questions the new programs. We want to help producers boil the information down, understand their options and make the best decision on which program - ARC or PLC - is right for them."
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. Producers have until March 31, 2015, to choose the program best for their operation.
Farmers, ranchers and landowners committed to protecting and conserving environmentally sensitive land may now sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Additionally, retiring farmers enrolled in CRP could receive incentives to transfer a portion of their land to beginning, disadvantaged or veteran farmers through the Transition Incentives Program (TIP).
CRP provides incentives to producers who utilize conservation methods on environmentally-sensitive lands. For example, farmers are monetarily compensated for establishing long-term vegetative species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”) to control soil erosion, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat.
CRP consists of a “continuous” and “general” sign-up period. Continuous sign up for the voluntary program starts June 9. Under continuous sign-up authority, eligible land can be enrolled in CRP at any time with contracts of up to 10 to 15 years in duration. In lieu of a general sign-up this year, USDA will allow producers with general CRP contracts expiring this September to have the option of a one-year contract extension. USDA will also implement the 2014 Farm Bill’s requirement that producers enrolled through general sign-up for more than five years can exercise the option to opt-out of the program if certain other conditions are met. In addition, the new grassland provisions, which will allow producers to graze their enrolled land, will enable producers to do so with more flexibility.
The Transition Incentives Program provides two additional years of payments for retired farmers and ranchers who transition expiring CRP acres to socially disadvantaged, military veteran, or beginning producers who return the land to sustainable grazing or crop production. Sign up will also begin June 9. TIP funding was increased by more than 30 percent in the 2014 Farm Bill, providing up to $33 million through 2018.
As part of the 2014 Farm Bill, participants meeting specific qualifications may have the opportunity to terminate their CRP contract during fiscal year 2015 if the contract has been in effect for a minimum of five years and if other conditions are also met.
For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit a local FSA county office or go online to www.fsa.usda.gov.
Updated Fact Sheets Online at:
The Transition Incentives Program (TIP) offers assistance for retired or retiring land owners and operators, as well as opportunities for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. It provides the retired/retiring land owners or operators with two additional annual rental payments on land enrolled in expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts, on the condition they sell or rent this land to a beginning farmer or rancher or to a socially disadvantaged group. Up to two additional annual CRP payments can be obtained through TIP. New land owners or renters must return the land to production using sustainable grazing or farming methods.
TIP provides retiring land owners and operators with an incentive to return land to production on an expiring CRP Contract in a way that preserves established conservation practices. It also provides an opportunity for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to purchase their own land or rent land.
Only land enrolled in an expiring CRP contract is eligible. TIP enrollment is on a continuous basis, and may occur up to one year before a contract is set to expire. To qualify for TIP, the retiring landowner or operator must either sell this land, or lease it on a long-term basis (at least five year), to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher.