Ohio Farmers Union to hold farm bill forum

COLUMBUS – Farmers around Ohio will soon be faced with several choices concerning the national safety net for agriculture.

To help farmers get fully informed about coming ag commodity program changes due to the 2014 farm bill, the Ohio Farmers Union along with POET Biorefining, Superior Energy Solutions and First Federal Bank will hold a farm bill implementation forum later this month at Bowling Green State University.

Two paths

Under the new law, farmers will take one of two paths regarding the ag safety net. One option is Price Loss Coverage, or PLC, a price-based assistance program. The other is Agricultural Risk Coverage, or ARC, a farm revenue-based program. The choice farmers make around the country will stick with them for the next five years.

In this farm bill, direct payments are out – replaced by ARC and PLC.

Under these paths, farmers will also choose whether to keep their current Farm Service Administration base acres or payment yields or make adjustments under the new law.

Decisions

Logan said there is a level complexity in the decision-making process for farmers this year due to the changes in the programs and the fact that decisions made in 2014 will last for five years.

As an example of the complexity, farmers may elect to take on a new form of crop insurance – the Supplemental Coverage Option – but only those farmers who have elected the PLC program for their acres.

FSA has not announced when the new programs will actually be available for signup so farmers do still have time to learn more about the new programs and begin considering their choices.

“There is going to be a lot for local FSA offices to explain to producers in a relatively short period of time,” Logan said regarding the eventual rollout of the new farm programs.

Forum

The forum will be held at 1 p.m. July 25 at BGSU, Bowen-Thompson Student Union in the Grand Ball Room. Moderated by Logan, there will be a panel presentation and time for questions and answers from those attending.

Panelists include:

• Joe Shultz, Chief Economist, U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
• Jonathan McCracken, Legislative Agriculture Assistant, Office of Sen. Sherrod Brown
• Carl Zulauf, Professor, OSU Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics
• Terry Cosby, State Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
• Tony Logan, State Director, USDA Rural Development
• Steve Maurer, State Executive Director, USDA Farm Service Agency

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