Sometimes it is nice to be able to catch a breath between activities. Since I have a couple of sports-minded boys at my house, we are at that point right now. Soccer season for our team(s) has wrapped up. They won a game or two in the tournament, but eventually bowed out valiantly. So now our household has a little time to take a breath before wrestling practices go full bore in November.
Area farmers, however, have not received this break all year. A late planting season this past spring overlapped the beginning of the hay making months. The wet summer strung out any hope of a quick and efficient forage harvest with many producers still trying to make dry hay as late as October. Some farmers came right from the hayfields to start their patchwork grain harvest in the fields that were ready.
Throw into the mix wheat harvest and silage chopping, and it made for a long, frustrating summer. Waiting for the weather to break can lead to “down time”. Down time is not a farmer’s friend and is difficult to plan around. That pop-up rain shower that was not predicted can turn a potentially productive harvest day into staring contest with the weather radar. When this down time hits, one good use of the time is to get things prepared for your FSA office activity. An earlier FSA Andy article encouraged producers to gather records to update their yields.
Beginning Nov. 17, farmers will have the opportunity to come into their local FSA office and declare which program option they want to be in for the life of this new farm bill. They can choose to receive price protection under the PLC program, county based revenue protection under the ARC-County option, or individual revenue protection under the ARC-Individual option, all on a farm by farm basis.
Many of you will have the same question: Which option should I choose? Luckily, USDA has worked with several Land Grant Universities to develop online tools to help you make these decisions. These tools allow the users to input their own numbers for their own county and compare using pre-set projections of yields and prices.
Links to these tools can be found on the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/.
Visitors will want to select the “Agricultural Risk Coverage / Price Loss Coverage” link under the Popular Topics section. This will bring up a page with the ARC and PLC Producer Webtools in the middle of the page.
There are two different tools to utilize. Each tool should provide similar information, but in different formats. Producers are encouraged to look at both tools, and should use the one that they understand the most and is more comfortable. Each of these tools will ask for your base acres, planting projections, and expected yields. FSA help you with base acres and established yields.
In fact, much of the information you need is on the base letters that were mailed out last month. If you cannot locate those letters or they are incomplete, contact our office and we can help you to fill in some holes. Your local FSA office will be providing more specific information about the election process as Nov. 17 gets nearer.
That’s all for now!
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