The enrollment period for safety-net programs from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently underway. The Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs are taking signups for the 2021 crop year. Producers will have until March 15, 2021, to enroll. The programs help farmers navigate challenges in either revenue or pricing issues for certain crops. Over $5 billion in payments are being processed for producers that signed up for the programs in the 2019 crop year.
“Although commodity prices are starting to show a glimmer of improvement, recent depressed prices and drops in revenue compounded by the effects of the pandemic have seriously impacted the bottom line for most agricultural operations,” Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) Richard Fordyce said in a press release. “Through safety-net programs like ARC and PLC, we can help producers mitigate these financial stressors and keep the ag industry moving forward. Make time over the next few months to evaluate your program elections and enroll for the 2021 crop year.”
Producers can sign up for coverage and enroll in crop-by-crop ARC-County (ACR-CO) or PLC, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm. The ARC-CO program provides financial support that is linked to historical base acres of select commodities, not current production. Payments are triggered for ACR-CO are issued when actual crop revenue drops below the guarantee for that particular crop. PLC payments are made for covered commodities when effective prices are less than the respective reference price.
The ARC and PLC webpage has an online decision tool that can provide assistance in making enrollment and election decisions. Texas A&M University worked with USDA in developing the ARC and PLC Decision Tool to help producers make more informed choices about coverage. Producers interested in enrolling are encouraged to contact their local FSA office for more details. More information on the two safety-net programs is available online.