Looking ahead to next Farm Bill enrollment period

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(Posted March 19, 2020)

By Mary Griffith, Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources

Farm Bill enrollment has ended, but a new enrollment period begins in October.

Enrollment for Farm Bill programs closed on March 16. Producers chose between Price Loss Coverage (PLC), a disaster price protection program, or Agricultural Revenue Coverage (ARC), a revenue protection program. Program election is locked for the 2019 and 2020 crop years, but producers should not forget about PLC and ARC, because program election can be changed starting Oct. 1, 2020.

Producers will have the opportunity to change program election annually. The next enrollment period runs from Oct. 1, 2020, to March 15, 2021. As the date of the enrollment period approaches, here are some important things to remember about PLC/ARC enrollment:

Producers are making program elections on a crop-by-crop basis. That means all corn base acres go into ARC or PLC; all soybean base acres go into ARC or PLC; and all wheat base acres on a farm go into ARC or PLC.

PLC payments are triggered by low prices. PLC is a disaster price program and pays when the marketing year average price is below a reference price. The marketing year average price is an average price calculated using cash prices across the nation over the course of a year. The marketing year for corn and soybeans is August-September; for wheat it is May-June.

The reference price for corn is $3.70, for soybeans it’s $8.40, and for wheat it’s $5.50. Many factors can influence price. With low wheat prices, there is a high probability that PLC will pay on wheat in Madison County and surrounding counties for 2019 and 2020. PLC is likely to pay on corn for 2020. Most projections do not forecast PLC payments for soybeans, but it is hard to tell if the COVID-19 pandemic will have enough of an impact on markets to trigger a PLC payment that has not been predicted.

As the next enrollment period approaches, producers will need to be aware of marketing year average price projections for 2021 in order to decide which commodities should be enrolled in PLC.

ARC-County payments are triggered by low county revenues. Revenues are calculated using the market year average price multiplied by the county average yield. The National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) has a 50.7 bushels/acre estimate for soybean yields in Madison County for the 2019 crop year, which would be 12.3 percent lower than the county’s benchmark yield. At the current price projection for soybeans, this would trigger an ARC-CO payment for soybeans for the 2019 crop year.

For corn, estimated ARC-CO payments for 2019 will probably vary greatly depending on county. The NASS county estimate for Madison County is 166 bushels/acre, which would not trigger an ARC-CO payment for corn for 2019 at the current price. However, the estimate for corn in Clark County is 154.4 bushels/acre, which would trigger an ARC-CO payment. ARC-CO payments on corn will depend on the county where the farm is located.

OSU Extension will host meetings during the next enrollment period to review program choices for the 2021 crop year. Contact Mary Griffith at the Extension Office with questions, (740) 852-0975 or Griffith.483@osu.edu. Farm Bill program information also is available at go.osu.edu/farmbill2019.

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