EDNA — Farmers have several important decisions to make under the 2014 farm bill, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist.
To help growers navigate the process, a farm bill decision program meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Jackson County Services Building auditorium, 411 N. Wells in Edna.
The meeting is designed to help producers finalize their farm bill decisions, according to Dr. Joe Outlaw, co-director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University and AgriLife Extension economist, College Station.
Producers have the option to choose between two safety net programs: Price Loss Coverage, or PLC, and Agricultural Risk Coverage, or ALC, Outlaw said. They will also have the opportunity to reallocate base acres and update payment yields.
“These are five-year decisions,” Outlaw said. “Farmers have to decide what is best for their operation, knowing that their decisions will extend through the life of the farm bill.”
The deadline for base allocations and yield update is Feb. 27; the safety net decision deadline is March 31.
“I can imagine some farmers are thinking these deadlines are well into the future, but the actual deadline may be sooner for some,” Outlaw said. “If a producer wants to purchase the Supplemental Coverage Option, or SCO, from their crop insurance agent, this decision will need to be made during the normal insurance sign-up. They are ineligible for the SCO if they eventually chose ARC.”
With the early planting dates of South Texas, the de facto deadline is the crop insurance deadline, which will be Jan. 31, he said.
“Farmers need to make their ARC/PLC decision before they meet with their crop insurance agent.”
To assist farmers with these decisions, several web-based decision aids were developed under a U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency grant by the National Association for Agriculture and Food Policy, a coalition co-led by the Agricultural Food Policy Center at Texas A&M and the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
The decision aids can be accessed at https://usda.afpc.tamu.edu .
Outlaw said he encourages farmers to use these resources if they haven’t already done so.
Dr. George Knapek, an economist and program director for representative farms for the Agriculture and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M’s department of agricultural economics, will be discussing the safety nets and choices farmers have, according to Michael Hiller, an AgriLife Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources in Jackson County.
“Dr. Knapek’s AgriLife Extension educational activities focus on risk management from crop and livestock producers,” Hiller said. “He will share invaluable information to help growers become knowledgeable about the decisions before them and help them make the proper choices based on their individual operations.”
Farm bill education meetings are a collaborative effort of AgriLife Extension and the Farm Service Agency. All the meetings are free and open to the public.