Agricultural producers who have not yet enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2021 must do so by March 15. Producers who have not yet signed a 2021 enrollment contract or who want to make an election change should contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to make an appointment.
Program enrollment for 2021 is required in order to participate in the programs, but elections for the 2021 crop year are optional and otherwise remain the same as elections made for 2020.
“FSA offices have multiple programs competing for the time and attention of our staff. Because of the importance and complexities of the ARC and PLC programs, and to ensure we meet your program delivery expectations, please do not wait to start the enrollment process,” said FSA Acting Administrator Steve Peterson. “I cannot emphasize enough the need to begin the program election and enrollment process now. This process can be completed when applying for other FSA programs as well.”
ARC and PLC provide income support to farmers from substantial drops in crop prices or revenues and are vital economic safety nets for most American farms.
Although 1,033,310 contracts have been completed to date, this represents less than 59% of the more than 1.7 million contracts anticipated by the agency. By enrolling soon, producers can beat the rush as the deadline nears.
Producers who do not complete enrollment by close of business local time on March 15 will not be enrolled in ARC or PLC for the 2021 crop year and will be ineligible to receive a payment should one trigger for an eligible crop.
ARC and PLC contracts can be emailed, faxed or physically signed and mailed back to FSA. Producers with level 2 authentication access can electronically sign contracts. Service center staff can also work with producers to sign and securely transmit contracts electronically through two commercially available tools: Box and OneSpan. You can learn more about these solutions at farmers.gov/mydocs. Producers may also make arrangements to drop off signed contracts at the FSA county office. Call ahead for local mailing or drop off information and options for submitting signed contracts electronically.
Producers are eligible to enroll farms with base acres for the following commodities: barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium- and short-grain rice, safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.
FSA recently updated the annual and benchmark yields for ARC/PLC program years 2019, 2020 and 2021. This data is useful to producers in choosing to participate in either ARC or PLC.
For added assistance with ARC and PLC decisions, USDA partnered with the University of Illinois and Texas A&M University to offer web-based decision tools to assist producers in making informed, educated decisions using crop data specific to their respective farming operations. Tools include:
· Gardner-farmdoc Payment Calculator — the University of Illinois tool offers farmers the ability to run payment estimate modeling for their farms and counties for ARC-County and PLC.
· ARC and PLC Decision Tool — the Texas A&M tool that allow producers to analyze payment yield updates and expected payments for 2019 and 2020. Producers who have used the tool in the past should see their username and much of their farm data will already be available in the system.
Producers are reminded that enrolling in ARC or PLC programs can impact eligibility for some crop insurance products. Producers who elect and enroll in PLC also have the option of purchasing Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) through their approved insurance provider. Producers of covered commodities who elect ARC are ineligible for SCO on their planted acres.
Unlike SCO, RMA’s Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO) is unaffected by participating in ARC for the same crop, on the same acres. You may elect ECO regardless of your farm program election.
Upland cotton farmers who choose to enroll seed cotton base acres in ARC or PLC are ineligible for the stacked income protection plan (STAX) on their planted cotton acres.
For more information on ARC and PLC including web-based decision tools, visit farmers.gov/arc-plc.
Submitted by Sarah Fullenkamp, county executive director, Highland County Farm Service Agency.