Farm Program Deadlines Looming

February 27, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

As we near the end of February, several key Farm Program deadlines are looming.

Today (February 27, 2015) was supposed to be the last day that a landowner could update crop base acres and payment yields. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, however, has just announced that this deadline has been extended to March 31, 2015. This is a decision that landowners, not tenants, must make.

Producers (tenants in the case of a cash rent), on the other hand, must also elect by March 31, 2015, which programs they want for their farms during the next five years: Agricultural Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO), Agricultural Risk Coverage-Individual (ARC_IC), or Price Loss Coverage (PLC). Vilsack has stated this deadline is not being extended, and has urged producers to elect sooner rather than later.

Between mid-April and the summer of 2015, producers must still actually enroll in the programs they elected. This year, they will enroll in both 2014 and 2015 at the same time. In future years, they will enroll annually for the program they elected this year.

Iowa State Extension has provided a number of very helpful tools to assist with farm bill compliance. Polk County Farm Business Management Specialist Steve Johnson has written a recent article that provides a great overview for producers, and Ag Decision Maker houses an entire library of tools and resources. The Farm Service Agency (the USDA arm tasked with implementing the Farm Program) also provides practical tools for producers and landowners seeking further information.