Within a day of signing the 2018 Farm Bill, a government shutdown went into effect. Questions swirled as to how the farm legislation would be implemented and when, of course. Once the government opened back up, Farm Service Agencies were behind the eight ball to get producers informed and signed up for programs. By then, producers were starting to make crop plans in earnest and even begin work in the fields or at least shops.
In case between the government shutdown and your crop-year start up you missed some of the highlights of this Farm Bill, University of Georgia Extension economists, Yangxuan Liu and Adam Rabinowitz, put together a list of the major changes for easy reference.
• The election between ARC/PLC is one of the key changes for Title I commodities in the 2018 Farm Bill. The initial election will be in 2019 for the 2019 and 2020 crop years. Beginning with the 2021 crop year, producers are allowed to change their ARC/PLC program elections annually.
• A new effective reference price and updated PLC program yields are created for covered commodities.
• The statutory PLC reference prices for Title I commodities remain the same as in the 2014 Farm Bill with seed cotton added. The effective reference price permits the reference price to increase up to 115% of the statutory reference price.
• At the sole discretion of the owner of a farm, the owner shall have a 1-time opportunity to update the PLC payment yield, on a covered-commodity-by-covered-commodity basis. The payment yield is used in calculating the PLC payment for each covered commodity for which the PLC election is made.
• Beginning in 2019, ARC-CO (ARC-County) payments will be based on the physical location of the farm, with farms that cross multiple counties being prorated into each county.
• When calculating the benchmark revenue for ARC-CO, the effective reference price will be used as part of the calculation for the 5-year Olympic average price when the effective reference price is higher than the marketing year average price. In addition, the 5-year Olympic average yield will use either the county average yield or 80% of the county transitional yield, whichever is higher for that year.
For additional information on the Farm Bill, visit the University of Georgia Food, Agriculture and Resource Economic blog at https://site.extension.uga.edu/aaecext/.
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