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Farmers need to sign up for Farm Bill by March 16

The 2018 Farm Bill in available for sign up now until March 16, 2020. If a farmer fails to sign up by this date, their farms will be enrolled the same way they were in the previous 2014 Farm Bill. They will not receive a payment if one is due in 2019, if they do not sign up before the deadline. Farmers - be sure to sign up before the deadline.  At this time, farmers are signing up for the first two years of the Farm Bill 2019 and 2020 and then they will be permitted each year thereafter for the last three years.

Farmers can chose between three choices:

ARC-CO:  Agricultural Risk Coverage – County
                    Revenue coverage based on national price and county yield

PLC:  Price Loss Coverage
           Price coverage based only on national reference price

ARC-IC:  Agricultural Risk Coverage – Individual
                 Whole farm program, all crops planted by each FSA farm number must be ARC-IC
                 and payment based on crops planted

To help evaluate the three choices, farmers should evaluate potential payment yields.

Over 50 Farm Bill meetings have been held across the state. Farmers can find the information from these meetings by going to and can view the workshop presentations, workbook and comparison sheets for ARC-CO and PLC for every county in state.

A calculator is available on several sites, and farmers are encouraged to compare payment amounts based on their estimates for price and yield at:

ARC-CO uses county yields and marketing year average prices to determine a benchmark revenue guarantee. Yields will come from county crop insurance reported yields. Yields varied widely across the state in 2019, but if you think county yields will be well below average, you might want to choose ARC-CO option.

PLC uses reference price to determine payments and for 2019 and probably for 2020 the reference prices are $3.70 for corn, $8.40 for soybeans and $5.50 for wheat. If the marketing year average price is higher than these reference prices, there will be no PLC payments.

ARC-IC uses the farmer actual crops planted and compares those yields to previous five year average yields and marketing year average price and determines if actual income falls below the benchmark revenue.

If the farmer feels yields were poor in 2019, that might encourage signing up for ARC-CO.  If a farmer feels prices will be below the reference prices in 2019 and 2020, that might encourage signing up for PLC. If the farmer had FSA farm numbers with all acres prevented plant, that would max out the ARC-IC payments in 2019. However, the scenario changes if a farmer was able to plant one acre and their payment would be calculated on how that crop performed.

Farmers should get into the FSA office and sign up as soon as possible after they have done their own investigating on which option they feel is best for them.   

Dave Bau, Extension Educator, Ag Business Management, U of M Extension Regional Office, Worthington, 507-372-3900 ext 3906,

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