10.09.15

Chairman Roberts to Secretary Vilsack: Producers Need Predictability with ARC/PLC Programs

Farm Service Agency Has Yet to Process Payments to Eligible Producers

OVERLAND PARK, KS – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry today wrote to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack regarding the lack of certainty and communication to farmers about commodity programs.

At issue is the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) implementation of the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. According to law, payments to eligible producers participating in these programs were to start on October 1 or as soon as practicable. The FSA has yet to announce or process payments to producers.

“Farmers have done their part and have signed a contract to participate in the programs. In order to effectively manage their operations, they need some degree of predictability from USDA,” Chairman Roberts said. “I have asked Secretary Vilsack when 2014 crop year payments will be processed because producers deserve to know.”

More than 1.76 million producers have elected to participate in ARC and PLC.

The text of the letter, dated today, is below:

The Honorable Tom Vilsack

Secretary

United States Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20250

Dear Secretary Vilsack,

As the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to implement the Agriculture Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), I have heard concerns with the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs.

Producers expect predictable risk management and planning tools as well as certainty from their government as they look toward financial commitments and other operating decisions for the 2016 crop year. As we move further into the month of October producers are concerned with the timeliness of ARC and PLC payments. The 2014 Farm Bill stipulates that for each program “payments shall be made beginning October 1, or as soon as practicable thereafter, after the end of the applicable marketing year for the covered commodity.” The Farm Service Agency (FSA) has yet to announce or begin processing payments to producers for either ARC or PLC.

When will FSA begin processing and releasing 2014 crop year ARC and PLC payments to eligible producers?  Additionally, how long will it take for all of the appropriate benefits, respectively to be released by FSA?

After the 2014 Farm Bill was signed into law on February 7, 2014, producers faced multiple steps to officially enroll into the ARC and PLC programs.  Owners of farms had a one-time opportunity to update program yields and the option to either maintain the farm’s 2013 base acres or reallocate base acres among those covered commodities planted on the farm.

Additionally, all producers and owners with a share of production had until April 7, 2015 to make a one-time and irrevocable election of PLC, ARC County, or ARC Individual. Finally, producers that elected into the programs had until September 30, 2015, to enroll their farm by signing a contract at their local FSA office in order to receive program benefits.

I appreciate the work that FSA has taken to implement the 2014 Farm Bill and note that more than 1.76 million producers have elected to participate in these programs. 

I look forward to your reply and appreciate your continued work on behalf of farmers and ranchers across the country. 

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Press Contact

Sarah Little
202-224-4774

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