Enrollment is now open for agricultural producers for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs - two safety net programs - for the 2019 crop year.

Sign up for the programs should be submitted by March 15, 2020.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized and made updates to these two USDA Farm Service Agency programs.

The Agriculture Risk Coverage provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guarantee level. The Price Loss Coverage program provides income support payments on historical base acres when the price for a covered commodity falls below its effective reference price.

"The ARC and PLC programs, in combination with crop insurance, are the bedrock of the farm safety net for crop farmers and something I hear about frequently on the road," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a news release. "This exciting opportunity for enrollment in these programs marks the first time folks will have the opportunity to switch their elections since the 2014 Farm Bill was implemented.

"I am pleased to add that today’s announcement means our staff met yet another major Farm Bill implementation goal and they are continuing to move full speed ahead."

Commodities covered include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain rice), safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.

The election will apply for crop years 2019 and 2020.

According to the USDA, if a 2019 election is not submitted by the deadline of March 15, 2020, the election defaults to the current elections of the crops on the farm established under the 2014 Farm Bill.

If the election defaults, no payments will be earned in 2019.

Producers will have an opportunity to make new elections for crop years 2021 through 2023.

Unless they have a share interest in the farm, farm owners cannot enroll in either program.

According to the USDA, once the 2019 election and enrollment are completed, producers on the farm for 2020 can complete an enrollment contract for the 2020 crop year beginning Oct. 7, and ending June 30, 2020.

Enrollment, which begins Sept. 3, must occur first in 2019, according to the USDA, a producer waiting until Oct. 7, for enrollment will be afforded the opportunity to enroll in either program for both 2019 and 2020 during the same office visit.

Farm owners have a one-time opportunity to update PLC payment yields that takes effect with crop year 2020 and if the owner accompanies the producer to the office, the yield update may be completed during the same office visit. 

Another option available will be the Supplemental Coverage Option through the USDA Risk Management Agency for producers who elect and enroll in PLC.

If a producer of a covered commodity elects the Agriculture Risk Coverage, they will be ineligible for the Supplemental Coverage Option on their planted acres.

According to the USDA, Upland cotton farmers who choose to enroll seed cotton base acres in ARC or PLC are ineligible for the stacked income protection plan on their planted cotton acres.

Producers must not enroll their seed cotton base acres into the Agriculture Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage programs to be eligible for STAX coverage.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com