SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The deadline to sign up for either the Agriculture Risk Coverage or the Price Loss Coverage program nears and farmers are encouraged not to wait until the last minute.
“The clock is ticking. March 16 is the last day to make what is likely one of the most important business decisions you will make for your farming operation this year,” said Bill Graff, Illinois Farm Service Agency executive director.
“If you have not already visited your local FSA county office to make your election for either the ARC or the PLC program and to sign your annual enrollment contract, you should call and make your appointment now.”
As of Feb. 6, 43,000 farms have signed up and 118,000 across the state are yet to enroll.
“We’re getting it down to the point that it’s literally becoming a math problem. We have to do over 4,500 contracts a day in Illinois through March 16. We did 10,000 contracts so far this week, but we really need to be doing closer to 15,000 contracts a week, and the more the farmers delay the bigger the math problem becomes. You can only do so many contracts an hour; you can only do so many a day,” Graff said.
Through late last week, one county had 80% of its farms enrolled, another was at 60%, several were in the 50% range, a large number of counties were around 40%, and some counties have only 8% of the farms signed up.
“It’s going to be real tough for the counties that are lagging behind to get it done. I don’t want anybody to be left out,” Graff continued.
There are no provisions for late filing.
“If you do not make a selection by March 16, we will make that selection for you and what we will do is give the farm the same election that the farm had in 2018 under the old farm bill. But you won’t have a contract that you’ll get paid on in 2019,” Graff noted.
“So, if you don’t make this election, the election is going to be made for you and it may not be the one that you want. It may not be the one that’s going to pay the best.
“Especially farmers with wheat base and farmers that had a lot of prevent plant and failed acres, they really need to be going into the office and making some decisions right now.”
The new program contracts must include the landowners’ signatures, making it that much more important to start the process now.
Graff added that farmers can choose a particular program and if they need to make a change they can before the deadline.
Information resources are available via links on the national FSA website, including the University of Illinois’ farmdoc and Texas A&M’s Agriculture and Food Policy Center websites. Both feature decision-making tools to determine which program may be the best fit for a farm or crop.
To help farmers make informed decisions in the program selection process, FSA has hosted about 275 informational meetings. Upcoming meetings are:
• Feb. 18 — Jo Daviess County FSA office, 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Feb. 19 — Carroll County FSA office, 1 p.m.
• Feb. 20 — Ogle County FSA office, 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Feb. 21 — Carroll County FSA office, 9 a.m.
• Feb. 24 — Ogle County FSA office, 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Feb. 25 — Jo Daviess County FSA office, 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Feb. 26 — Carroll County FSA office, 1 p.m.
•n Feb. 27 — Ogle County FSA office, 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Feb. 27 — Jo Daviess County FSA office, 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Feb. 28 — Carroll County FSA office, 9 a.m.
The ARC-County program provides income support tied to historical base acres, not current production, of covered commodities. ARC-CO payments are issued when the actual county crop revenue of a covered commodity is less than the ARC-CO guarantee for the covered commodity.
PLC program payments are issued when the effective price of a covered commodity is less than the respective reference price for that commodity. The effective price equals the higher of the market year average price or the national average loan rate for the covered commodity.