If you are like many family farmers, you have spent recent weeks sorting through the new provisions of the Farm Bill trying to make the correct decisions. While there are many tools available to assist you, we want to remind you of the important decision dates (summarized from USDA materials).

February 27, 2015 DeadlineFarmers (landowners) need to make the following two decisions by February 27, 2015:

  • Updating payment yields
  • Reallocating base acres

March 31, 2015 Deadline Farmers must also choose a risk protection program by March 31, 2015. Their options include:

  • Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program – If the average national price for a crop falls below a set reference price level, farmers will receive a payment equal to the difference. 
  • Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program – Crop revenue is estimated by using the five-year average for a given commodity. Farmers will receive a payment if their actual crop revenue is less than the projected average. There are two approaches: 
    • County coverage option – Crop revenue is estimated using average county production.  
    • Individual farm coverage – Crop revenue is estimated using farm production history.

Note: If a farmer does not choose a risk protection program by March 31, 2015, they will automatically be assigned to the PLC program.

Other Considerations

  • Once you select the program, it is locked in through the life of the Farm Bill – until 2018.
  • Decisions under the Farm Bill stay with the land regardless of whether the farm changes hands.