Winter is the best time to enroll in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency’s Agricultural Risk Coverage/Price Loss Coverage, according to John Gaynor, FSA director for Fulton and Lucas counties.
The program, more familiarly known as ARC/PLC, is basically provided for some protection against loss of agricultural income for certain commodities. Annual enrollment is required for participation, and winter months are the best time to sign up, before planting and growing season, Gaynor said.
Last year, farmers had the opportunity to select either ARC or PLC for each commodity. The three main commodities involved with ARC or PLC in northwest Ohio are corn, soybeans, and wheat. No selection changes are permitted between ARC and PLC, and the selection is permanent through 2018. After that, the 2014 Farm Bill will expire.
Eligibility updates are the main reason for annual ARC/PLC enrollment. Farmers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office to keep their records updated. Many tracts of farmland change operators or owners due to rents, sales, inheritance, trusts, and incorporations, among other reasons.
Acreage reports are also required after planting is complete. However, delays can occur upon visiting the FSA office to enroll or report acres if records and eligibility updates are not completed in a timely manner. Updates normally require documented proof or forms to be provided to FSA, such as deeds, rental agreements, entity changes, addresses, and bank account numbers.
“Speed of FSA service is only as good as speed of farmers updating records,” Gaynor said.
FSA is rarely able to update records and provide service such as enrollment or acreage reporting during the same visit to the FSA office, Gaynor said. “It’s a lot easier to spend a few minutes on a snowy day at the FSA office than to spend several hours at the FSA on a sunny day during planting season,” he said.
Information and more extensive details about USDA FSA farm programs in Ohio can be found online at www.fsa.usda.gov/oh or by contacting the local FSA office located in most county agricultural service centers.