USDA Awards $6 Million for Farm Bill Decision Tools and Education
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding $3 million to the University of Missouri, Texas A&M University and the University of Illinois to lead the development of online decision tools and training programs to help farmers and ranchers determine which new farm bill programs will be best for their businesses.
“Helping farmers and ranchers understand new Farm Bill programs and what the programs mean for their families is one of USDA’s top priorities,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “With the resources we’re providing, university experts will help ensure farmers and ranchers are highly educated as they make critical decisions about new programs that impact their livelihoods. The new tools that will be developed will empower farmers and ranchers to select the plan that best fits their unique needs.”
The new resources will help farmers and ranchers make educated choices between the new Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, using data unique to their specific farming operations. Considering factors like the geographical diversity of crops, soils, weather and climates, growers will be able to test various financial scenarios before choosing and enrolling in ARC or PLC later this year.
Once a producer enrolls in the ARC or PLC program, he or she must remain in the program through the 2018 crop year.
New tools will be provided for other programs – including the STAX program for cotton – as they are developed.
USDA is also awarding $3 million to state cooperative extension services for outreach and education on the new Farm Bill programs. Those outreach meetings will begin late this summer to help farmers and ranchers understand the new programs and their options.
While universities are finalizing new online tools, producers can access a preliminary website that provides background on the new programs and the type of information they will need to consider when deciding which program options work best for them. At this site, farmers and ranchers can view ARC and PLC projected payments, ARC guarantees, and PLC payment rate projections.
Source – USDA