The new programs, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and
Price Loss Coverage (PLC), are designed to protect against
unexpected drops in crop prices or revenues due to market
Unlike the old direct payments program, which provided funds in
good years and bad years, these new programs only provide
financial assistance when prices or revenues drop below normal.
For example, nationwide, farms participating in ARC-County that
are receiving payments experienced a $20 billion drop in
revenues relative to the historical benchmark. Similarly, lower
prices in commodities such as peanuts and rice have triggered
PLC assistance ?
Also, please note that funds provided by the ARC-County program
can vary from county to county. The 2014 Farm Bill requires
ARC-County payments to be calculated using the national average
market year price (which does not vary by county), and the
average county yield (which varies by county). This creates
county-by-county differences in payment rates. The yield data
comes from surveys conducted by the USDA National Agricultural
Statistics Service (NASS), the national standard that uses the
highest-precision statistical procedures available. Where that
data does not exist, the next strongest data is used:
county-level crop insurance data from the Risk Management
Agency. If that data does not exist, the next strongest data is
used: NASS district data. Where NASS district data doesn’t
exist, the FSA State Committees provide data.
Because the new programs are designed as financial assistance
for prices and revenues lower than normal, not all producers
will receive a payment, (as occurred with the old direct
payments program). ARC/PLC payments are designed to help with
unexpected changes in the marketplace, and to supplement other
assistance programs, such as crop insurance. To learn more about
the data used in calculating payments, how payments are
calculated, crop-specific and state-specific information, please
visit our website at
USDA Begins 49th Enrollment Period for the Conservation
Farmers and ranchers are reminded that the next general
enrollment period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
begins today, Dec. 1, 2015, and ends on Feb. 26, 2016. December
2015 also marks the 30th anniversary of CRP, a federally funded
program that assists agricultural producers with the cost of
restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and
trees to improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and reduce
loss of wildlife habitat.
As of September 2015, 24.2 million acres were enrolled in CRP.
CRP also is protecting more than 170,000 stream miles with
riparian forest and grass buffers, enough to go around the world
7 times. For an interactive tour of CRP success stories from
across the U.S., visit www.fsa.usda.gov/CRPis30, or follow on
Twitter at #CRPis30.
Participants in CRP establish long-term, resource-conserving
plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as
“covers”) to control soil erosion, improve water quality and
develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural
lands. In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments
and cost-share assistance. At times when commodity prices are
low, enrolling sensitive lands in CRP can be especially
attractive to farmers and ranchers, as it softens the economic
hardship for landowners at the same time that it provides
ecological benefits. Contract duration is between 10 and 15
years. The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish
native plant species on marginal agricultural lands for the
primary purpose of preventing soil erosion and improving water
quality and related benefits of reducing loss of wildlife
Contracts on 1.64 million acres of CRP are set to expire on
Sept. 30, 2016. Producers with expiring contracts or producers
with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to evaluate
their options under CRP.
Since it was established on Dec. 23, 1985, CRP has:
- Prevented more than 9 billion tons of soil from eroding,
enough soil to fill 600 million dump trucks;
- Reduced nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to
annually tilled cropland by 95 and 85 percent respectively;
- Sequestered an annual average of 49 million tons of
greenhouse gases, equal to taking 9 million cars off the
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Since 1996, CRP has created nearly 2.7 million acres of restored
For more information FSA conservation programs, visit a local FSA
www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation. To find your local FSA
USDA Improves Access to Capital for
Tribal Farmlands with Multiple Owners
USDA today announced that it is expanding the availability of farm
loans for Indian tribes and members to purchase tribal farmland that
has multiple owners. The improved lending opportunities are possible
due to new authority granted by the 2014 Farm Bill, which allows
USDA to provide revolving loan funds to qualified intermediary
lenders that can relend the funds to qualified tribes and
individuals. The program becomes available today, Dec.1, 2015.
As a direct result of more than a dozen tribal meetings across the
country, USDA is able to implement a solution to a longstanding
barrier to financing, which will increase the availability of farm
loans to Native Americans who want to start or expand a farming or
ranching operation on Indian lands.
Under the 1887 Dawes Act, Indian reservation land was divided and
allotted to individual tribal members such that with the passing of
each generation, title ownership was divided and parceled among
heirs, while the land was not. As a result, land once owned by a
single person could today be owned by hundreds or thousands of
individuals, resulting in what is known as “highly fractionated
Indian land.” In many instances, landowners are unknown or cannot be
located, which complicates the coordination of ownership or prevents
the use of the property altogether. There are more than 245,000
owners of three million fractionated land interests, spanning
approximately 150 Indian reservations.
Under the rules published today, USDA will now allow tribes and
tribal members to submit a farm loan application to an intermediary
lender. To participate, intermediary lenders first must be approved
by USDA. The lenders may be private and tribal nonprofit
corporations, public agencies, Indian tribes, or lenders subject to
federal or state regulation (such as a credit union or other
financial institution). FSA will lend to the intermediary, which
will relend to the applicant. The intermediary lender also will
administer the loan for the applicant.
Additional information on guidelines and criteria for intermediate
lenders and how to file a loan application under Highly Fractionated
Indian Land loan program will be shared Dec. 7, 2015 at the
Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) meeting and Tribal
consultation in Las Vegas, Nev. For more information, visit
www.fsa.usda.gov/farmloans or contact the local FSA county office.
To find the local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.
USDA also has opened a 90-day period for the public to submit
comments on this program. Written comments must be submitted by Feb.
29, 2016, at www.regulations.gov, using Regulation Identifier Number
Please contact your local County FSA Office if you have any
questions regarding this message.