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UPDATE: March 31 is deadline for acreage reallocation and yield updates with FSA

DES MOINES, Iowa – UPDATE: The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday it will extend the deadline for producers to update yield history or reallocate base acres until March 31st. If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by March 31st, the farm’s current yield and base will be used.

The deadline to choose between ARC and PLC coverage is also March 31st. According to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, this is an important decision for producers because these programs provide financial protection against unexpected changes in the marketplace.

If a choice is not made by March 31st, no 2014 payments will be made to the farm and it will default to PLC coverage through the 2018 crop year. For more information, click here.

Original story follows:
Friday could be the last chance for a while, for producers to update their yields and reallocate base acres with the Farm Service Agency. Details next.

Under the 2014 farm bill, producers have a rare opportunity to update their yield histories to 90 percent of average yields from 2008 to 2012. Growers can also reallocate base acres, which are the acres of different crops grown on that farm. However producers can’t add new acres.

Farm Service Agency Iowa Executive Director John Whitaker says producers should call their county office before they visit, with the yield update and base acre reallocation deadline closing at the end of business on Friday.

“We have very few opportunities to update bases and yields,” Whitaker explains. “This opportunity was granted in the 2014 farm bill; it hadn’t been granted since 2002. So, it’s an opportunity that producers don’t get every farm bill. You just hate to pass up a chance when you can move yields up. Yields have increased significantly since 2002. Admittedly we have some areas that have had some weather disasters and it doesn’t work to update, but most areas it does.”

The farm bill also prescribes producers choose one of two new farm safety net programs: the Agricultural Risk Coverage program (ARC) or the Price Loss Coverage program (PLC). The deadline for that decision isn’t until March 31. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack estimates about 27 percent of eligible producers have made an election between ARC or PLC. Whitaker encourages producers to make the most of the opportunity.

“You’ve got to make a decision based on where you think the market’s going to move in the future,” says Whitaker of the ARC or PLC decision. “I know that’s a difficult decision. I had to make that decision myself and I’m still going back and thinking, ‘Oh gosh, did I do the right thing?'”

If producers do not make a decision by March 31, they will default into the PLC program, which uses statutory reference prices, rather than production history, to determine whether or not it will pay in a given year.

To hear more from Iowa FSA State Executive Director John Whitaker, click the audio player above this story.