USDA’s Release of Farm Safety Net and Conservation Payments Reflects Need for Reauthorizing the Farm Bill

Washington, D.C. (October 03, 2017) – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program payments for the 2016 crop year and conservation payments through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for 2017. USDA is issuing approximately $8 billion in payments under the ARC and PLC programs for the 2016 crop year, and $1.6 billion under CRP for 2017.  

“Low prices, extreme weather, and disease pressures are causing farmers to have a difficult time making ends meet,” stated David Schemm President of National Association of Wheat Growers and Sharon Springs, KS farmer. “Farm Bill safety net programs, like ARC and PLC, are crucial for growers to recover from a disaster and allow them to survive and farm another year.” 

In discussions with congressional staff, NAWG has discussed the importance of these programs and some adjustments that can be made to enable them to work more effectively for wheat farmers. Specifically, the price and yield functions of the ARC formula should be adjusted so it can be a viable option for producers; and the PLC wheat reference price should be increased to a level closer to $6.50 per bushel to truly enable the program to function as an effective safety net. 

“NAWG applauds USDA for announcing these payments so quickly at the beginning of the new fiscal year. It shows that the USDA recognizes the growing economic hardships being faced by farming families in Rural America. It also reflects the need to quickly reauthorize the Farm Bill which provides growers the security and assurance they need to continue to farm.” 

For more details regarding ARC and PLC programs as they relate to wheat, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc.