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Agricultural News

Vilsack: Will Farmers Get More Time to Make Their Farm Safety Net Decisions?

Mon, 16 Mar 2015 12:42:24 CDT

Vilsack:  Will Farmers Get More Time to Make Their Farm Safety Net Decisions? Will farmers get more time to make their farm safety net program decisions? That was the question posed to US Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack Monday at the National Farmers Union annual convention in Wichita, Kansas. In addressing reporters, Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays asked Secretary Vilsack about having the signup deadline extended. To listen to Vilsack's response, click or tap on the LISTENBAR below.

In February, the US Department of Agriculture extended the deadline for landowners to change their base acres and update their yields. Farmers have now until March 31st to make those changes. Vilsack responded by saying the decision to extend the deadline was based on the numbers.

"If the numbers tell you there's still a lot of people still on the sidelines, a lot of folks we received indications from some parts of the country, there was still confusion about it, so we provided additional time," Vilsack said. "And I think it was obviously an appropriate decision given the fact we are now 90 percent or so of what we expected in, is-in and we still have a couple weeks to go."

Farmers have until the end of March to make their farm safety net selection of Agricultural Risk Coverage or the Price Loss Coverage programs. Vilsack said enrollment has picked up as producers understand it's not fair to Farm Service Agency offices to wait until the last minute. With some technology changes made at FSA offices, Vilsack said farmers are finding the process is quicker than anticipated.

Hays followed up by asking, "Any likelihood of an extension on that March 31st date?"

Vilsack answered saying it was too early to make a commitment on the potential for an extension. He compared it to telling his kids they didn't have to do their homework, so he continues to encourage farmers to get into their local FSA office and finalize their plans.

"If you're ready to make a decision, if you have done all the calculations and you have a pretty good understanding of what you think is likely to happen and you know what's best for your operation, then make the decision and get it on file," Vilsack said. "You want to change it between now and March 31st, fair enough, but make the decision."

Vilsack said he is seeing a significant uptick in the numbers, so he is confident that the numbers will be close to expectations by March 31st. When the time comes, he said they will review the situation before determining if an extension will be needed.

"You have to careful about the timing of all of this because the way in which programs are implemented and the process, but we're pretty pleased where things are at this point and time," Vilsack said.

Ron Hays addresses U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack at NFU convention
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