Four Things Oklahoma Producers Need to Know About the 2018 Farm Bill and Its New PoliciesMon, 13 May 2019 11:36:55 CDT
Since the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law by President Trump just ahead of the Christmas holiday, the US Department of Agriculture has been busy with its charge of actually piecing the legislation together, working to develop its various programs and adjust existing regulations to align with the new bill’s stipulations as they compare to the previous bill from 2014. Today, months later, the process to fully implement the 2018 Farm Bill continues and, in an effort to keep stakeholders abreast of its progress, the USDA has periodically released reports as they are ready to share the information. Dr. Amy Hagerman of Oklahoma State University’s Agricultural Economics Department presented a digest of that available information from the USDA to local producers recently, during the OSU Lahoma Wheat Field Day held last week. She shared some of the highlights of her report with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays. You can listen to their complete conversation from that day for more information, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
According to Hagerman, the 2018 edition of the Farm Bill includes four major differences that she believes most pertinent to farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma. The first of which, being the modification that now will allow producers the option to change which program, either the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC), they elect to enroll in on an annual basis starting in the 2020-21 crop year.
“That gives producers confidence that in this 2019-20 crop year, they can make some choices based on information that they really already know by the time the signup periods occur in the fall,” Hagerman said. “So, I think that’s a big change for producers. They can have some confidence in what they’re electing to do. Less of the uncertainty of trying to think about sign up for those future years.”
Second, Hagerman says producers should be thinking about yield updates, and consider whether or not the yields they have now make sense for them in the coming few years. Hagerman says some producers may decide it beneficial to update their 2015-17 yield.
Thirdly, producers who operate where “dual-purpose” cropping is considered a viable practice will have the opportunity to take advantage of a new dual-purpose crop insurance policy. According to Hagerman, most counties in Oklahoma will be eligible for this new policy that can be acquired in addition to a multiperil policy.
“That is going to be an option for wheat producers specifically. Producers want to look at that,” she said begging the question, “Do they need some rainfall insurance to go along with their multiperil crop insurance?”
The fourth and final area Hagerman says is most notable in this new Farm Bill, is the Industrial Hemp Program. Hagerman indicates that she has received a lot of interest and questions from producers about this program, though she points out that technically, we are still operating under the 2019 pilot program. The new program will not take effect until next year, she says, but there are still some things being hammered out at this point.
“We’re having to wait for ODAFF to put together their plan for the 2020 crop year,” she said, “before we can really know what that program is going to look like for Oklahoma producers.”
At present, the USDA continues to update producers on their progress of implementing the bill. Hagerman says based on the most recent reports from USDA, the department is currently evaluating land and crop base acres to determine eligibility for ARC and PLC. Once those determinations are complete, she believes the USDA will release more information about when the enrollment dates for those programs will be set. It is likely though that these dates will occur after the 2019 crops are already harvested, potentially starting in September and running through December. She advises producers to stay vigilant for further announcements from the Farm Service Agency about what information will need to be provided and when to enroll in these programs.
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