Texas farmers are reminded to contact local U.S. Department of Agriculture-Farm Service Agency offices to update base and yield information by Feb. 27, as agriculture industry officials discussed the 2014 Farm Bill in depth at the recent Ag Forum in Austin.
Judith Canales, Texas Farm Service Agency executive director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in College Station, said farmers can contact their local Farm Service Agency office and be placed on a register prior to the Feb. 27 deadline in order to establish an appointment and update their information.
“This will keep you in process to be able to continue with the next date, which would be the election for the Agricultural Risk Coverage or the Price Loss Coverage decision, which is March 31,” Canales said.
She also advised farmers to utilize the decision aid tool developed by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University in College Station to assist with program decisions, which can be found here.
“This decision is going to have ramifications from here forward during the life of the farm bill, which is 2014 to 2018, and so it’s very important to do that homework,” Canales said. “We’ve been holding county meetings at the local level for the past year. But what we need people to do is to look at the online decision aid made available by Texas A&M and also call your local Texas Farm Service Agency office before Feb. 27 so you can place your name on a register.”
The online decision aid project, co-led by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M, was developed as part of a $3 million education grant for providing online decision aids to assist farmers with the 2014 farm bill. Agricultural Risk Coverage, also known as ARC, and Price Loss Coverage, also known as PLC, are commodity safety-net programs and take the place of direct payments.
Both programs offer farmers protection when market forces cause substantial decreases in crop prices and/or revenues.
(Click for audio interview with Dr. Henry Bryant, Agricultural and Food Policy Center, Texas A&M University, discussing farm bill online decision aid)
At the recent Ag Forum in Austin, Dr. Henry Bryant, research associate with the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M, gave an update on the decision aid and analytical data.
Bryant said from Oct. 15-Feb. 18, there have been 94,467 sessions logged and 34,412 users.
“The heaviest use has been on Monday through Thursday,” he said. “In February, we added 9,602 new users.”
Updated county yields from Farm Service Agency records will be added, Bryant said. Price projections from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri are also updated monthly, he said.