1,200 Farmers Share Farm Bill Election Plans

1,200 Farmers Share Farm Bill Election Plans

Time is ticking for farmers to decide which farm bill program to lock in for the 2014 to 2018 growing seasons. Will farmers saw toward ARC, PLC or some combination?

The March 4 Farm Journal Pulse asked: Which farm program will you elect?

Here are the results from more than 1,200 farmer responses:

  • ARC: 44%
  • PLC: 5%
  • ARC-IC: 3%
  • ARC-CO & PLC: 24%
  • PLC & SCO: 1%
  • Have not decided: 18%
  • Does not apply to me: 5%


See an interactive map of the results:



Still not sure which one to choose? Here’s a quick overview of the different options:

Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC)


The ARC-county option is a county revenue program. Therefore, payments will only be based on county revenues (calculated using county yields and national prices). Farm-level yields do not enter into the payment calculation. The coverage starts at 86% of the benchmark county revenue and covers down to 76% (or a 10% max). Payments are determined by the difference between the actual county revenue and the 86% guarantee and made on 85% of the crop’s base acres. The benchmark revenue is the Olympic average of the national average MYA prices multiplied by the Olympic average of the county average yields for the most recent five crop years. It will change over time. It allows individual selection of crops.



The ARC-individual coverage is for an entire FSA farm and is based on the national average MYA price and each crop’s actual yields weighted by planted acres in the crop year, falls below a historical benchmark revenue. Coverage starts at 86% of the whole farm benchmark revenue and covers down to 76% (or a 10% max). Payments are determined by the difference between the actual farm revenue and the 86% guarantee and made on 65% of the crop’s base acres. Generally, ARC-IC will have lower payments than ARC-CO because ARC-IC pays on 65% of base acres while ARC-CO and PLC pays on 85%. Payments will also be based on multiple crops and will aggregate if an operator enrolls more than one of his or her FSA farms in ARC-IC. Consider ARC-IC if your crops average 20 bu. more than county.



The Price Loss Coverage option triggers payments when prices drop below a reference price (Corn: $3.70; Soybeans: $8.40; Wheat: $5.50). Payments are made on the difference between the reference price and the MYA, multiplied by the payment yield and paid on 85% of the program crop’s base acres. PLC is the default program, as it is automatically elected for an FSA farm not enrolled in any program by March 31 or if operators cannot agree. Consider this option as price protection, since it is similar to the old counter-cyclical program.



Farmers who sign up for PLC can opt for the Supplemental Coverage Option, a new crop insurance product that offers loss coverage for a portion of the farmer’s insurance deductible on an area-wide basis. For example, if a producer purchases a yield protection policy, SCO provides additional county-level yield protection. If the producer purchases a revenue protection policy, SCO provides additional county-level revenue protection. The SCO option is available starting for the 2015 crop year. Farmers elect to participate each year.

Farmers can also mix PLC and ARC-CO. 


Webinars and eBook

Farm Journal has put together a series of free webinars to help you be ready for the looming decisions. Each hour-long webinar features Paul Neiffer and Jamie Wasemiller, and will allow for a question-and-answer session.

Register for the upcoming Webinars:

Download our Farm Bill Decisions eBook!

We’ll outline everything you need to know to make the right decision for your farm, and offer you tools and expert advice.


How has the process been for you? What questions remain unanswered as these deadlines approach? Let us know on the AgWeb discussion boards.

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Spell Check

Cb, MT
3/13/2015 11:06 AM

  If you guys trust the govt Ag statistics people to come out with realistic data, I have some palm trees to sell you. Our basis and discounts are terrible, yet our county prices are determined to be high. Arc-ic covers catastrophies such as hail storms. The program itself is basically just an employment program for Fsa and other government workers. It is too convoluted with too many (to be determined later) clauses.

Lewistown, MT
3/13/2015 01:17 PM

  PLC looks like it will pay out big in a lot of crops because the reference prices are really high versus the current market. On the other hand ARC uses the average of the five highest price years I remember. If prices are going to keep falling and stay down, I like PLC. If the prices are going to bounce or if my county is going to get a couple of drought years, I like ARC. I am going to take some of both. Barley and Lentils - PLC, Wheat - ARC county. ARC In never pays!


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