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2020 ARC/PLC Enrollment Open Until June 30

Agricultural producers who have not yet enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2020 must do so by June 30. Although program elections for the 2020 crop year remain the same as elections made for 2019, all producers need to contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to sign a 2020 enrollment contract.
 
To date, more than 1.4 million ARC and PLC contracts have been signed for the 2020 crop year. This represents 89 percent of expected enrollment.
 
Producers who do not complete enrollment by close of business local time on Tuesday, June 30 will not be enrolled in ARC or PLC for the 2020 crop year and will be ineligible to receive a payment should one trigger for an eligible crop.
 
ARC and PLC contracts can be mailed or emailed to producers for signature depending on producer preference. Signed contracts can be mailed or emailed back to FSA or, arrangements can be made in advance with FSA to drop off signed contracts at the FSA county office – call ahead for local drop off and other options available for submitting signed contracts electronically.

ND FSA Offices Open for In-Person Appointments

North Dakota USDA Service Centers (Farm Service Agency and Natural Resource Conservation Service) may now conduct business in person in the office by appointment only. Visitors will be pre-screened based on health concerns or recent travel and must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are encouraged to wear a face covering during their appointments and must call ahead and schedule an appointment.
 
Online services are still available to customers, including the new Box and OneSpan functionality that enable customers to sign and share FSA and NRCS documents with USDA Service Center staff in just a few clicks. Producers can get started with a simple username and password for Box or, for OneSpan, a quick identity verification. Additional services are available to customers with an eAuth account, which provides access to the farmers.gov portal where producers can view USDA farm loan information and payments and view and track certain USDA program applications and payments. Through the FSA website, customers can access certain FSA programs and view FSA data, including maps, on FSAfarm+. Customers who do not already have an eAuth account can enroll at farmers.gov/sign-in

Record Prevent Plant Acreage

The Farm Service Agency is estimating 2019 prevent plant acreage at a record 19.6 million acres. That compares to the previous record of just under 11 million acres in 2011. South Dakota leads the nation with nearly 4 million acres of PP. Illinois and Ohio each had about 1.5 million acres reported as prevented plant. Minnesota has nearly 1.2 million; Indiana has 943,000 acres and North Dakota has 319,000 acres in PP.

First Round of MFP 2.0 Payments Being Processed

Farmers should start receiving the first round of Market Facilitation Program payments very soon. According to USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce, the payment process began Wednesday for farmers with approved applications. “Over 200,000 applications have been received since sign up began on July 29,” says Fordyce.

Farmers should expect to see up to $14.5 billion in payments. The first tranche covers 50 percent of that amount. The second and third payments of 25 percent each will depend on conditions at the time. “We’ll look at if there has been movement in trade negotiations in late fall. If not, then we’ll look at it again in January.” The MFP 2.0 application deadline is December 6.

Prevent Plant Acres Total Over 19 Million

USDA’s Farm Service Agency released more information on prevent plant acres for 2019. U.S. farmers reported 11.2 million prevent plant acres of corn, 4.3 million acres of soybeans and 2.2 million acres for wheat. That makes for a grand total of more than 19 million PP acres for 2019, the most acres reported since FSA started releasing the report. In Minnesota, there are currently 1.1 million acres enrolled in prevent plant. North Dakota has over 830,00 acres enrolled, and South Dakota has 3.8 million acres. Updated information will be available each month through January 2020.

FSA Administrator Visits ND to Discuss MFP Payments

USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce paid a visit to North Dakota, meeting with farmers, agriculture organizations and other state leaders. The trip was prompted by North Dakota Senator John Hoeven to discuss details of the new Market Facilitation Program payments. This was the first roundtable event for the Administrator with farmers regarding the payments.
 
Farmers are still curious as to how the county rates were determined. Fordyce said in order to get payments out sooner rather than later, USDA had to come up with a calculation that didn’t require taking a crop to harvest. “It’s based on acres of crops that were planted in that county, the average yields of those crops times a number by commodity,” said Fordyce. “For example, if there was a county that experienced a weather anomaly within the last three years, that would impact the county yield number.”
 
Hear more and read more about Fordyce’s visit.