Producers learn of Farm Bill provisions at seminar

Tammy Eibey, Jones County Farm Service Agency executive director, speaks to the audience at the Farm Bill Decisions seminar Dec. 19 at the Youth Development Center. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Danielle Day of ISU Extension talks with producers about stress on the farm at Thursday’s seminar.
Pete Temple
Express Sports/Ag Editor

     New and unchanged provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill were discussed by Farm Service Agency (ISU) and Iowa State University Extension experts during a seminar Dec. 19 in the Citizens State Bank Youth Development Center in Monticello.

     About 70 producers were on hand to receive materials and listen to the speakers.

     The first speaker was Tammy Eibey, Jones County Farm Service Agency executive director. She discussed the 2018 Farm Bill provisions regarding Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC), including both the Individual Level and County Level options; and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program.

     Eibey covered the important dates farmers need to know, particularly March 15, 2020, the deadline by which farmers need to have elected which option they will use for the 2019 program year, and by which they need to be enrolled in the program in order to receive payments.

     Failure to make a 2019 election by that date will result in a default to the producer’s current election on the farm, and no payment issued for 2019. The enrollment deadline for the 2020 program year is June 30, 2020. Also, all cropland acres on the farm must be reported, or there will be no payment.

     Later, Ryan Drollette, farm management specialist for ISU extension, discussed the decision producers need to make about whether to go with the ARC or PLC option.

     Among his points were a primary difference between the two:

     • For the ARC-CO program, payments are made when the actual county revenue is less than the ARC-CO guarantee for a covered commodity.

     • For PLC, payments are made when the effective price is less than the statutory reference price for a covered commodity.

     In each case, payments are made on 85 percent of base acres, and are made regardless of commodity planting.

     Drollette also discussed some of the changes to the Farm Bill, particularly when it comes to switching options. The biggest one is that, in 2019, farmers can change their ARC/PLC election for 2019 and 2020. Starting in 2021, switching is an annual decision.

     Also, all FSA farms will have a one-time opportunity to update PLC yields in 2019. New yields will be used starting in 2020 and 2021.

     The bill also contains improved dairy assistance. The Margin Protection Program has been renamed the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) Program, which provides enhanced coverage and lower premiums. Signup begins June 17, 2020.

     Another change is that industrial hemp is now considered an ag commodity. Drollette noted that hemp is not marijuana; it is the plant Cannabis sativa L. with a THC concentration of up to 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

     Also speaking Thursday evening was Danielle Day, human sciences specialist, family life, for ISU extension. Day handled a sensitive topic, that of stress on the farm and related risks of suicide.

     She discussed risk factors, including depression, use of alcohol and drugs, reluctance to seek help, physical illnesses and more.

     Factors that make it less likely that a person will consider or attempt suicide include good mental health care, frequent contact with family and friends, decision-making and problem solving, and having strong spiritual beliefs.

     Day also talked about the warning signs one can find in a person considering suicide, including social media comments, increased drinking or drug use, and mood swings, among others.

     The CORN model can be helpful, Day said, for those who wish to intervene:

     • Choose to engage.

     • Offer support, and listen.

     • Refer the person to help lines.

     • Never leave the person alone or without a plan.




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