Nebraska Farm Bureau "Top 10 List" Helps Farmers Navigate Farm Bill
LINCOLN, NEB. – Nebraska farmers will have a lot of different options to consider when it comes to farm programs under the recently passed 2014 Farm Bill. To help navigate through the changes, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation (NFBF) has developed a list of “Top 10 Things to Know About the 2014 Farm Bill” to aid farmers in evaluating what is included in the new bill and what it might mean for their farm or ranch.
“Farmers are going to have a lot of decisions to make when it comes to participation in the new farm programs; and while the USDA rules for the programs aren’t expected until late 2014, it’s important farmers have a baseline of understanding of what the programs are and the type of decisions they will be asked to make if they participate. The ‘Top 10’ list provides a baseline of information to help them get started,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.
Farmers will have the choice of signing up for one of two versions of the new Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) commodity program or have the ability to participate in a new Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program that replaces direct payments and the ACRE program under the previous farm bill. Participation in the PLC program will also open the door for farmers to participate in a new crop insurance program known as the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO).
“In addition to the new programs, farmers will also find that they will have only one chance to make the decision on which program they will participate in over the life of the five-year farm bill, so it is critical they take a good look at their options and what makes the most sense for their farm operation,” said Jordan Dux, Nebraska Farm Bureau director of national affairs.
Of specific interest to Nebraska farmers and ranchers is the retro-active extension of numerous livestock disaster programs under the farm bill to aid those who suffered livestock and forage losses due to both drought and blizzard conditions going back to 2012. Livestock disaster sign-up begins April 15.
“Nebraska farmers will also note that the new farm bill allows them to select different levels of protection on irrigated versus dryland crop ground under crop insurance, which was not allowed under the previous bill. While this won’t kick in until 2015, it will allow farmers to customize their level of crop insurance coverage to better meet their individual needs,” said Dux.
The farm bill has also brought change to conservation programs. While the mainstay programs of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) remain, several of the previous land preservation and easement programs are now rolled into one program. Farmers will also find the farm bill now links conservation compliance to crop insurance.
“We know there are a lot of questions about the new farm bill and what it will mean for each individual’s situation. We’re committed to helping farmers and ranchers as they work through this process by putting good information in their hands and helping them jump start the process. The ‘Top 10’ list is simply a starting point,” said Nelson.
Nebraska Farm Bureau has developed a 2014 Farm Bill Breakdown web page to provide background information and resources related to the farm bill. The site also allows individuals to submit farm bill questions. The “Top 10 Things to Know About the 2014 Farm Bill” and other resources can be accessed by visiting nefb.org.