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Common Ground
Farm Credit Services of America Blog

Help Available in Choosing Right Crop Insurance

by Rhonda Smith, vice president of insurance in FCSAmerica’s Sioux Falls office | Oct 28, 2014

Mark this important crop insurance deadline on the calendar: March 31, 2015. This is the last date to elect Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC).

With low commodity prices, it will be difficult for many producers to cover input costs. Our current forecast for the 2015-16 crop year is $3.50 per bushel of corn and $9 for soybeans. Longer range, we expect prices to normalize at $4 for corn and $10 for soybeans. By enrolling in the farm program that fits the needs of their operations, producers can ensure they have the right crop insurance in place to help manage today’s risks.

Crop Insurance GuidelinesUnder the 2014 Farm Bill, producers have one opportunity to elect PLC or ARC. That election will remain in place for the life of the Farm Bill. If producers do not make this one-time decision by March 31, 2015, they will automatically be enrolled in PLC and will be ineligible for a 2014 payment. Both tenants and landlords must agree on the elections.

Producers will need to analyze their options and risks in order to prepare a plan that provides the protection they need. This means looking at all the factors that make each operation unique: the mix of crops, yields and risks, as well as the objectives of the operators and owners involved in the farm.

Deciding which farm program is best for an operation isn’t easy. The programs are market based, meaning no one knows how each will pay out until the year after a crop is harvested. Producers will be making elections based on what they think will happen over the course of the next five years.  But the more informed the decision, the better the protection.

Fortunately, producers have time after harvest to study and weigh their options. Our dedicated Farm Bill page offers a number of videos and tools to assist producers and landowners. Our annual GrowingOn meetings for customer-owners also will include information on PLC and ARC.  GrowingOn meetings in South Dakota are scheduled for December 2 through 9; in Nebraska, GrowingOn meetings will be held December 15 through 18; and in Iowa, GrowingOn is offered January 5 through 22. Contact your local FCSAmerica office to learn more about GrowingOn in your area and to reserve a seat.

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