Agricultural Law for Iowa and Missouri

Government Programs

June 1 is the deadline to be compliant with conservation requirements in order to be eligible for federal crop insurance premium subsidies and other USDA programs. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) just released a brief resource for checking to ensure your farm meets Conservation Compliance requirements.  You can view the full resource on the NRCS website, and a brief summary is provided below.

Conservation compliance means complying with the requirements for highly erodible lands (HEL) and wetlands. Farmers who have HEL or wetlands must comply with requirements to be eligible to receive many USDA benefits, including loans, disaster assistance, federal crop insurance premium subsidies and conservation assistance. Continue reading

The USDA announced today that farmers will have one more week to elect Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC), the safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill. April 7, 2015 will also be the final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres.

Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, said, “This is an important decision for producers because these programs help farmers and ranchers protect their operations from unexpected changes in the marketplace. Nearly 98 percent of owners have already updated yield and base acres, and 90 percent of producers have enrolled in ARC or PLC. These numbers are strong, and continue to rise. This additional week will give producers a little more time to have those final conversations, review their data, visit their local Farm Service Agency offices, and make their decisions.”
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In order to be eligible to receive payments under many USDA farm programs, including the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, a person must qualify as “actively engaged in farming.” Under current regulations actively engaged in farming means a contribution of land, capital, or equipment as well as labor or active personal management. The 2014 Farm Bill requires the USDA to formulate a new definition of “actively engaged in farming,” or, more specifically, to further define what “active personal management” means.

This mandatory change from Congress stems in large part from critics of the program alleging that wealthy landowners were qualifying for farm program payments Continue reading