Minding Ag's Business

Make Crop Insurance, ARC-PLC Decisions Ahead of March 15 Deadline

Katie Micik Dehlinger
By  Katie Micik Dehlinger , Farm Business Editor
Farmers need to visit their local Farm Service Agency office to make their ARC-PLC elections before the March 15 deadline, which is also the cut-off date for crop insurance purchases. (DTN file photo by Katie Dehlinger)

The clock is ticking on several important risk management decisions. Farmers have one more week to choose their farm bill safety net program and, for most corn and soybean growers, to buy their crop insurance for the year.

Hopefully you've already given thought to these important farm management choices, and many of you have already visited your local Farm Service Agency office or worked with your crop insurance agent to complete the paperwork. But if you haven't, it needs to be complete by March 15.


Spring crop insurance prices came in lower than 2023 and below levels that would cover most farmers' cost of production. That said, it's an important piece of a farmer's risk management plan and still prevents many of the worst-case scenarios that could put a farm out of business.

For corn, the spring price used in revenue protection guarantees is $4.66 per bushel. For soybeans, it's $11.55. For spring wheat, it's $6.85. You can read more on what that means for risk management plans here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….

"This year in particular, springtime prices for corn and soybeans are well below the prices that were established in 2023," said Tom Zacharias, president of National Crop Insurance Services, in a recent podcast. "Because these springtime prices greatly determine the farmer-paid premium, it is appropriate to carefully evaluate the type of policy and the coverage level each and every season. Should these coverage levels be increased? Should the farmer consider supplemental coverage options to protect more of their operation? These are all questions that the farmer and agent need to address before sales closing." You can listen to his full remarks here: https://cropinsuranceinamerica.org/….

Zacharias said it's important to work with an agent to identify your farm's particular risks, discuss the benefits of any additional endorsements and decide if shallow-loss products like the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) or Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO) make sense.


Each year, farmers choose between the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC). One change this year is that "effective" reference prices for PLC are kicking in for corn, sorghum and soybeans for the first time. Higher Olympic average prices are also boosting the price factors in ARC-County calculations.

A January blog by DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton discusses different scenarios that could generate payments for the 2024 crop, but it's important to remember that any program payments won't be made until fall of 2025. You can read more here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….

There can be interplay between a farmer's crop insurance decision and ARC-PLC election. Producers cannot buy SCO insurance on any farm they've signed up for ARC-County, the main ARC program. Cotton producers cannot buy Stacked Income Protection Program (STAX) coverage if they participate in PLC. There's more on that discussion here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….

Katie Dehlinger can be reached at katie.dehlinger@dtn.com.

Follow her on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @KatieD_DTN.


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