Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, wrote a letter Friday to USDA wanting to know when exactly farm-program checks will start going out to farmers.
Roberts noted in the letter that he has "heard concerns" with the implementation of the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs.
As Roberts explained in his letter, "Producers expect predictable risk management and planning tools as well as certainty from their government as they look toward financial commitments and other operating decisions for the 2016 crop year. As we move further into the month of October producers are concerned with the timeliness of ARC and PLC payments. The 2014 Farm Bill stipulates that for each program “payments shall be made beginning October 1, or as soon as practicable thereafter, after the end of the applicable marketing year for the covered commodity.” The Farm Service Agency (FSA) has yet to announce or begin processing payments to producers for either ARC or PLC.
"When will FSA begin processing and releasing 2014 crop year ARC and PLC payments to eligible producers? Additionally, how long will it take for all of the appropriate benefits, respectively to be released by FSA?"
In a response to DTN, the Farm Service Agency stated that payments would start going out this month, but USDA officials continue to ask Congress to eliminate the 6.8% sequester cut that will reduce the amount of payments farmers receive.
“We appreciate acknowledgment by the Chairman that USDA’s employees have worked diligently to implement the 2014 Farm Bill, including outreach that resulted in 1.76 million producers electing to participate in the ARC and PLC programs. USDA plans to begin issuing payments to producers this month in keeping with the Farm Bill’s legal requirements. Unfortunately, much of the uncertainty within these programs is caused by sequestration, which forces USDA to reduce ARC and PLC payments by 6.8%. The Administration continues to urge Congress to eliminate this policy, which creates uncertainty not just for farmers and ranchers but for many other American businesses and families.”
We'll keep you posted on any more detailed announcements by USDA.
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