Clock ticking on farm bill deadlines

Farm bill deadline likely to remain March 31 but administrators say flexibility will be offered if needed.

The deadline to sign up for the new farm bill programs is March 31 and comments from top officials say that flexibility will be used if warranted, but as of now there may not need to be an extension of the deadline.

As of March 25, during a radio interview Secretary of Vilsack said 95% of the farms expected to reallocate acres and adjust yields have done so. In addition, 85% of farmers have already made the election between the Average Revenue Coverage (ARC) program or the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. He said daily increases range from 2 to 4%.

When asked about an extension, he said the agency continues to look at day-to-day number. He noted given the pace of signups, it may not be necessary.

Before the House Agriculture Committee on March 26, Farm Service Agency administrator Val Dolcini added  that as long as producers call their local FSA offices ahead of the deadline that they can’t get in, but want to, that still meets the requirements. He said FSA plans to use the month of April to clear up the register.

Some states area more ahead on sign-ups than others. He said the farm bill allocated money to be used for temporary employees and some of those will be able to used in jump teams to help out in places that have a heavy workload remaining on farm bill sign-ups, which he said included states such as Oklahoma and Texas which area also dealing with Livestock Forage Program signups.

USDA plans to make a decision on an extension by the end of the week.

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