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Farmers Anxiously Await Farm Bill Rules

Updated: Monday, July 14 2014, 10:21 AM CDT

Five months after President Obama signs a new farm bill, all the rules and regulations that come with it, still aren't in place.

We're in the midst of growing season. and while crops are in great shape now, anything can happen before combines hit the field this fall.

That's why crop insurance is vital for farmers and not knowing what to expect with the new farm bill has growers we spoke with feeling uneasy.

"We're just sitting in limbo as farmers," said Sangamon County Farm Bureau president, Larry Beaty.

Farmers are waiting for information on the farm bill signed five months ago.

"We've got choices we've got to make, but we don't know what those choices are," Beaty said.

That's because the farm bill rules and regulations are still not in place, and farmers can't sign up for the new programs with the Farm Service Agency.

"During the winter probably, we'll be signing up into the ARC and PLC programs. It's one of the new programs with the new farm bill. However, it's going to be retroactive to crop year 2014," said Rick Graden, Executive Officer at the USDA.

The farm bill requires farmers to choose between the two programs, ARC, or Agriculture Risk Coverage, covers the risk of the farmer not receiving targeted revenue.

PLC, or Price Loss Coverage, will make a payment if the calculated US average price for a crop falls below a certain amount.

Programs farmers like, Beaty, depend on.

"We need them in the worst way. Our insurance for sure. We need that. You buy a car and you insure that. Well we spend a lot of money on this crop out here and we need crop insurance," said Beaty.

The trickling in of information from the federal government is frustrating for farmers, but more help will soon be available to help sort it all out.

Earlier this week, Graden learned the hiring freeze has finally been lifted for FSA offices.

"So we were kind of struggling and we were challenged in what we were doing. We now have and will be hiring 40 permanent employees and that's going to be a tremendous help in the future for our producers and us," Graden said.

Graden says farmers still need to certify their crops with the Farm Service Agency as soon as possible.

The deadline is July 15.

Farmers Anxiously Await Farm Bill Rules

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