Producers have less than a month to enroll in Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs. What’s the difference between the two?
“The ARC program is an income support program that typically looks at revenue on a farm or nationally, said Kyle Knapp, production adjustment programs chief with USDA FSA in Lansing. “How it works is when either yield or national price in a country or for an individual, depending on which selection they make for ARC, dips below that historical average, then the program would provide a payment based on some of that deficit.”
It’s not to be confused with PLC.
“PLC is more focused directly at price where it’s going to look at a national reference price for a crop,” he said. “If that current year’s marketing price nationally dips below the average or that reference price, then it will pay out on a deficit.”
While the two programs might sound similar, there are ways for farmers to determine which works best for them. There is a software tool available on the farmers.gov website.
“Producers can go there and put in their own numbers for their farms or operation and guess what they think the national price on these commodities will do for that year and see how the program may make potential payments,” said Knapp.
If a farmer is at a crossroads on whether to sign up or not, Knapp says they should keep market disruptions in mind as we saw with COVID.
“ARC or PLC are another kind of option producers can take to help mitigate some of that risk as we head into more uncertainty and help coming back from what we’ve experienced in the past year,” he said.
Knapp encourages producers to also talk with their local county offices to get an assessment on historical data on yield or how the programs paid out in the past. Roughly 70 percent of Michigan producers have signed up ahead of the March 15 deadline.