You are here
In 2020, Farmers Can Update PLC Yields
As you work this winter to choose programs under the 2018 Farm Bill, you may want to update yields that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) has on record for your farm or farms.
Those yields are used to calculate payments you might receive through the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. Any higher yields will apply to 2020 crop years and beyond.
“I see most of the PLC yield updates taking place this winter, not just before the deadline next September 30,” says Steve Johnson, Iowa State University farm management specialist.
It makes sense not to procrastinate, even if you don’t pick PLC and instead opt for possible county-level or individual Agriculture Risk Coverage payments, the other major programs. You have until March 15 to elect and enroll in ARC or PLC for 2019 crops and June 30 for the 2020 enrollment.
Unlike picking ARC or PLC, a decision made by the operator, updating PLC yields is the final decision of the landowner. So if you rent, you’ll need a landowner to sign off on the PLC yield update, says Kevin McClure, Chief Agriculture Program Specialist at the Iowa state office of FSA.
“It takes one owner; it doesn’t take them all,” McClure says.
That’s the final step, however. The first, Johnson says, is to go to your FSA office to ask for Form 156EZ. That will list all of the crop base acres on each FSA farm number. And it will show the old PLC yield for each base acre.
The last time you could update those yields was in 2014, using a simple average of crop yields from the years 2008 through 2012. It was multiplied by 90% to give you the PLC yield.
This time, you’ll average the yields from the years 2013 through 2017. That’s multiplied by a factor of 0.81 for corn and soybeans (from multiplying yield by 90% twice).
To illustrate updating PLC yields, Johnson uses a hypothetical Boone County, Iowa, farm with an 80-acre corn base and a 70-acre soybean base. The current, or old, PLC yields are 131 bu./acre for the corn and 41 bu./acre for the soybeans. After averaging yields for the 2013-17 years and multiplying them by 0.81, the new PLC yield for corn is 153, which makes updating worthwhile.
The new soybean yield, due to two poor crop years, is only 38, so the PLC yield for soybeans on that farm would not be updated.
The best way to get yield records for updating is from your crop insurance agent. That will be based on what you recorded with your agent after harvest each year, says Dan Bird, national marketing manager for the crop insurer, Rain and Hail. If you had a claim, that year’s yields were recorded by the adjusters.
One potential pitfall: The crop insurance yields are from insured units.
“FSA is going to want records by the FSA farm serial number, which may not match the unit number,” Bird says.
Your agent may be able to help you sort that out. Rain and Hail has already made that conversion.
“We’ve actually created a report and made it easy for the grower,” Bird says. “The agent can print that out for the grower and they can take it to the FSA office.”
If you decide updating is worthwhile, then you’ll need to ask your landlord to sign another FSA form, CCC-867, McClure says.
Johnson says this joint responsibility of landlord and tenant requires starting the process soon.
“I think tenants need to identify early if they’re going to update PLC yields and compare old PLC yields with their production evidence. They would then want to make plans to work with landlords on those cash rent farms,” he says.