USDA Opens 2020 Enrollment for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs

USDAAgricultural producers now can enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs – two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety net programs – for the 2020 crop year. Meanwhile, producers who enrolled farms for the 2018 crop year have started receiving more than $1.5 billion for covered commodities for which payments were triggered under such programs.

“These two programs provide income support to help producers manage the ups and downs in revenues and prices,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “USDA is here to support the economic stability of American agricultural producers by helping them maintain their competitive edge in times of economic stress. We encourage producers to consider enrolling in one of these programs.”

ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guaranteed level. PLC provides income support payments on historical base acres when the effective price for a covered commodity falls below its reference price. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized and updated both programs.

Signup for the 2020 crop year closes June 30, 2020, while signup for the 2019 crop year closes March 15, 2020. Producers who have not yet enrolled for 2019 can enroll for both 2019 and 2020 during the same visit to an FSA county office.

ARC and PLC have options for the farm operator who is actively farming the land as well as the owner of the land. Farm owners also have a one-time opportunity to update PLC payment yields beginning with crop year 2020. If the farm owner and producer visit the FSA county office together, FSA can also update yield information during that visit.

Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium and short grain rice, safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. 

2018 Crop Year ARC and PLC Payments

FSA began processing payments last week for 2018 ARC-County (ARC-CO) and PLC on covered commodities that met payment triggers on enrolled farms in the 2018 crop year. In addition to the $1.5 billion now in process, FSA anticipates it will issue another $1 billion in November once USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service publishes additional commodity prices for the 2018 crop.

Producers who had 2018 covered commodities enrolled in ARC-CO can visit www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc for payment rates applicable to their county and each covered commodity.  For farms and covered commodities enrolled in 2018 PLC, the following crops met payment triggers:  barley, canola, corn, dry peas, grain sorghum, lentils, peanuts, and wheat.

Oats and soybeans did not meet 2018 PLC payment triggers.

2018 PLC payment rates for the following covered commodities have not been determined: crambe, flaxseed, large and small chickpeas, long and medium grain rice, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower, seed cotton, sesame seed, sunflower seed and temperate Japonica rice.

More Information

On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which provides income support, certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation.

For more information on ARC and PLC including two online decision tools that assist producers in making enrollment and election decisions specific to their operations, visit the ARC and PLC webpage.

For additional questions and assistance, contact your local USDA service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.

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October/November 2019 – Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The October/November 2019 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

octnov2019_coverThis issue features:

  • National Peanut Research Lab Celebrates 50 Years of Research
  • American Peanut Growers Group Opens New Blancher
  • Delta Peanut Breaks Ground
  • Georgia Peanut Farm Show set for January 16
  • Review of the 2019 Southern Peanut Growers Conference
  • 2019 Georgia Peanut Tour Showcases South Central Georgia
  • Peanut Leadership Academy Travels to West Texas
  • Congressional Staff Tour South Georgia
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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Producer Education Meetings on WHIP, MFP and ARC/PLC

2019_gafsaproduceredmtgThe University of Georgia Extension and Georgia FSA are hosting producer education meetings throughout the state of Georgia the first full week of October. Topics include 2018 Farm Bill, WHIP, MFP, ARC and PLC programs. Meetings will be held Oct. 8-11, 2019, in Bainbridge, Tifton, Douglas, Reynolds, Waynesboro, Bogart and Cartersville.

Oct. 8, 2019
10:00 – 11:30 a.m. – Decatur County Extension Office, Bainbridge, Ga. (No RSVP Required)
3:00 – 4:30 p.m. – UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, Tifton, Ga. (No RSVP Required)

Oct. 9, 2019
9:00 – 10:30 a.m. – Weir Center, Douglas, Ga. (No RSVP Required)
3:00 – 4:30 p.m. – Flint Energies, Reynolds, Ga. (No RSVP Required)

Oct. 10, 2019
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Burke County Extension Office, Waynesboro, Ga.
RSVP Required (Lunch Provided) – Call 706-554-2119

Oct. 11, 2019
8:00 – 9:30 a.m. – Athens-Clarke County Extension Office, Bogart, Ga.
RSVP Required – Call 706-546-2266 or email jackie.clark@usda.gov

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. – Bartow County Extension Office, Cartersville, Ga.
RSVP Required – Call 706-546-2266 or email jackie.clark@usda.gov

Download Meeting Flyer.

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Trade and Disaster Assistance Available to Georgia Agricultural Producers Impacted by Tariffs and Natural Disasters

Agricultural producers are facing tough times.  Under the direction of President Donald Trump and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to ensuring producers suffer minimal financial impact from the wrath of Mother Nature and trade tariffs implemented by China and others.

Trade Impact Assistance

On July 29, signup began for the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and will continue through December 6, 2019.  MFP provides up to $14.5 billion in direct payments to agricultural producers who have been affected by unjustified retaliatory foreign tariffs on U.S. farm goods; causing a loss of traditional export markets.

Non-Specialty Crops

Assistance for covered non-specialty crops is based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings, in aggregate in 2019.  A producer’s total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings.  Calculations will consider new farmers, fallow ground, and farms exiting the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

County payment rates range from $15 to $150 per acre, depending on the impact of unjustified trade retaliation on that county.  Producers will receive a payment based on 2019 planted acreage multiplied by county payment rate.

Livestock

Dairy producers who were in business as of June 1, 2019, will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history, and hog producers will receive a payment based on the number of live hogs owned on a day selected by the producer between April 1 and May 15, 2019.

Specialty Crops

For specialty crops, producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of fruit or nut bearing plants.  Rates include:  Dairy (milk): $0.20 per hundredweight, Hogs:  $11 per head, Nuts:  $146 per acre, and table grapes:  $0.03 per pound at 20,820 pounds per acre.

Payment Limitation and Eligibility

Payments for each category of covered commodity (non-specialty, livestock and specialty) are limited to $250,000 per person or legal entity, but no applicant can receive more than $500,000 (for example, a dairy producer who grows cotton and produces pecans can only receive $500,000).

To be eligible for payments, applicants also must either: have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2015, 2016, and 2017 of less than $900,000 or derive at least 75% of their adjusted gross income from farming.

MFP payments will be made in up to three installments, with the second and third installments evaluated as market conditions and trade impact dictates.  If conditions warrant, the second and third installments will be made in November 2019 and early January 2020.  The first payment will be issued based on the higher of the larger of 50 percent of a calculated county payment rate or $15 per acre.

A list of covered commodities, the MFP application, and payment rates can be found at farmers.gov/mfp.

Disaster Recovery Assistance

 Hurricane Michael

The 2018 growing season was one of extreme difficulty for Georgia producers.  Last October one of the most productive crop years on record was battered and destroyed by Hurricane Michael.  According to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, Hurricane Michael caused more than $2.5 billion in losses to Georgia’s agricultural sector.

Responding to this devastation, Congress passed, and President Trump signed, the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019.  The law provides assistance for production losses from Hurricane Michael through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+).

The disaster relief package also includes new Milk Loss and On-Farm Storage Loss programs to help producers who had to dump or remove milk without compensation or for losses of harvested commodities, including hay that was stored in on-farm structures.

Peach and blueberry producers will also receive assistance from 2017 freezes that affected 2017 and 2018 production through the original regulations of the 2017 WHIP program.

WHIP+

Signup for WHIP+ began on September 11 and will continue into 2020.  WHIP+ builds off the 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (WHIP) and is available to producers who have suffered eligible losses of certain crops, trees, bushes, or vines.

To be considered eligible for WHIP+, producers must farm land in a Secretarially or Presidentially-declared disaster county.  Producers outside one of those counties may be still be eligible for assistance if they can prove that they experienced the minimum level of loss due to a qualifying, eligible disaster event.

Eligibility will be determined for each producer based on the size of the loss and the level of noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) or conventional crop insurance coverage obtained by the producer.  A “WHIP+ factor” will be determined for each crop based on the producer’s coverage level.  Producers who elected higher coverage levels will receive a higher WHIP+ factor.  Producers who suffered crop losses due to Hurricane Michael will be compensated at 100 percent of their calculated WHIP+ payment, once the application is approved.

WHIP+ benefits will be subject to a per person or legal entity payment limitation of $125,000 or $250,000 if at least 75 percent of the person’s or legal entity’s average income is derived from farming, ranching, or forestry related activities, provided the participant submits the required certification and documentation.

Both insured and uninsured producers are eligible to apply for WHIP+.  Producers receiving assistance through WHIP+ will be required to purchase crop insurance or NAP coverage, at the minimum 60 percent level for the next two consecutive crop years.

USDA is also working with Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner to further assist growers through state block grants for producer losses not covered by WHIP+ or other USDA disaster programs.

For county rates, a WHIP+ application or related program information, visit farmers.gov/whip-plus.

For more information, please contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency Service Center farmers.gov/service-locator.

by Tas Smith, State Executive Director, USDA Farm Service Agency – Georgia

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USDA Resources Available for Farmers Hurt by 2018, 2019 Disasters

USDAWASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 9, 2019 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that agricultural producers affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, including Hurricane Dorian, can apply for assistance through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). Signup for this U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program will begin Sept. 11, 2019.

“U.S. agriculture has been dealt a hefty blow by extreme weather over the last several years, and 2019 is no exception,” Perdue said. “The scope of this year’s prevented planting alone is devastating, and although these disaster program benefits will not make producers whole, we hope the assistance will ease some of the financial strain farmers, ranchers and their families are experiencing. President Trump has the backs of our farmers, and we are working to support America’s great patriot farmers.”

More than $3 billion is available through the disaster relief package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in early June. WHIP+ builds on the successes of its predecessor program the 2017 Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP) that was authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. In addition, the relief package included new programs to cover losses for milk dumped or removed from the commercial market and losses of eligible farm stored commodities due to eligible disaster events in 2018 and 2019. Also, prevented planting supplemental disaster payments will provide support to producers who were prevented from planting eligible crops for the 2019 crop year.

Eligibility

WHIP+ will be available for eligible producers who have suffered eligible losses of certain crops, trees, bushes or vines in counties with a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or a Secretarial Disaster Designation (primary counties only). Disaster losses must have been a result of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms or wildfires that occurred in 2018 or 2019. Also, producers in counties that did not received a disaster declaration or designation may still apply for WHIP+ but must provide supporting documentation to establish that the crops were directly affected by a qualifying disaster loss.

A list of counties that received qualifying disaster declarations and designations is available at farmers.gov/recover/whip-plus. Because grazing and livestock losses, other than milk losses, are covered by other disaster recovery programs offered through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), those losses are not eligible for WHIP+.

General Eligibility and Payment Limitations

WHIP+ is only designed to provide assistance for production losses, however, if quality was taken into consideration under federal crop insurance or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy, where production was further adjusted, the adjusted production will be used in calculating assistance under this program.

Eligible crops include those for which federal crop insurance or NAP coverage is available, excluding crops intended for grazing. A list of crops covered by crop insurance is available through USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) Actuarial Information Browser at webapp.rma.usda.gov/apps/actuarialinformationbrowser.

Eligibility will be determined for each producer based on the size of the loss and the level of insurance coverage elected by the producer. A WHIP+ factor will be determined for each crop based on a producer’s coverage level. Producers who elected higher coverage levels will receive a higher WHIP+ factor.

The WHIP+ payment factor ranges from 75 percent to 95 percent, depending on the level of crop insurance coverage or NAP coverage that a producer obtained for the crop. Producers who did not insure their crops in 2018 or 2019 will receive 70 percent of the expected value of the crop. Insured crops (either crop insurance or NAP coverage) will receive between 75 percent and 95 percent of expected value; those who purchased the highest levels of coverage will receive 95-percent of the expected value.

Once signup begins, a producer will be asked to provide verifiable and reliable production records. If a producer is unable to provide production records, WHIP+ payments will be determined based on the lower of either the actual loss certified by the producer and determined acceptable by FSA or the county expected yield and county disaster yield. The county disaster yield is the production that a producer would have been expected to make based on the eligible disaster conditions in the county.

WHIP+ payments for 2018 disasters will be eligible for 100 percent of their calculated value. WHIP+ payments for 2019 disasters will be limited to an initial 50 percent of their calculated value, with an opportunity to receive up to the remaining 50 percent after January 1, 2020, if sufficient funding remains.

WHIP+ benefits will be subject to a payment limitation of either $125,000 or $250,000 per crop year, depending upon their verified average adjusted gross income. As under 2017 WHIP, the payment limitation for WHIP+ factors in the person’s or legal entity’s income from activities related to farming, ranching, or forestry. Specifically, a person or legal entity, other than a joint venture or general partnership, cannot receive more than $125,000 in payments under WHIP+, if their average adjusted gross farm income is less than 75 percent of their average adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2015, 2016, and 2017. The $125,000 payment limitation is single total combined limitation for payments for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 crop years. However, if at least 75 percent of the person or legal entity’s average AGI is derived from farming, ranching, or forestry related activities and the participant provides the required certification and documentation, the person or legal entity, other than a joint venture or general partnership, is eligible to receive, directly or indirectly, up to $250,000 per crop year in WHIP+ payments, with a total combined limitation for payments for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 crop years of $500,000. The relevant tax years for establishing a producer’s AGI and percentage derived from farming, ranching, or forestry related activities for WHIP+ are 2015, 2016, and 2017. For information regarding the payment limitation that applies to WHIP+, please contact your local USDA service center or visit farmers.gov/recover.

Future Insurance Coverage Requirements

Both insured and uninsured producers are eligible to apply for WHIP+. But all producers receiving WHIP+ payments will be required to purchase crop insurance or NAP, at the 60 percent coverage level or higher, for the next two available, consecutive crop years after the crop year for which WHIP+ payments were paid. Producers who fail to purchase crop insurance for the next two applicable, consecutive years will be required to pay back the WHIP+ payment.

Additional Loss Coverage

The Milk Loss Program will provide payments to eligible dairy operations for milk that was dumped or removed without compensation from the commercial milk market because of a qualifying 2018 and 2019 natural disaster. Producers who suffered losses of harvested commodities, including hay, stored in on-farm structures in 2018 and 2019 will receive assistance through the On-Farm Storage Loss Program.

Additionally, the disaster relief measure expanded coverage of the 2017 WHIP to include losses from Tropical Storm Cindy, and peach and blueberry crop losses that resulted from extreme cold.

Enhanced Assistance Through Tree Assistance Program (TAP)

TAP traditionally provides cost-share for replanting and rehabilitating eligible trees. WHIP+ will provide payments based on the loss of value of the tree, bush or vine itself. Therefore, eligible producers may receive both a TAP and a 2017 WHIP or WHIP+ payment for the same acreage.

In addition, TAP policy has been updated to assist eligible orchardists or nursery tree growers of pecan trees with a tree mortality rate that exceeds 7.5 percent (adjusted for normal mortality) but is less than 15 percent (adjusted for normal mortality) for losses incurred during 2018.

Prevented Planting

Agricultural producers faced significant challenges planting crops in 2019 in many parts of the country. All producers with flooding or excess moisture-related prevented planting insurance claims in calendar year 2019 will receive a prevented planting supplemental disaster (“bonus”) payment equal to 10 percent of their prevented planting indemnity, plus an additional 5 percent will be provided to those who purchased harvest price option coverage.

As under 2017 WHIP, WHIP+ will provide prevented planting assistance to uninsured producers, NAP producers and producers who may have been prevented from planting an insured crop in the 2018 crop year and those 2019 crops that had a final planting date prior to January 1, 2019.

Other USDA Disaster Recovery Assistance

When major disasters strike, USDA has an emergency loan program that provides eligible farmers low-interest loans to help them recover from production and physical losses.

Livestock owners and contract growers who experience above normal livestock deaths because of specific weather events, as well as from disease or animal attacks, may qualify for assistance under USDA’s Livestock Indemnity Program. Producers who suffer losses to or are prevented from planting agricultural commodities not covered by federal crop insurance may be eligible for assistance under USDA’s Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program if the losses were from natural disasters.

USDA’s Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program provides payments to producers of these commodities to help compensate for losses because of diseases (including cattle tick fever) and adverse weather or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, that are not covered by other disaster programs.

USDA also provides financial resources through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program for immediate needs and long-term support to help recover from natural disasters and conserve water resources. Additionally, the Emergency Watershed Protection Program helps local communities immediately begin relieving imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods. In addition, the Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and help put in place methods for water conservation during severe drought.

For more information on FSA disaster assistance programs, please contact your local USDA service center or visit farmers.gov/recover. For all available USDA disaster assistance programs, go to USDA’s disaster resources website.

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New UGA scientist will study soil makeup on Tifton campus

sintimGeorgia feels like home for Ghana-native soil scientist Henry Sintim, and that’s what drew him to the University of Georgia Tifton campus.

Sintim joined the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences on Aug. 1 as an assistant professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. His area of expertise lies in studying the makeup of the soil and the nutrients that are vital to row crop production, specifically corn, cotton, peanuts and soybeans. Sintim will be based at UGA-Tifton.

“The amazing thing is that Georgia has a climate that resembles the climate that I have in Ghana. Coming here, I’ve come home,” he said. “It’s so amazing to hear people talk about the South.”

His primary role will be to develop a research program on ways to reduce the loss of nutrients in row crop production and to investigate new biological products designed to enhance nutrient uptake and efficiency in plants. Sintim plans to take a sustainable systems approach that will improve soil’s overall long-term health.

“We’ll be looking at improving the soil health with nutrient management being a critical component. Soil structure, organic matter, everything comes into play to complete a holistic system,” he said.

Sintim’s appointment is divided into 60% research and 40% Extension. A main focus of his Extension work will be to develop educational materials on soil fertility and assist UGA Cooperative Extension county agents through demonstrations, in-service trainings and consultations.

“I’m focused on the long-term health, meaning how do we manage nutrients to sustain production?” Sintim said. “We definitely want to sustain yield but possibly push the yield margins even higher.”

He will begin field research next spring.

Sintim earned a master’s degree in agronomy from the University of Wyoming in 2014 and a doctorate in soil science from Washington State University in 2018.

UGA Extension agronomist Glen Harris will continue to specialize in environmental soils and fertilizer and applied and on-farm research and teaching.

To learn more about the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, see cropsoil.uga.edu.

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

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USDA Opens 2019 Enrollment for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs

USDA(Washington, D.C., September 3, 2019) – Agricultural producers can now enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, two popular safety net programs, for the 2019 crop year. Interested producers must sign up for either program by March 15, 2020.

The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized and made updates to these two USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs. ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guarantee level. PLC program provides income support payments on historical base acres when the price for a covered commodity falls below its effective reference price.

“The ARC and PLC programs, in combination with crop insurance, are the bedrock of the farm safety net for crop farmers and something I hear about frequently on the road,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “This exciting opportunity for enrollment in these programs marks the first time folks will have the opportunity to switch their elections since the 2014 Farm Bill was implemented. I am pleased to add that today’s announcement means our staff met yet another major Farm Bill implementation goal and they are continuing to move full speed ahead.”

Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain rice), safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.

Elections and Enrollment

Updated provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill allow producers with an interest in a farm to enroll and elect coverage in crop-by-crop ARC-County or PLC, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm, for program year 2019. The election applies to both the 2019 and 2020 crop years. If a 2019 election is not submitted by the deadline of March 15, 2020, the election defaults to the current elections of the crops on the farm established under the 2014 Farm Bill. No payments will be earned in 2019 if the election defaults.

For crop years 2021 through 2023, producers will have an opportunity to make new elections. Farm owners cannot enroll in either program unless they have a share interest in the farm.

Once the 2019 election and enrollment are completed, producers on the farm for 2020 can complete an enrollment contract for the 2020 crop year beginning Oct. 7, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020.

Although 2019 enrollment begins Sept. 3, 2019 and must occur first, a producer waiting until Oct. 7, 2019 to enroll is afforded the opportunity to enroll in either program for both 2019 and 2020 during the same office visit. During this time, farm owners have a one-time opportunity to update PLC payment yields that takes effect beginning with crop year 2020. If the owner accompanies the producer to the office, the yield update may be completed during the same office visit.

Web-Based Decision Tools

In partnership with USDA, the University of Illinois and Texas A&M University are offering web-based decision tools to assist producers in making informed, educated decisions using crop data specific to their respective farming operations. Tools include:

  • Gardner-farmdoc Payment Calculator, the University of Illinois tool that offers farmers the ability to run payment estimate modeling for their farms and counties for ARC-County and PLC.
  • ARC and PLC Decision Tool, the Texas A&M user friendly tool that allow producers to analyze payment yield updates and expected payments for 2019 and 2020. Producers who have used the tool in the past should see their user name and much of their farm data will already be available in the system.

Crop Insurance Considerations

Producers are reminded that enrolling in ARC or PLC programs can impact eligibility for some forms of crop insurance. Producers who elect and enroll in PLC also have the option of purchasing Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) through the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA). Producers of covered commodities who elect ARC are ineligible for SCO on their planted acres.

Upland cotton farmers who choose to enroll seed cotton base acres in ARC or PLC are ineligible for the stacked income protection plan (STAX) on their planted cotton acres. To be eligible for STAX coverage, producers must not enroll their seed cotton base acres into the ARC or PLC programs.

More Information

On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which provides support, certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation. FSA is committed to implementing these changes as quickly and effectively as possible, and today’s updates are part of meeting that goal.

For more information on ARC and PLC, download our program fact sheet (PDF, 880 KB) or our 2014-2018 farm bills comparison fact sheet (PDF, 1.7 MB). To sign up for the program, visit your FSA county office.

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UGA Extension precision agriculture specialist advocates use of downforce at planting

Downforce is a planter setting that helps farmers plant seeds at the appropriate soil depth.

Downforce is a planter setting that helps farmers plant seeds at the appropriate soil depth.

Georgia farmers with reduced plant stands can help alleviate those problems next season by correcting settings and using downforce on their planters, according to Wes Porter, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension irrigation specialist and precision agriculture expert.

Downforce is the pressure farmers apply to their row unit to ensure that it’s maintaining the depth at which the planter is set. Farmers typically set planter depth, but don’t always check or change the downforce of their planters, Porter said.

Producers can save time, seed and money by understanding the use of downforce when planting their crops. The downforce system on the planter can help growers avoid planting seed at the incorrect depth — either too deep or too shallow — which can leave the crop vulnerable to the environment, resulting in a lack of germination and stand establishment and subsequent yield loss.

High temperatures and lack of rainfall in May led to difficult planting conditions for farmers with dryland fields, or fields lacking adequate irrigation. In multiple fields, Porter discovered that if seeds weren’t planted deep enough, they didn’t germinate and emerge.

“If we didn’t put the seed down where it needed to be, right near the surface, soil temperatures were so hot this year we basically burned the seeds and they never germinated,” Porter said. “You can still see poor stands now in fields all around the state.”

It’s important to consider the field conditions when setting downforce. Imagine a grower who tries to plant in late spring when it’s dry and near or at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. His planter requires a lot more downforce to plant seeds at the proper depth because the soil is harder. If the grower plants in moist soil, he doesn’t need as much downforce, Porter explained.

The same is true if you compare a sandy soil with a soil that contains more clay. Sandy soil is much looser and softer, so farmers don’t need as much downforce versus planting in a clay soil. The amount of downforce is critical for seed to reach the appropriate depth.

“There are advanced control systems available, either retrofitted on the tractor or from the factory, that will help maintain downforce at a uniform setting throughout the field, aiding in maintaining the target seed depth. It’s really important, if we want to achieve that proper depth, that we set a proper downforce,” Porter said.

Porter learned from communicating with farmers that downforce is a planting factor most don’t usually consider.

“A lot of farmers don’t even really know how to properly set the downforce on their planters to match their field conditions. That’s why we started this project — to really show the importance and educate our producers on it,” he said.

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

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Georgia peanut farmers need to scout fields for explosive foliar disease

Peanut rust was discovered in Tift County in August and has UGA plant pathologists concerned heading into the final month of the growing season. Peanut rust is a dangerous disease because of how easily and rapidly it spreads from one plant to another.

Peanut rust was discovered in Tift County in August and has UGA plant pathologists concerned heading into the final month of the growing season. Peanut rust is a dangerous disease because of how easily and rapidly it spreads from one plant to another.

Georgia farmers need to be wary of peanut rust disease after it was discovered in a field in Tift County last week, according to University of Georgia plant pathologist Albert Culbreath.

He said that rust doesn’t occur in Georgia every year and information about which chemical options are best for controlling this disease is limited. Several fungicides that are already being used for leaf spot and white mold diseases, especially some of the mixtures, may treat rust effectively. However, growers may need to spray more frequently for rust than for leaf spot.

Culbreath cautioned that growers who are using the new leaf spot fungicide Miravis will need to make sure it is combined with a fungicide that has rust activity if rust is present in the field.

The presence of peanut rust is a huge concern for farmers because it can easily spread from one plant to another and the inoculum can move very quickly in rainy or windy conditions. The frequent thunderstorms that have been occurring lately in some areas can help spread inoculum and help the disease to develop rapidly.

“It pretty much shuts down the leaf in terms of photosynthesis and eventually damages it so badly that the leaf will turn black and die,” Culbreath said. “One difference between peanut rust and leaf spot is that leaf spot will cause the plant to defoliate. With rust, the leaf will die and hang on to the plant. You’ll lose the leaf either way but if that leaf is still hanging on the plant, the inoculum can still move from one plant to another more easily than if it’s just on the ground.”

Since the inoculum does not overwinter in south Georgia, Culbreath believes it may have been blown into the region by a storm in June. The disease is visible by its reddish brown pustules on the bottom side of the leaf. Its rusty color is how it got its name.

“The main thing is that growers need to be on the lookout for it,” Culbreath said. “Leaf spot is explosive, but rust is super explosive. It can increase rapidly once it gets started and it’s early in the season for us to be seeing it.”

He said that UGA Cooperative Extension agents can help growers determine which fungicides will be best for specific situations.

For more information about peanut production in Georgia, see the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences website on peanuts.

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

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Cotton/Peanut Research Field Day set for Sept. 4, 2019, in Tifton, Georgia

2017_ugacottonpnutfieldday_63s_webThe Georgia Cotton Commission, Georgia Peanut Commission and the University of Georgia Extension Cotton and Peanut Teams, will co-sponsor a joint research field day on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, in Tifton, Georgia.

The field day will start at 8:00 a.m. at the University of Georgia Lang Farm at 276 Rigdon Aultman Road in Tifton, Georgia. Field day attendees will also visit the UGA Gibbs Farm at 226 William Gibbs Road in Tifton, Georgia, before returning to the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center for lunch and a short program. The field day is a free event, but attendees are encouraged to RSVP to Jeannie Evans at jevans12@uga.edu or 229-386-3006 to provide an accurate count for lunch.

The purpose of the tour is to showcase current research, which is funded by the respective commissions, in plot-side presentations by the researchers themselves. The sponsors’ goal is to provide an educational environment for cotton and peanut farmers and give them the opportunity to pose questions directly to the researchers and to express opinions and concerns pertinent to the production of their crops.

Chairmen of the peanut and cotton commissions, Armond Morris and Bart Davis, respectively, agree this event gives farmers the distinct opportunity to interact with the leadership of each commission, other farmers and industry representatives. It is an excellent place for farmers to observe, first-hand, the research programs funded by their checkoff investments.

To view an agenda, visit www.georgiacottoncommission.org or www.gapeanuts.com.

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