ARLINGTON, VA -- The various March 31st deadlines for Farm Bill decisions may not be extended again according to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, but that may leave some growers out in the cold.
"About 90 percent of crop farmers and landowners have now made decisions about reassigning their base acreage and updating their yields," Vilsack said last week.
He added that the pace of farmers making choices between the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs has picked up, and that while he would continue to monitor the pace of signups, he would not make any decision about an extension beyond March 31 at this time.
But how do things look in rice country?
"With one week to go Arkansas was around 85 percent complete on base acre reallocation, and 75 percent on ARC/PLC decision," said USA Rice Federation Chairman and Arkansas rice farmer Dow Brantley. "It's going to be a busy week to say the least."
Brantley completed his paperwork last month, and hopes his fellow growers will get in under the deadline.
According to Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices in Louisiana, growers there are neck and neck with their neighbors to the north. Base acre reallocation is close to 85 and ARC/PLC is 90.
"USDA has already given one extension on these deadlines, it would be foolhardy to assume we'll get another one -- even if it is completely necessary," said Ben Mosely, USA Rice's vice president of government affairs. "This is not something farmers should play chicken with. Go into your FSA office, get on their list, and make your elections."
Contact: Michael Klein (703) 236-1458