Ag News

FSA, UGA detail farm bill, trade and disaster assistance

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service held a series of meetings this week detailing key federal programs for agricultural producers, walking through farm bill crop insurance options, trade assistance and disaster assistance programs during a series of meetings this week.

Georgia FSA Farm Programs Chief Brett Martin reviewed the Price Loss Coverage (PLC), Agricultural Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO) and Agricultural Risk Coverage-Individual (ARC-IC) under the 2018 farm bill.

The ARC programs provide payments when actual crop revenue drops below specified guarantee levels for 22 covered commodities. PLC covers losses when prices for covered commodities fall below established reference prices.  

The covered commodities are wheat, oats, barley, corn, grain sorghum, long grain rice, medium/short grain rice, temperate japonica rice, seed cotton, dry peas, lentils, large and small chickpeas, soybeans, peanuts, sunflower seed, canola, flaxseed, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower, crambe and sesame see.

Martin discussed eligibility, enrollment dates, payment limitations and payment dates of each program. Perhaps the most significant change for Georgia farmers was the addition of seed cotton as a covered commodity.

Enrollment for contract year 2019 is underway and continues through March 15, 2020. Enrollment for contract year 2020 is also underway and continues through June 30, 2020.

Visit for the FSA fact sheet on the ARC and PLC programs.

UGA Extension Economist Adam Rabinowitz provided analysis of the programs, cautioning producers that making a blanket selection on program enrollment might not be in their best interest.

“This is going to be very much a crop-by-crop decision and very much a farm-by-farm decision,” Rabinowitz said, noting he expects more Georgia farmers to enroll in PLC under the 2018 farm bill than they did under the 2014 farm bill.

Rabinowitz directed producers to the Texas A&M Agricultural and Food Policy Center Decision Tool for help in determining the program in which they will enroll. The online decision tool is located at To use it, producers will need to establish a login, and the tool requests the farm location (by county and state), crop, number of base acres, 2014 PLC payment yield, historical irrigated percentage and historical planted or prevented planting acres and yields from 2013-2017 for both irrigated and non-irrigated lands.

Martin reviewed trade assistance payments provided under the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), the federal government’s relief option for farmers affected by ongoing trade conflict, particularly with China.

Rabinowitz estimated that Georgia’s share of the $3 billion MFP package would be around $341 million.

“We didn’t expect the trade dispute to last this long with respect to China and we really don’t see an end in sight,” Rabinowitz said, noting that moving forward, the market dynamics have changed and global competition is likely to continue increasing even after the dispute between the U.S. and China is settled.

Signup for MFP is underway and continues until Dec. 6. Visit for details. The UGA Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development has published two policy briefs on the Georgia impact of trade disputes. The briefs may be accessed online at