Category Archives: Farm Bill

JenREES 2-21-21

On-Farm Research Updates: This week brings my favorite winter meetings, the on-farm research updates on Feb. 25 and 26! I’m passionate about on-farm research as it’s such a practical, inexpensive way to address the research questions growers have! These meetings are more meaningful to me because we get to hear from the farmers themselves who conducted the studies and have more discussion around the topics. They do look different this year with a huge number of people registered virtually vs. in-person. They’re also only a half day and we won’t cover the entire book of studies that were conducted. However, whether you participate virtually or in-person, you will hopefully hear from farmers who conducted on-farm research studies. And, this ‘in-person’ meeting does have people at most local sites also presenting in person. I realize that’s been a point of confusion/frustration as we’ve hosted many zoom meetings as ‘in-person’ watch events where no one presented live at the location. Register for virtual or in-person at: https://go.unl.edu/h83j.

I enjoy hearing from the farmers themselves regarding why they conduct on-farm research. The following YouTube video produced in 2020 highlights area farmers David and Doug Cast of Beaver Crossing and Ken Herz of Lawrence: https://youtu.be/tEy-I43CT0E.

Succession/Estate Planning opportunities are upcoming with a two-part webinar event held Feb. 25 and Mar. 4 at Noon. You can register for those at: https://farm.unl.edu/webinars . There’s also an in-person event at Central City at the Fairgrounds on March 2 at 9:30 a.m. and please RSVP to 308-946-3843 if you’d like to attend.

Tree and Houseplant Webinars: A webinar focused on trees will be Feb. 26 from 9 a.m.-Noon with registration here: Go.unl.edu/ProHort. A houseplant webinar series will occur on Feb. 27 and Mar. 6 from 10-noon with registration here: https://go.unl.edu/houseplants101.

Nitrogen Studies: With spring nitrogen applications around the corner, perhaps you are interested in testing different rates, timing, or inhibitors on your farm? On-farm research is a great option to consider! For some specific precision nitrogen studies (including inhibitors), there are stipends of $1300 available to producers interested in those studies. More info: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/precision-nitrogen-management-farm-research-project. There’s also a partnership with the Upper Big Blue NRD where those interested in conducting nutrient management or cover crop studies may receive $300 in reimbursement costs. If you’re interested in a study like this, please let me know. Next week I’ll share on nitrogen rate and timing results.

Farm Bill: Another tool that may be more visual in helping you make these decisions is the K-State tool at: https://www.agmanager.info/ag-policy/2018-farm-bill/tradeoff-between-20212022-arc-and-plc and I added it to my Farm Bill Decision Tools blog post. It shows you in one chart what happens with potential ARC-CO or PLC triggers by crop depending on what market year average price does or what county yield does. It doesn’t allow you to put in a historical irrigated percentage (HIP), so you need to consider that when selecting ‘irrigated’ or ‘nonirrigated’ in the tool. With it being in one chart, visually, perhaps that would help some of you more? It honestly doesn’t change what I’ve shared with you before, but it seems people are really struggling with this decision, so if you need another way to visualize what to do, it may help. Ultimately, no matter what tool is used, PLC is favored most often in corn, milo, and wheat. Soybeans often could go either way, and likely there may be no payment for soy or corn unless something substantial happens with MYA price or county yields. If you’re really on the fence, it may be helpful/wise to just split decisions between the two programs for different farms? For counties where there’s split irrigated/non-irrigated payments, particularly in areas that are drought-prone, look at what county average yield will trigger ARC-CO for your specific county using the tool. Crop insurance and marketing are ultimately a huge chunk of risk management too. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and no one can predict prices/yields. This information is just shared as a way to hopefully help with your decision making.

I still haven’t heard/seen that 2020 county average yields have been released for me to help anyone with looking at ARC-IC. From the past, we needed around 20% farm level yield loss compared to county average yield for ARC-IC to trigger. So, for those with significant yield loss from wind events, depending on how your farms are grouped, it still may be something to look at. Hopefully county average yields will be available soon.


Quick way to view how county average yields and MYA price can impact ARC-CO or PLC decisions. With Olympic average county corn yield of 234.24 for York County, for this irrigated farm, at the PLC reference price of $3.70 for a MYA price, it would take county average yields falling to 190 before ARC-CO could trigger. The MYA price (based at this county yield of 234.24) would need to be $3.18 before ARC-CO would trigger.
For this Seward county non-irrigated corn field example, it shows Olympic county-average yield is 175.07 bu/ac. At the $3.70 PLC reference price as the MYA price, it would take a county average yield loss of around 30 bu/ac in order for ARC-CO to trigger. It would take a MYA price of $3.18 (based on county-average yield of 175.07 bu/ac) for ARC-CO to trigger.
For this York Co. irrigated soybean example, the decision can go either way. Olympic county average yield is 72.33 bu/ac. At PLC reference price of $8.40, county average yields would have to drop to around 65 bu/ac for ARC-CO to trigger. MYA price would have to drop to $7.70 for ARC-CO to trigger. Reality is that most likely, barring no major yield or price changes, neither program may trigger for soybeans.

2021 ARC-CO Calculation

Background: Ultimately, PLC offers price protection. If your MYA price is less than the reference price ($3.70 for corn; $8.40 for soy; $3.95 for sorghum; $5.50 for wheat), a PLC payment is triggered. ARC-CO is a revenue safety net with price and yield protection, and it takes into account a 5-year Olympic average of prices and yields (for this 2021 decision it looks at 2015-2019).

We’ve had good market prices recently. However, remember ARC-CO is based on a 5-year Olympic average where the high and low are thrown out. This average is based on 2015-2019 (2020 doesn’t come into the picture until the 2022 decision. And, if it’s the high, it gets thrown out then…so it may take a couple years of high prices). And, the reality is that PLC corn price of $3.70 may also not trigger depending on the MYA price. Another consideration for the 2021 election is county yields for ARC-CO payments (looking at years 2015-2019 where the high and low are thrown out).

So as things set today, it’s possible there will be no ARC-CO nor PLC payment for corn or soybean for 2021. Corn tends to favor a PLC decision. Wheat favors PLC. Sorghum traditionally has favored PLC. Soybean could be selected either way, particularly depending on if the county has irrigated/non-irrigated split or not. What can impact this is if we see major yield or price losses from current expectations. Because different weather events hit portions of counties, and because some counties have separate payments for irrigated and non-irrigated acres, it’s important to look at your individual county data to make decisions.

Calculation: One way to look at ARC-CO vs. PLC decision for your county based on crop is to do a simple calculation. Take your 2021 County Guaranteed Revenue for a specific crop and divide that by 2021 County Benchmark Yield for that crop. I’ve provided screenshots from several counties where I’ve helped individuals with farm bill decisions in the past. If your county isn’t listed, you can find your county information here: link to download a USDA excel spreadsheet

How to Use the Calculation: Essentially, the calculation shows similar triggers for all crops. The ARC-CO trigger for corn is essentially 86% of the Reference Price (except this isn’t the case for soybean when considering individual years where MYA was higher than the Reference Price). Thus, what these numbers currently say is that prices have to drop much lower than the reference prices in order to trigger ARC-CO payments. This makes PLC elections more favorable for all the crops. What can change the ARC-CO trigger would be if there’s a change in the 2021 benchmark yield for that specific county.

CropARC-CO Trigger (prior to final yields)PLC Reference Price
Corn$3.18$3.70
Soybean$7.70$8.40
Sorghum$3.40$3.95
Wheat$4.73$5.50

For the screenshots below, I’ve added a column to the right (yellow) where I’ve done the calculation. As you will see, the ARC-CO price trigger is similar for counties for each crop. However, that assumes no fluctuation in yield from the 2021 Benchmark Yield, which should approximate a county trend yield projection. If the actual yield is higher or lower than the benchmark, then the effective trigger price goes down or up. If the trendline yield ends up changing, it will impact the ARC-CO price trigger. Thus, you can adjust by increasing and decreasing the guaranteed yield in the calculation to determine how that could impact your ARC-CO trigger.

Example that can be applied to the other County screenshots (please click on images to enlarge):

For example, York County irrigated corn (irrigated and non-irrigated are combined) shows a 2021 Guaranteed Revenue of $745.35. The 2021 Benchmark Yield (which is an Olympic average yield from 2015-2019) is 234.24. Taking 745.35/234.24=$3.18. Based on these numbers, an ARC-CO payment would not be triggered for corn in York County unless the price went down to $3.18. This is in comparison to PLC in which the trigger is $3.70 for the corn price. This helps with decision making as it leans towards enrolling in PLC for corn. (Again, no guarantee of a payment even with PLC depending on the MYA price). The Trigger will adjust depending on what the final guaranteed yields end up being. So, trying other figures (such as 240 bu or 220 bu vs. the 234.24) can show you how the ARC-CO price trigger adjusts based on final yields. You can use this same calculation for other crops and compare the prices obtained vs. the PLC reference price for that crop. In this case, even sorghum and soybeans would be favored by PLC.


Additional Resources:


JenREES 1-24-21

Farm Bill: In my desire to share what I’ve learned with you all, I realized I threw too much information into the decision tool blog post, and what I was seeking to share didn’t come across clearly. So, I revised it and you will need to refresh your web browser to view the most updated version.

Ultimately, PLC offers price protection. If your MYA price is less than the reference price ($3.70 for corn; $8.40 for soy; $3.95 for sorghum; $5.50 for wheat), a PLC payment is triggered. ARC-CO is a revenue safety net with price and yield protection, and it takes into account a 5-year Olympic average of prices and yields (for this 2021 decision it looks at 2015-2019).

So as things set today, it’s possible there won’t be either an ARC-CO nor PLC payment for corn or soybean for 2021. Corn tends to favor a PLC election. Wheat favors PLC. Sorghum traditionally has favored PLC. Soybean could be selected either way, particularly depending on if the county has irrigated/non-irrigated split or not. What can impact this is if we see major yield or price losses from current expectations.

What I don’t know yet is if ARC-IC is an option as a result of the significant windstorm in several counties. Once we get the 2020 county yields (most likely in February), I will start looking at that.

Sometimes looking at the probabilities in the decision tools can be confusing, but they can also provide direction if you’re unsure. Thus, why I provide the blog post on how to use the decision tools.

The calculation I shared with you last week may be the easiest thing you can do. So, I put that into a separate blog post and placed screen shots of county by crop in Nebraska so you can see which way things are favored by county. The best way to find all this info. is go to the “Farm Bill” category on my blog: https://jenreesources.com/category/farm-bill-2/ (but only look at the 2021 info.).

This is a slide from the 2021 CPC Farm Bill presentation (Please click to enlarge). The solid lines are the PLC Reference prices. The green triangle shows the current soybean market year average price is higher than the soybean reference price. The red square shows the 2021 wheat price is lower than the PLC reference price (solid red/brown line), which is likely to trigger a PLC payment for wheat. The gold diamond shows the current market year average price for corn is right around the PLC trigger for corn (solid gold line). Everything I’ve looked at favors a PLC election for corn in 2021. Just be aware that depending on what happens with price and yields, there may not be any payments for either a PLC nor ARC-CO election for corn and soy in 2021 in Nebraska.

Fungus Gnats: Kelly Feehan shares, “If you have small gnats flying around your home or windows, these may be fungusgnats. These nuisance pests are small fly-like insects mainly noticed around houseplants. They cause no harm to people, pets and rarely to plants. Fungus gnats develop in overwatered houseplant soil or poorly drained potting mixes. The larvae, which is a tiny maggot, lives and matures in the potting medium, mainly feeding on fungal or algal growth in overwatered soil. If the potting mix is harboring fungus gnats, cut back on watering frequency so the mix dries out briefly between watering. If needed, repot plants using a well-drained potting mix and containers with drainage holes. Pour excess water out of catch basins after watering. Reduced moisture limits fungal growth, hence fungus gnat larvae food. The upper two inches of the potting mix can also be treated with a labeled houseplant insecticide or insecticidal soap.”

York-Hamilton Cattlemen January Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at Chances ‘R’ in York. The meeting will open the doors at 6:30 p.m. with meal at 7:00 p.m. Gerald Peterson, Secretary, said this meeting is scheduled in place of the Cattlemen’s Banquet that is usually held this time of year but has been canceled for 2021 on recommendations of area health departments. Kim Siebert, Cattlemen’s President said the evening will feature a presentation from Max McLean of McLean Beef who are in the process of opening a new animal processing and retail meat business in south York. McLean Beef is a longtime cattle feeder farmer in the Benedict area of northern York County. Bill Rhea, President of the Nebraska Cattlemen has been invited to attend the meeting along with Nebraska Cattlemen staff to update the Cattlemen on bills in the Nebraska Legislature. Please RSVP to Gerald Peterson by email at gpeterson808@gmail.com or by phone at 308-991-0817 if you plan to attend.

2021 Farm Bill Decision Tools

*Thank you to Dr. Brad Lubben, Randy Pryor, and Austin Duerfeldt for their review of this information*


This blog post shares screenshots to help you work through the Kansas State, Texas A&M, and Illinois farm bill decision tools. If you’re not interested in running the decision tools, consider using this ARC-CO calculation instead. Crop insurance and marketing are ultimately a huge chunk of risk management too. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and no one can predict prices/yields. This information is just shared as a way to hopefully help with your decision making.

Background: Ultimately, PLC offers price protection. If your MYA price is less than the reference price ($3.70 for corn; $8.40 for soy; $3.95 for sorghum; $5.50 for wheat), a PLC payment is triggered. ARC-CO is a revenue safety net with price and yield protection, and it takes into account a 5-year Olympic average of prices and yields (for this 2021 decision it looks at 2015-2019).

We’ve had good market prices recently. However, remember ARC-CO is based on a 5-year Olympic average where the high and low are thrown out. This average is based on 2015-2019 (2020 doesn’t come into the picture until the 2022 decision. And, if it’s the high, it gets thrown out then…so it may take a couple years of high prices). And, the reality is that PLC corn price of $3.70 may also not trigger depending on the MYA price. Another consideration for the 2021 election is county yields for ARC-CO payments (looking at years 2015-2019 where the high and low are thrown out).

So as things set today, it’s possible there will be no ARC-CO nor PLC payment for corn or soybean for 2021. Corn tends to favor a PLC decision. Wheat favors PLC. Sorghum traditionally has favored PLC. Soybean could be selected either way, particularly depending on if the county has irrigated/non-irrigated split or not. What can impact this is if we see major yield or price losses from current expectations. Because different weather events hit portions of counties, and because some counties have separate payments for irrigated and non-irrigated acres, it’s important to look at your individual county data to make decisions.


You will need your FSA156EZ form (or your Notification of your 2020 program election, shown above) which can be obtained from your local FSA Office. It will show you farm numbers, base acres, PLC yields for each of your farms. A Historical Irrigated Percentage (HIP) is listed for counties that have split irrigated and non-irrigated yields for specific crops, if ARC-CO had been selected in a recent election. For counties that had combined irrigated and non-irrigated yields, or if PLC was elected in the recent past, there will be no HIP (as shown on this form). You will need to add a HIP for the Texas A&M Farm Bill Decision Aid. If one isn’t listed on your FSA156EZ or if your HIP has changed the past 5 years, use your best estimate.

Farm Bill Tools:

Kansas State Spreadsheet: https://www.agmanager.info/ag-policy/2018-farm-bill/tradeoff-between-20212022-arc-and-plc. This tool is one that more farmers and I appreciate using as it is very visual. It provides a quick glance at which program is favored when MYA prices change and county yields change.
Texas A&M: https://www.afpc.tamu.edu/tools/farm/farmbill/2018/
Illinois “What If” Tool: https://farmdoc.illinois.edu/policy-toolbox (I use the ‘What If’ tool in the right column of the page. I just downloaded the spreadsheet). There is another tool, on the left-hand side and also at https://fd-tools.ncsa.illinois.edu/, but be aware it shows results for the 5 year life of the farm bill (so only look at the 2021 results).

The Texas A&M tool uses a default price of $3.91 for corn and $10.40 for soybean and runs 500 possible scenarios using the data inputted. The Illinois “What If” tool uses a default price of $4.00 for corn and $11.00 for soybean and provides one potential payment based on the data inputted. Both tools provide input into the ARC-CO and PLC decision. The Illinois tool also provides input into ARC-IC if you are considering that option.


Kansas State Spreadsheet

This spreadsheet can be found at: https://www.agmanager.info/ag-policy/2018-farm-bill/tradeoff-between-20212022-arc-and-plc. I’m not going to share additional details on this one as they have done a great job of explaining this spreadsheet already at the link above. You will see a video when you go to this website that explains the tool and then a link to a spreadsheet is found below the video. Personally, I’m finding this tool to be a lot easier for growers to understand as it’s so visual. It clearly shows what has to happen with county average yields and market year average prices for ARC-CO to trigger.

Quick way to view how county average yields and MYA price can impact ARC-CO or PLC decisions. With Olympic average county corn yield of 234.24 for York County, for this irrigated farm, at the PLC reference price of $3.70 for a MYA price, it would take county average yields falling to 190 before ARC-CO could trigger. The MYA price (based at this county yield of 234.24) would need to be $3.18 before ARC-CO would trigger.
For this Seward county non-irrigated corn field example, it shows Olympic county-average yield is 175.07 bu/ac. At the $3.70 PLC reference price as the MYA price, it would take a county average yield loss of around 30 bu/ac in order for ARC-CO to trigger. It would take a MYA price of $3.18 (based on county-average yield of 175.07 bu/ac) for ARC-CO to trigger.
For this York Co. irrigated soybean example, the decision can go either way. Olympic county average yield is 72.33 bu/ac. At PLC reference price of $8.40, county average yields would have to drop to around 65 bu/ac for ARC-CO to trigger. MYA price would have to drop to $7.70 for ARC-CO to trigger. Reality is that most likely, barring no major yield or price changes, neither program may trigger for soybeans.

Texas A&M Tool

For the Texas A&M decision tool, go to: https://www.afpc.tamu.edu/tools/farm/farmbill/2018/. You will need to login using the username/password you’ve used in the past. If you’ve never used one before, you can create one on the login page. If you forgot your login info., please email info@afpc.tamu.edu or call 979-845-5913. It’s a good idea to keep your login with your farm bill paperwork. Upon logging in, I found some of my data was here from the past, so hopefully yours was saved too. If it’s not there (or if you have new farm numbers), you will need to click on “new farm”.
Upon clicking “new farm”, the above screen will appear. Enter your FSA Farm Number, State, County, and one crop for that farm number. Then click “Save”.
If you have more than one crop associated with that farm number, click on “add another crop” and repeat the steps until all crops are added for the farm number.
Once all your crops are entered for the farm number, click on “expected payments tool”.
You will then see a screen which allows you to enter the base acres, PLC yield, and HIP from your FSA156EZ form. If the form didn’t list a HIP, you need to enter your best estimation of % irrigated acres on the field. If you put a “0”, it assumes completely non-irrigated. You can then put in an expected price. To begin with, I just click the “Use These” button to get a feel where the calculations start. Then click “Calculate”. The tool will provide numbers that you can click on to obtain additional information. You can continue to recalculate playing with price if you wish. At this time, I’m not using the “Advanced Settings” option.
Explanation on payment numbers from the website, “This decision aid characterizes probabilities of different levels of expected FSA payments. These characterizations are based on 500 possible future realizations of market prices and county yields. The expected payments are an average across these many possibilities. Values displayed in the results will not match the payments you might calculate using single specific price and yield realizations. To see the likelihoods of different levels of payments, click on an individual expected payment in the results table.” So when you click on a payment number, for example PLC, each percentile shows the maximum potential payment based on the numbers inputted into the tool. In this example, there’s a 75% chance of a payment $11,200 or less and a 90% chance of a payment $21,442 or less. (NOTE: please don’t get too excited about this as they clearly state the values displayed won’t match payments calculated using single specific price and yield realizations). You can then go back to “Home” at the top of your screen and repeat by inputting the base acres, PLC yield, and HIP for other crops within the same farm number. (NOTE: always be sure to check the crop on the upper part of the screen, as for some reason, it seems to default to soybean). You can then repeat all of this for every farm number you have.
This example gives you an idea what soybean looks like using the Texas A&M tool. It’s favoring PLC for soybean as well. Again, explanation on payment numbers from the website, “This decision aid characterizes probabilities of different levels of expected FSA payments. These characterizations are based on 500 possible future realizations of market prices and county yields. The expected payments are an average across these many possibilities. Values displayed in the results will not match the payments you might calculate using single specific price and yield realizations. To see the likelihoods of different levels of payments, click on an individual expected payment in the results table.”
Upon clicking on PLC in the soybean example, you can see it’s showing a mean potential payment of $531. (NOTE: please don’t get too excited about this as they clearly state the values displayed won’t match payments calculated using single specific price and yield realizations). The reality is if the MYA price is above $8.40, no PLC payment will be triggered. It’s very possible there will be no PLC nor ARC-CO payment for soybeans in 2021.

Illinois “What If” Tool

When you go to https://farmdoc.illinois.edu/policy-toolbox, you will see two tools are available. I recommend using the option on the right called “What If” as it allows you to look at yearly elections. My computers haven’t allowed me to download the tool, but they have accepted the spreadsheet option, so I choose to download the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet was just updated this past week, so it’s up to date.
Once the excel spreadsheet is downloaded, open it up. At the top of the screen you will see a yellow bar with a button that says “Enable Macros”. Go ahead and do that. You may have to do this once more until it allows you to input numbers. You then input state, county, crop, base acres, PLC yields into the yellow boxes. The election year is 2021. The default price is $4.00 in this tool. For comparison to the Texas A&M tool in this blog, I inputted $3.91. This tool shows results based on single calculations. So, with these specific numbers, it shows no potential payment for either PLC or ARC-CO for York Co. Irrigated Corn.
It also does a really nice job of explaining the payment equations (PLC shown in this picture…although it doesn’t look like this specific explanation was updated for years). Because we’re assuming a higher MYA price than the reference price of $3.70, a PLC payment wasn’t triggered in this example.
The ARC-CO info. is often confusing, so the tool does a great job visually showing how the numbers are determined. In this case, you can see the 2015 and 2016 yields were removed as the highest and lowest with 2017-2019 used for the Benchmark Yield of 234.24. The Olympic average will differ based on county. Some counties also have separate irrigated and non-irrigated yields for various crops, which can provide separate triggers.
The tool does the same in showing the calculation for ARC-CO Benchmark Prices. It uses the higher of the MYA price or Effective Reference price. With lower corn prices for several years, the Effective Reference Price has been higher and that’s what is used to calculate revenues.
This is an example looking at soybeans using the Illinois tool. I used the same yield and price as Texas A&M tool for comparison. Notice with these prices and yields, it shows no PLC nor ARC-CO payment for York County soybeans. For counties like York that have combined irrigated and non-irrigated yields, you will need to default to ‘irrigated’ for your PLC yield that is inputted.

Additional Resources:


JenREES 1/17/20

Winter in-person meetings are ‘a go’ for this week for this part of the State. Also, the online pesticide training is available for those who would rather not attend in person. It’s found at: https://web.cvent.com/event/4efa4d41-c770-4a78-99d7-4c4ea75d45ae/summary

Dicamba Training will be conducted by the companies, not UNL. Most have an online training option. Some also have live webinars and in-person meetings. Please see each company’s info:

Bayer (Xtendimax): https://www.cvent.com/c/calendar/7829eb5d-ddef-4c2f-ac2c-a67626018ece
BASF (Engenia): https://www.engeniaherbicide.com/training.html
Syngenta (Tavium): https://www.syngenta-us.com/herbicides/tavium-application-stewardship

Farm Bill: Because the tools are the same as in the past, I’ve updated a blog post (go to the “Farm Bill” category) at jenreesources.com. It shows step by step instructions on how to enter data into the Texas A&M and Illinois decision making tools. Your election this year is for one year only (2021). Some of my data was saved in the Texas A&M tool, so hopefully that’s the case for you individually as well.

After looking at data, here’s some things that may be helpful for consideration. Yes, we’ve had good market prices recently. However, remember ARC-CO is based on a 5-year Olympic average where the high and low are thrown out. This average is based on 2015-2019 (2020 doesn’t come into the picture until the 2022 decision. And, if it’s the high, it gets thrown out then…so it may take a couple years of high prices). And, the reality is that PLC corn price of $3.70 may also not trigger depending on the MYA price.

Another consideration for the 2021 election is county yields for ARC-CO payments (looking at years 2015-2019 where the high and low are thrown out). Because different weather events hit portions of counties, and because some counties have separate payments for irrigated and non-irrigated acres, it’s important to look at your individual county data to make decisions.

If you don’t want to use the decision tools from Texas A&M and Illinois, another option is a simple calculation. On my blog, you can click on a link to download a USDA excel spreadsheet which shows data for figuring ARC-CO triggers and payments. I’ve hidden the cells for the rest of the U.S. and only have Nebraska shown; once downloaded, you can unhide cells if you want to look at other states. For the calculation: 

Take your 2021 County Guaranteed Revenue for a specific crop and divide that by 2021 County Benchmark Yield for that crop. For example, York County irrigated corn (irrigated and non-irrigated are combined) shows a 2021 Guaranteed Revenue of $745.35. The 2021 Benchmark Yield (which is an Olympic average yield from 2015-2019) is 234.24. Taking 745.35/234.24=$3.18. Based on these numbers, an ARC-CO payment would not be triggered for corn in York County unless the price went down to $3.18. This is in comparison to PLC in which the trigger is $3.70 for the corn price. This helps with decision making as it leans towards enrolling in PLC for corn. (Again, no guarantee of a payment even with PLC depending on the MYA price). You can also try other figures (ex. trying 240 and 220 bu/ac) if you think the trendline yields may be higher or lower than the current estimate to see other potential ARC Co price triggers. You can use this same calculation for other crops such as soybean, wheat, sorghum, etc. and compare the prices obtained vs. the PLC price for that crop.

The windstorm, fairly widespread in this part of the state, impacted many individual corn yields. I don’t know how that compares to average county yields for 2020. In the past, we had those at some point in February, so it will be interesting to look at this later.

JenREES 12-20-20

Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas!!!

Farm Bill Webinar Link: Received some questions this month regarding decisions for 2021 ARC/PLC election sign-up but haven’t looked at or worked with decision tools yet. Last week there was a webinar on program elections and the recorded link can be found at: https://go.unl.edu/yg90. For those of you who elected ARC-IC for 2019-2020 due to prevent plant or significant yield loss in 2019, it will be important to reconsider your options. This webinar does a great job of explaining and going through them. While our last election we could look back to get an idea, we don’t have that opportunity going forward. It’s nice that it’s a one year election so it can be changed as prices/yields fluctuate. Hope to share more information in January after working with real data to get a feel for things. Curious how the significant windstorm and drought in areas may impact decisions for specific counties going forward. For now, you can find more information, including the decision tools, at: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/arcplc_program/index. If you’ve used the decision tools in the past, you will use the same login info. you created in the past.

Ag Land Leasing and Budgeting Webinar was also held last week. If you missed it or were interested in watching the recording, you can do so at the following YouTube link for 30 days: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH-RVIhnIG8&t=166s.

Ag Budgeting Workshop: calculating the cost of production per crop enterprise was a webinar held after the ag leasing webinar. You can also view this recording via YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIgbkp0QNH0.

Live Christmas Trees: Just a reminder to daily check live Christmas trees for their watering needs to avoid a fire hazard. Kelly Feehan, Extension horticulture educator shares, “The rule-of-thumb is a tree will use one quart of water per day for every inch of trunk diameter near the base. If you have a tree with a 3-inch base, it can use 3 quarts of water per day. The trunk should have been freshly cut at a slant just prior to putting it in the stand. If the stand is empty for more than six to eight hours, the tree’s pores plug up again. Water uptake is much reduced and the tree dries out sooner. If a tree stand dries out for half a day or more, the only thing that can be done is to remove the tree from the stand and recut the base; which is not a fun task with the lights and ornaments. When watering, nothing needs to be added to water in the tree stand to promote freshness.”

Christmas Cactus: Kelly also shares the following, “to keep Christmas cactus blooming as long as possible, place it in bright but indirect light. Too much sun can cause leaves to turn yellow. Keep soil or potting mix constantly moist but not waterlogged. Even though they are cactus, they are jungle natives and prefer just moist conditions with indirect light. Avoid fertilizing Christmas cactus during the winter; but do fertilize every other week from spring through fall. Plants seem to flower best if they are a little pot bound; but if roots become over-crowded in the container, blooming will decrease. If you haven’t repotted in several years, or you notice a decrease in flowering from the previous year, repot the plant into a slightly larger pot, but wait until spring. If possible, move the plants outside for summer. Keep in a shady area as Christmas cactus will not tolerate full sun.”


Merry Christmas! So grateful for Jesus humbling Himself to be born as a baby-to die, rise again, and ascend into Heaven-that we may have hope and eternal life by placing our faith and repentance in Christ alone!
And, I can appreciate it may be a difficult and different Christmas for some for a variety of reasons. It’s ok to acknowledge the difficulty and pain. Wanted to share this powerful and encouraging song. It reminds us in the midst of everything, to Behold Him, the One who came to seek and save us! He holds you in the midst of your pain! Christ is our living Hope!

ARC-IC and Illinois Tool

I hadn’t been considering ARC-IC for many situations as it seemed like one had to have 100% prevent plant in 2019 in order for it to trigger. However, I received enough calls from those with hail damage in 2019 to take another look at this.

Purdue University put together a great video that explains ARC-IC and situations where ARC-IC may trigger (two examples listed below). Check it out here: https://youtu.be/AwCMySwjWT4.

If you had the following two situations, it may be beneficial to check out ARC-IC.

  1. 100% prevent plant for 2019
  2. Planted entire farm but 2019 yields were below average (20% or more production loss)

NOTE: You will need to have worked through your 2013-2017 yields and also 2019 yields in order to look at ARC-IC. Yields for each crop need to be combined for irrigated and non-irrigated (blended yield) by year. If you have several tracts within a farm number, all the yields for same crop regardless of irrigation practice need to be combined by year. Doing this also allows you to look at any potential to update PLC yields.

The Texas A&M tool doesn’t allow one to look at ARC-IC. I realize I haven’t recommend the Illinois tool. However, they created a second tool (2018 Farm Bill What if Tool) and I apologize as I hadn’t been back to their site since December to see this. The first tool looks at the life of the farm bill and I felt it wasn’t as accurate because this is a 2 year decision instead of 5 year. However, the second tool looks at 2019-2020 and it also is very helpful when considering ARC-IC for single or multiple farms. This blog post will hopefully help you work through the Illinois “What If” tool for considering ARC-IC found at https://farmdoc.illinois.edu/2018-farm-bill.

Illinois tool.PNG

I recommend using the ‘2018 Farm Bill What if Tool’. Download the tool and it will appear as an excel spreadsheet. Enable editing.

arc ic single.PNG

At the bottom of the spreadsheet, you will see multiple tabs. Click on “arc-ic” if you’re interested in looking at only 1 farm number. The yellow boxes within the sheet contain either dropdown menus or can have data entered into them. Use the dropdown menus to select State, County, Number of crops, Crop (be patient and wait as it will think before changing the cell). Select “yes or no” from dropdown regarding which years the crop was planted and enter in the yield for that year for that crop. Remember the yield is the blended yield of irrigated/non-irrigated and for every tract within a farm number. Do this for each crop. *Note, in this example, the 2013 hail storm in this same area of the State also impacted yields.

calculation corn crop.PNG

This shows the calculations. When the crop wasn’t planted, the county yield is used. When the yearly yield is less than the County Yield, 80% of the T-Yield is automatically used. The yields are then multiplied by the higher of the market year average price or effective reference price to determine benchmark revenues. An Olympic Average (throw out high and low then average the other three revenues) is then determined for each individual crop.

arc ic single payment.PNG

For ARC-IC, the total base acres get combined together. So if there were 92.8 total base acres for the farm, and the other crop wasn’t planted, I put the total base acres into the crop that was planted. If both crops were planted, I split the base acres and entered the 2019 yields for each crop. If the farm was 100% prevent plant or had some portion of farm in prevent plant, make sure to designate those acres as such. I have been seeing this trigger for hail or other impacts to yield for 2019 if the loss was at least 20% of the 2013-2017 yields. In this case, the grower could receive a pretty substantial payment of around $47/base acre for 2019. Even if there’s no payment for 2020, this type of payment for 2019 far exceeds what is expected for potential payments from either ARC-CO or PLC at this time.

So what if you had more than one farm in a significant hail damaged area? You can also use this tool to look at multiple farms. 

arc ic multi

In the spreadsheet tab select “arc-ic-multi”. Select your state from drop-down menu. Then select how many farms you’re interested in looking at arc-ic and the crops. Be patient as it takes time for the tool to change cells. Then enter in your data for each farm. You will need to enter the total number of FSA base acres for that farm number (it’s not split by crop).

comparing arc ic multi

Once all the farm yields are entered, you can look at potential payments for individual farms by simply selecting “yes or no” in the expected payments portion at the end of the spreadsheet. You can also see what happens to potential payments when you select “yes” on multiple farms. Note:  for all farms enrolled in ARC-IC, all the base acres will be combined regardless of crop and regardless of farm number to determine payment per base acre and payment will be applied to 65% of total base acres.

This is very farm and situation dependent. If several farms are within one farm number and one farm had significant loss but the other(s) didn’t, it may not trigger ARC-IC. Same thing for prevent plant acres (if a portion of farm is planted and part is prevent plant, the yield of planted acres may result in too much revenue to trigger ARC-IC).

Situations where ARC-IC tends to trigger best are:

  1. When there’s one farm within one farm number and that farm either went 100% prevent plant or had a yield loss of 20% or greater for 2019.
  2. When there’s several farms within one farm number but all had 100% prevent plant and/or significant yield losses in 2019.

Hopefully this is helpful if you’re considering ARC-IC!

Additional Farm Bill Info: 

Farm Bill Decision Information

Farm Bill Decision Information
Jenny Rees, Extension Educator York & Seward Counties

*Caveat: This information is shared with the intent to better help growers make farm bill decisions with the best information we have available at this time. There is no guarantee of program payments or how the information below impacts individual farms. Ultimately, the decision is that of the person enrolling and making the program elections for the Farm Bill.

Deadline: Growers should make appointments now at your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to complete ARC/PLC election and enrollment forms. The deadline to enroll is Monday, March 16 for the 2019 crop year. You can change your elections up to March 16, 2020. Growers who don’t get enrolled by then will be ineligible to receive ARC or PLC payments for the 2019 crop year.

ARC-CO vs. PLC: This decision is different than the 2014 Farm Bill. We’re in a different price situation (lower prices) and the decision right now for 2018 Farm Bill is a 2-year decision (2019-2020), not the life of the farm bill. Please don’t assume that you should stay enrolled in what you were before.

Working through farm situations from different counties, for corn, PLC tends to be favored more than ARC-CO regardless if the farm had more irrigated or non-irrigated acres. However, soybean tends to favor PLC for a higher irrigated percentage and ARC-CO for farms with little to no irrigation. This does vary by county, so soybean can go either way. The reality is there may not be a soybean payment for either election. Wheat and sorghum tend to favor PLC. You’re only making this decision for two years. You can change your decision for 2021.

ARC-CO Calculation: To understand what potential price it may take for ARC-CO to trigger for any crop in your county, there’s a simple calculation you can do. Ask your local FSA Office for their 2019 Guaranteed Revenues and 2019 Benchmark Yields for each crop (updated February 2020).

Take your county guaranteed revenue for a specific crop and divide that by the county benchmark yield for that crop. For example, for irrigated corn in York County, the 2019 Guaranteed Revenue was $731.07. The 2019 Benchmark Yield (which is an Olympic average yield from 2013-2017) for irrigated corn in York County was 229.75 bu/ac. Taking $731.07/229.75 = $3.18. Based on these numbers a payment would not be triggered for irrigated corn in York County until a price of $3.18 is achieved. This is in comparison to PLC in which the trigger is $3.70 for the corn price (and we’re a lot closer to $3.70 than $3.18). Many of the counties for this area of the State were coming in at $3.18 corn price (irrigated and non-irrigated) in order for ARC-CO to trigger. This helps with decision making as it leans towards enrolling in PLC for corn. You can use this same calculation for other crops such as soybean, wheat, sorghum, etc. and compare the prices obtained vs. the PLC price for that crop.

PLC Yield Update: Your local FSA office can provide a sheet showing what yield is necessary to update your PLC yield for each crop. This can also be determined by taking your current PLC Yield and divide by 0.81. For example, a PLC corn yield of 190/0.81=234.57 bu/ac. Crop Insurance forms are necessary to determine if you can update yields. You will need the yields from 2013-2017. Use the Actual yields (designated with an ‘A’, not APH yields). Take the irrigated and non-irrigated yields for each farm number and divide by total acres to determine the blended yield for each farm number. If the yield is equal to or greater than the yield you need to prove for any of your crops on each farm number, your PLC yield can be updated for that crop. Landlords need to sign the form for updating PLC yields. They do not need to sign the form for election of ARC-CO or PLC if the ground is in cash rent.

Seed Corn Yields: To determine seed corn yields, if no commercial corn is grown in rotation on the farm, use the Plant Base Yield (PBY) not to exceed 120% of the county irrigated corn yield. For example, in 2013, York County Irrigated Corn Yield was 235.92 bu/ac. Multiply this by 120% = 283. 10 bu/ac. Compare this to the PBY for the same year and use the lower of the two numbers. If the farm has commercial corn in addition to seed corn in the rotation, the grower has the choice of applying the commercial corn yield or the equivalent seed corn yield as explained previously.

Decision Support Tools: If you use a decision support tool, I’m not recommending to use the Illinois tool. The Texas A&M tool considers your two-year decision. This blog post (https://go.unl.edu/texasam) has step-by-step screen shots to help if you wish to use the tool.

Historical Irrigated Percentage (HIP) is taken into account for the ARC-CO payments. For those using the Texas A&M decision tool, you will see a box to input HIP. There is an area for HIP on the 156EZ form. Counties that had to split out irrigated vs. non-irrigated acres for certain crops in the 2014 Farm Bill will have a HIP listed. Counties that didn’t have to do this will not have one listed. For those with the HIP listed, it may or may not be accurate depending on if you incorporated/lost irrigated ground in the past 5 years. For purposes of the Texas A&M tool, you can use your best estimate of irrigated vs. non-irrigated percentage. You can also adjust that estimate to see how it impacts potential payments.

 

JenREES 2-2-20

Been getting questions on the farm bill. It’s really important that growers make appointments now at your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to complete your ARC/PLC election and enrollment forms. Deadline to enroll is Monday, March 16 for the 2019 crop year. The election can be changed up to March 16. Growers who don’t get enrolled by then will be ineligible to receive ARC or PLC payments for the 2019 crop year.

If you use a decision support tool, I’m not recommending to use the Illinois tool as it takes into consideration the life of the farm bill. This is a two-year decision, thus, the potential payment numbers tend to be skewed and makes ARC-CO look more favorable than what it most likely will be. The Texas A&M tool considers a two-year decision and that’s the tool Randy Pryor and I recommend. On my blog, there’s step-by-step screen shots to help if you wish to use the tool. You can find it and previous blog posts at jenreesources.com. In the right-hand column under “categories” select “farm bill”.

Using the tool to work through farm situations from different counties, PLC keeps beating ARC-Co for corn. There’s a separation between the price it could take to trigger ARC-Co (previously around $3.18 for many counties) vs. PLC ($3.70) for corn. I’ve also played with the historical irrigation percentage (HIP). Everytime I’ve changed the HIP % for corn (0, 25, 50, 75, 100), it doesn’t switch the potential payment decision from PLC to ARC-Co. However, when I look at soybean, it’s tended to favor PLC for a higher irrigated percentage and ARC-Co for farms with little to no irrigation. This does vary by county, so soybean can go either way. If you’re really undecided, check this for yourself. You’re only making this decision for 2 years and there may not be a soybean payment for either election. Ultimately elections are your decision and the tools and info hopefully help as we can’t predict what prices will do.

Pesticide, Dicamba, Chemigation Trainings: I’ve also received questions regarding pesticide, dicamba, and chemigation trainings. If you haven’t received a postcard from NDA to pay the $25 bill within 14-17 days after training, please call the Extension Office in the county where you took the training; they can follow-up with NDA. The postcard will have a link to pay the $25 fee online. For those who don’t like paying online, you can also send a $25 check to NDA and include the postcard. For those who attended my training when I ran out of materials, I now have more so you are welcome to stop at the York Co. Extension Office and get the study guide and weed guide.

If you attend a face-to-face dicamba training through Extension or Ag Industry, please bring your pesticide applicator card as a pesticide applicator number is needed for registration. If you are a new applicator this year, you will write “pending” on the registration form. There is no charge for dicamba training, and the same training can be completed online at: https://pested.unl.edu/dicamba. Watching it at home as a group doesn’t work well because only one applicator number is entered to watch the training; there’s no way to add additional ones. Each person would have to be on his/her own device watching the training. Allow one week for your name to be added to NDA’s dicamba certified applicators on their site at: https://nda.nebraska.gov/pesticide/dicamba.html. Download the excel spreadsheet under ‘dicamba applicator training’ and make sure your name is listed. Then print the spreadsheet and keep it for your records.

For those recertifying for chemigation, you are allowed to watch the modules and take the test at home this year at: https://water.unl.edu/article/agricultural-irrigation/chemigation. This is only for recertifications. Initial certifications can watch the modules from home but still need to take the test at an Extension office. Anyone seeking initial or recertification is also welcome to attend face to face training.

JenREES 12-22-19

Thanks to Randy Pryor, Extension Educator Emeritus, for reviewing this article. Also, appreciate the growers who shared data and Farm Service Agency (FSA) personnel from several counties who answered my questions. Here’s more farm bill information.

PLC Yield: A few weeks ago, I mentioned you can obtain a sheet from your local FSA Office which shows PLC yields and necessary yield in order to increase PLC yield. If you don’t have that sheet, you can use your 156EZ form. Take your PLC yield and divide by 0.81 to get the yield necessary to increase your PLC yield. For example, a PLC corn yield of 190/0.81= 234.57 bu/ac. Your 2013-2017 RMA actual yields would need to show you’ve achieved at least 234.57 bu/ac in order to increase your PLC yield.

Seed Corn Yields: For seed corn yields, if the farm has commercial corn in addition to seed corn in rotation, the commercial corn yield will be applied to the seed corn. If no commercial corn is grown in rotation on the farm, use the Plant Base Yield (PBY) not to exceed 120% of the county irrigated corn yield. For example, in 2013, York County Irrigated Corn Yield was 235.92 bu/ac. Multiply this by 120% = 283.10 bu/ac. Compare this to the PBY for the same year and use the lower of the two numbers.

Historical Irrigated Percentage (HIP) is taken into account for ARC-CO payments. For those of you who are using the Texas A&M decision tool, you will see a box to input HIP. As you look at your 156EZ form, you will see an area for HIP. Counties that had to split out irrigated vs. non-irrigated acres for certain crops in the 2014 Farm Bill will have a HIP listed. Counties that didn’t have to do this will not have one listed. For those with HIP listed, it may or may not be accurate depending on if you incorporated/lost irrigated ground in the past 5 years. For purposes of the Texas A&M tool, you can use your best estimate of irrigated vs. non-irrigated percentage.

ARC-CO Calculation: Regardless if you’d like to try the Texas A&M tool or not, you can also get an idea of the price in which ARC-CO would trigger a 2019 payment by doing a simple calculation. Take your county guaranteed revenue and divide that by the county benchmark yield. For example, for irrigated corn in York County, the 2019 Guaranteed Revenue is $731.07. The 2019 Benchmark Yield (which is an Olympic average yield from 2013-2017) for irrigated corn in York County is 229.75 bu/ac. Taking $731.07/229.75= $3.18. What this means is that based on these numbers, if the York County RMA Yield comes in at 229.75 bu/ac, which is a trend adjusted yield, a payment would not be triggered for ARC-CO for irrigated corn in York County until a $3.18 corn price is achieved. This is in comparison to PLC in which the trigger is $3.70 for the corn price. Many of the counties in which I’ve done this calculation for irrigated corn have around a $3.18 trigger price for ARC-CO currently. That alone tells you a lot regarding decision making. If the trendline yield remains close to current one, it leans towards enrolling in PLC for irrigated corn, but it is a two year decision. You can also try other figures (ex. trying 235 and 220 bu/ac) if you think the trendline yields may be higher or lower than the current estimate to see other potential ARC Co price triggers.

Randy Pryor shared a spreadsheet with me from USDA that had all the yearly yields, trend yields, and revenue guarantees for each county and each crop in Nebraska to date. I’ve placed tables with these numbers on my blog at jenreesources.com for the counties in which I helped growers for the 2014 Farm Bill. You can also ask your FSA Office if they can provide this information for you.

FSA Meetings: If you missed the Farm Bill meetings and would like to better understand the differences between the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills, please contact your local FSA Office. Many of them are having small meetings certain days of the week but can’t share which way you should enroll.

Texas A&M Decision Aid: Randy Pryor and I are recommending that if you use a decision aid, that you use the Texas A&M one. For those of you I worked with during the 2014 farm bill, I have your username and password if you no longer do. You can also reset it by calling their help line. I’ve assembled screen shots at https://go.unl.edu/texasam that walk you step by step through inputting data into the tool. If you have questions, please let me know. Hoping this is helpful!

*End News Column. County tables below.


York Co.Seward Co.Adams Co.Butler Co.Clay Co.Custer Co.Dawson Co.Fillmore Co.Franklin Co.Hamilton Co.Harlan Co.Kearney Co.Nuckolls Co.Pierce Co.Polk Co.Thayer Co.Wayne CoWebster Co.

Additional Farm Bill Info: 

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