OFU hosting farm bill forum

Farmers around Ohio will soon be faced with several choices concerning the national safety net for agriculture.

To help farmers get fully informed about coming ag commodity program changes due to the 2014 Farm Bill, the Ohio Farmers Union along with POET Biorefining, Superior Energy Solutions and First Federal Bank will hold a Farm Bill Implementation Forum later this month at Bowling Green State University.

“Because this new law brings change — and a new set of issues for farmers to consider — the Ohio Farmers Union is bringing together some of the nation’s foremost experts on ag commodity programs to explain the new law,” said Joe Logan, Ohio Farmers union president.

Under the new law, farmers will take one of two paths regarding the ag safety net. One option is Price Loss Coverage, or PLC, a price-based assistance program. The other is Agricultural Risk Coverage, or ARC, a farm revenue-based program. The choice farmers make around the country will stick with them for the next five years.

In this Farm Bill, direct payments are being replaced by ARC and PLC. Under these paths, farmers will also choose whether to keep their current Farm Service Administration base acres or payment yields or make adjustments under the new law.

Logan said there is a level complexity in the decision-making process for farmers this year due to the changes in the programs and the fact that decisions made in 2014 will last for five years.

As an example of the complexity, farmers may elect to take on a new form of crop insurance — the Supplemental Coverage Option — but only those farmers who have elected the PLC program for their acres. FSA has not announced when the new programs will actually be available for signup, so farmers do still have time to learn more about the new programs and begin considering their choices.

“There is going to be a lot for local FSA offices to explain to producers in a relatively short period of time,” Logan said regarding the eventual rollout of the new farm programs. “Our goal for the forum is to bring together a group of experts who can speak to the changes in farm policy and place the new programs and their implications in the context of the family farm.”

The forum will be held July 25, 1 p.m. at BGSU, Bowen-Thompson Student Union in the Grand Ball Room. Moderated by Logan, there will be a panel presentation and time for questions and answers from those attending.

Panelists include:

  • Joe Shultz, Chief Economist, U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
  • Jonathan McCracken, Legislative Agriculture Assistant, Office of Sen. Sherrod Brown
  • Carl Zulauf, Professor, OSU Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics
  • Terry Cosby, State Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Tony Logan, State Director, USDA Rural Development
  • Steve Maurer, State Executive Director, USDA Farm Service Agency

For directions and a map of the event location on the BGSU campus, please see the Ohio Farmers Union blog at http://ohfarmersunion.org/blog. You may also perform a search on the OFU homepage at ohfarmersunion.org for “2014 Farm Bill.”

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