Comparing ARC-CO and PLC payments from 2014 to 2016

Here are county level comparisons for the ARC-CO and PLC program payments for 2016 for corn and wheat over the first three years of the current Farm Bill, 2014 to 2016, for corn, soybeans, and wheat.

This article compares average annual payments per base acre that have been triggered by the ARC-CO and PLC programs since 2014 differs across corn, soybeans, and wheat. For all three crops, prices have been below 86% of the ARC-CO benchmark price in all three years, but yields have been sufficiently high in some counties to reduce, partially or fully, the size of ARC-CO payment levels. Corn and wheat prices have been low enough in 2015 and 2016 to trigger payments on base acreage enrolled in the PLC program, but soybean prices have remained above the PLC reference price in all three years.

In general, the majority of corn base acres enrolled in the ARC-CO program would have received a greater level of support from that program when compared to the average payment, which would have been received through the PLC program. Exceptions exist in areas where actual county yields have been sufficiently above benchmark yields.

Because soybean prices have remained above the PLC reference price, the ARC-CO program has provided larger average payments in all areas. There are, however, some counties where average soybean yields have high enough to result in no ARC-CO payments over the 2014 to 2016 years.

For wheat, the majority of farms with wheat base enrolled in the PLC program have received greater support since 2014 compared to what would have been received from the ARC-CO program. Wheat prices have been low enough to trigger payments from both programs in most areas, with less than 3% of counties having high enough yields in all three years to result in zero ARC-CO program payments. However, yields have been high enough in the majority of counties to result in smaller ARC-CO payments, on average, than what would have been triggered by the PLC program on those acres. This is true despite wheat prices being low enough to trigger PLC payments in just two out of the past three years.

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