Farmers Hear About Changes in New Farm Bill

By Bruce Schultz, LSU AgCenter

CROWLEY — The LSU AgCenter hosted the last of seven of meetings across the state to explain details of the 2018 farm bill on Oct. 31. One of the biggest changes in the new farm bill is the flexibility it gives farmers to choose between price protection plans, said AgCenter economist Mike Deliberto. Previously, producers were locked into a decision for five years, but under the new farm bill, they can change after two years. 

“It’s going to let them tailor their decisions for the market at that time,” he said. 

Farmers can use an LSU AgCenter decision support tool to find the differences between the Price Loss Coverage and the Agricultural Risk Coverage and see which would pay more over a range of yields and prices. Parish agents have a copy of the program, Deliberto said. And growers can also contact him directly at mdeliberto@agcenter.lsu.edu

Producers have until March before they decide between the two programs, Deliberto said. 

Most rice farmers have chosen the PLC option, but ARC might be the better choice for soybean farmers in southwest Louisiana, he said. 

The programs make up the safety net to protect farmers from market swings and weather extremes. 

Representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency also were on hand. 

James Jordan from the Evangeline Parish FSA office said farmers will have to prove they are actively engaged on a farm to be eligible for payments. 

FSA personnel are available to help farmers get the maximum amounts under the farm bill. “We know farming is a struggle,” Jordan said.