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Two SD counties selected for ARC pilot program

Hand and Hyde countries in South Dakota have been selected to participate in a new Agricultural Risk Coverage-County pilot program.

The program will issue payments to eligible producers in Hand and Hyde counties who suffered losses of certain commodities. Producers don't need to enroll in the program.

Paul Shubeck, South Dakota state executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency, announced the two countries' selection on Jan. 16.

The Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs are the two cornerstone safety nets created by the 2014 Farm Bill. To complicate matters, ARC comes in two versions: the county level (ARC-County) and the individual producer/farm level (ARC-Individual or ARC-IC).

But critics have questioned the accuracy and fairness of some ARC payments. In response, Congress authorized $5 million for the FSA to implement a pilot program to reduce disparities between "similar adjacent counties."

Inclusion in the pilot program was determined by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and state FSA offices.

Counties selected for payment through the new pilot program have "significant 2016 yield differences compared to similar neighboring countries," according to FSA.

More information on ARC: