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Hoeven to fix ARC in ‘16, beyond; corn growers urge look-back to ‘14

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., included a $5 million fix for the Agriculture Risk Coverage county-level farm program, effective with 2016 crop.

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Reuters file photo.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., included a $5 million fix for the Agriculture Risk Coverage county-level farm program, effective with 2016 crop.

The program is part of the Fiscal Year 2017 agricultural appropriations bill, for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency, Hoeven announced late on May 19.  He is proposing to pay for it with a $5 million reduction in the Agriculture Buildings and Facilities account.

"For purposes of determining ARC county payments, USDA has used National Agricultural Statistics Service county data to determine yields," Hoeven said. "The problem is that in some cases there isn't enough NASS data for a particular county to get an accurate assessment of yield and the USDA has substituted other yield data that in certain cases doesn't match actual yields."

The pilot program is a "backup" to the NASS yields. Under the program, if a state FSA office finds a disparity between yield calculations in comparable counties, the office will have an opportunity to fix it using an alternative calculation method.

Specifically:

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* If there is insufficient NASS data for a particular county or if the NASS data produces a "substantially disparate" result, the FSA could use data from a "comparable neighboring county" in its place.

* If there is insufficient data from a comparable county, the FSA could use "other sources such as Risk Management Administration data or NASS district data.

Carson Klosterman, president of the North Dakota Corn Growers, which has lobbied to find a solution to the disparities, called the amendment an "important step forward" to make sure farmers don't face the same disparities in 2016. He said the amendment "sends USDA a strong message that it needs to find a solution for the 2014 and 2015 crop years."

Fargo-based Progressive Ag Law and colleague law firms in Texas have been working pro-bono to document disparities North Dakota and elsewhere in 2014. The ARC-CO disparities were especially apparent in Logan and LaMoure counties were too few NASS surveys were returned to generate a yield for the county through the methods required in the program. Some farmers lost tens of thousands of dollars each. A spokesman for Progressive Ag tells Agweek that the company's efforts will continue, regardless of Hoeven's amendment.

 

 

 

Related Topics: CORNPOLICYCROPS
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