Farmers have several important decisions to make under the 2014 farm bill, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist.

Producers have the the option to chose between two safety net programs: Price Loss Coverage, also known as PLC,and Agricultural Risk Coverage, and the opportunity to reallocate base acres and update payment yields.

“These are five-year decisions,” said Dr. Joe Outlaw, co-director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University and AgriLife Extension economist. “Farmers have to decide what is best for their operation,knowing that their choices will extend through the life of the farm bill.”

The deadline for base allocation and yield update is Feb. 27. The 2014 farm bill ARC/PLC election deadline is March 31.

“I can imagine some farmers are thinking that is a few months away,” Outlaw said. “The actual deadline may be sooner for some. If a producer wants to purchase the Supplemental Coverage Option, or SCO, from their crop insurance agent, this decision will need to be made during the normal insurance sign-up. They are ineligible for SCO if they eventually chose ARC. With the early planting dates of South Texas, the de facto deadline is the crop insurance purchase deadline, which will be January 31. Farmers need to make their ARC/PLC decision before they meet with their crop insurance agent.”

To assist farmers with these decisions, several web-based decision aids were developed under a Farm Service Agency grant by the National Association for Agriculture and Food Policya coalition co-led by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University and the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The decision aids can be accessed at https://usda.afpc.tamu.edu.

Outlaw said he encourages farmers to use these resources if they have not already done so.