2018 Farm Bill implementation update

From the U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced an update on the implementation status of the 2018 Farm Bill. President Trump signed this Farm Bill into law on Dec. 20, 2018, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) promptly began implementing key programs. In addition, USDA held several listening sessions with stakeholders and the public specific to each agency’s respective mission areas.

“America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers depend on the certainty and availability of USDA’s programs and assistance. That is why we are working diligently to implement the 2018 Farm Bill with efficiency and accuracy,” said Secretary Perdue. “We have listened to our stakeholders and consulted with our customers. As we continue to implement the Farm Bill, USDA is committed to focusing on responsiveness and putting our customers first.”

Here are some of the updates. For a complete list go here.

  • Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy):
    • Dairy producers who elected to participate in the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle Program in 2018 were able to retroactively participate in the MPP-Dairy for 2018. This enrollment opportunity ended on May 10, with more than $7 million dollars paid out to assist producers through this retroactive coverage as of May 28, 2019.
    • Farm Service Agency (FSA) began offering reimbursements to eligible producers for MPP-Dairy premiums paid between 2014-2017 on May 8, 2019. As of May 28, more than $1.7 million in cash refunds have been paid to dairy producers.
  • Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC):
    • Dairy producers now have access to a new web-based decision tool, developed in a partnership with the University of Wisconsin, to evaluate various scenarios using different coverage levels available through the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.
    • Sign-up began on June 17th with margin payments made to qualifying producers beginning in early July.
  • Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC): FSA will open ARC/PLC elections for the 2019 and 2020 crop years beginning in September 2019.
  • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP):
    • FSA began accepting applications on June 3, 2019, for certain practices under the continuous CRP, offering a one-year extension to existing CRP participants who have expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less, and reopening enrollment for existing Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) agreements.
    • FSA plans to offer a General CRP sign-up in December 2019.
  • Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP): On May 10, 2019, NRCS posted guidance for state conservationists regarding the handling of participant requests to apply for new contracts, as well as extending unexpired contracts from 2014. Additional guidance was posted regarding changes needed for existing RCPP partnership agreements to enroll in new CSP contracts.
  • Borlaug Fellowship Program 2019: On May 6, 2019, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) announced Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Borlaug Fellowship Program.
  • Local and Regional Food Aid Procurement: On May 20, 2019, Secretary Perdue signed the Local and Regional Food Aid Procurement Program report and it was sent to Congress.
  • Agricultural Trade Promotion and Facilitation: on May 28, 2019, FAS announced a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for FY 2020 Market Access Program, Foreign Market Development Program, Emerging Markets Program, and Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program funding. Submissions are due on June 28, 2019.
  • Loan Limits: On May 17, 2019, FSA issued an amendment to increase the loan limits as authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill – specifically, to $600,000 for direct loans and $1,750,000 for guaranteed loans.
  • Farm Ownership Loans: On May 8, 2019, FSA issued an amendment to clarify eligibility requirements for farm ownership loans, including increased loan limits, and waiver authority for the 3-year experience requirement in the case of a qualified beginning farmer or rancher.
  • Veteran Farmer or Rancher (12306): On April 26, 2019, RMA Implemented the new definition for Veteran Farmer or Rancher that gives the same benefit for Veterans as beginning farmers or ranchers. These benefits include:
    • Exemption from paying the administrative fee for catastrophic and additional coverage policies;
    • Additional 10 percentage points of premium subsidy for additional coverage policies that have premium subsidy;
    • Use of another person’s production history for the specific acreage transferred to you that you were previously involved in the decision making or physical activities to produce the crop; and
    • An increase in the substitute Yield Adjustment, which allows you to replace a low yield due to an insured cause of loss, from 60 to 80 percent of the applicable transitional yield (T-Yield).