Vilsack Releases Farm Bill Implementation Progress Report
April 4, 2014
 

U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack released several implementation dates for Farm Bill programs this week, but timing for commodity title program rules is still vague.

Vilsack said during a House Agriculture Committee hearing on the state of the rural economy, he expects to have everything in place for Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program details by the fall. Producers must decide this year between PLC or ARC programs for the life of the Farm Bill.

With the recent enactment of the Farm Bill, members' questions focused on USDA's progress toward implementing the law.

Vilsack said that some crop insurance provisions, like conservation compliance rules, may be delayed until 2015.

He reiterated the disaster programs that expired in 2011 are USDA's first priority, particularly for livestock producers that suffered from the 2012 drought and an early season blizzard in South Dakota. Beginning April 15, producers will be able to enroll in the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program.

In response to inquiries on remaining payment allocations from the last Farm Bill, Vilsack said while 90 percent of final payments were made in February, the remaining should be made in late spring.

The department also said next week it will announce funding for the Foreign Agricultural Service's Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program.

Other areas of inquiry included the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to define its jurisdiction over waters of the United States, the potential closure of Farm Service Agency offices and the length of time it takes for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to approve petitions for biotechnology products.

USDA launched a website that provides details on Farm Bill implementation. It is available at http://usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=farmbill.

Reprinted in part from Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.