Market News & Headlines >> USDA Extends Subsidy Program Data Deadline

USDA on Friday extended the deadline for producers to update their crop acreage and yield histories by one month amid slow signups for new federal subsidy programs.

Farmers will now have until March 31, to update that data, which is also the deadline for choosing between the new subsidy program options – agricultural risk coverage (ARC) and price loss coverage (PLC). ARC is a price-average option, while PLC is a fixed price program.

"These are complex decisions,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. “We're providing a one-time extension of an additional month so that every producer is fully prepared to enroll in this program.”

The data will be used to determine farmers' subsidies over the life of the five-year federal law.

Program sign-ups have been slow according to university economists who have taught more than 4,000 classes on the programs since September, when USDA launched a nationwide program to educate producers on the new options.

"We're hearing that just a little over 50 percent of the farms have actually updated," Steven Johnson, an Iowa State University farm economist, told Reuters News Service.

USDA said if no changes are made to a farm’s yield history or base acres by March 31, the current yield and acreage base will be used. Producers must choice between ARC or PLC by March 31 or they will receive no 2014 payments and the farm will default to PLC coverage through the 2018 crop year.