The Farm Services Agency office in Bowman announced workshops that explained how the 2018 Farm Bill will affect ranchers and farmers in Bowman and Slope counties.

The workshops began Tuesday (Jan. 21) and run through today with both morning and afternoon sessions, according to LaVonne Wegner, the county executive for the agency's Bowman/Slope FSA office.

The FSA had both morning and afternoon session and two different locations to choose from. “It was the same workshop. I am just offered it twice a day during the week. I just like to provide an option for different people's schedules.”

The attendees did not need to bring anything with them to the workshops, Wegner added.

“Under the 2018 Farm Bill, they have three options for program sign up and I went through those three different programs to help them (farmers and ranchers) decide which is better for their farming operation,” she said. “It is for farmers and ranchers with the land actually holding commodity bases. Some of our ranchers have base acres, just like the farming operations do and it is the programs that they would like to enroll those base acres in.

“It doesn't matter the size of the farming operation as to which program is better. It is more in line with what they are doing in their operation,” the executive director explained. In one of those programs, it does matter what the producer is planting. In two of the other programs, it does not (matter),” she explained.

The workshops consisted of both morning and afternoon sessions through Jan. 24 in Bowman, primarily targeting operations in Bowman and Slope counties, but they were also open to people in neighboring counties. Wegner said that the FSA offices in other counties are setting up their own workshops.

Among the information, which was provided at the sessions, was how the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 reauthorized the ARC and PLC programs with changes for the 2019 through 2023 crop years.

According to a release by the Farm Services Agency, the ARC Program is an income support program, which provides payments when actual crop revenue declines below a specific guarantee level. The PLC Program provides income support payments when the effective price for a covered commodity falls before its effective reference price. Among the 22 covered commodities are wheat, oats, corn, soybeans, sunflower seed, and canola.

There are certain eligibility requirements for the ARC or PLC programs, which means farmers may not receive payments if the land was idle or fallow from 2009 through 2017. There are other guidelines covering beginning, veteran or limited resource farmers.

In addition, the workshops will also cover yield updates, election of ARC or PLC, enrollment guidelines, payment schedules, eligibility for crop insurance, Price Loss Coverage, County Agriculture Risk Coverage and Individual Agricultural Risk Coverage.

According to Wegner, the office is asking for people interested in attending the workshop to contact the office to arrange which session to attend.

Most of the morning and afternoon sessions were held in the local office in Bowman, but there were two sessions available Jan. 23 in Amidon at the Slope County Courthouse in the community room.

Wegner said the sessions were kept small, limited to about eight people, to help make the sessions more effective.

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