The Agricultural Act of 2014 is a farm law that features a greater reliance on crop insurance programs, and cotton producers need to understand their options before making program choices for 2015 crops.
Are there any decision-making resources?
USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is updating a “Crop Insurance Decision Tool” that will illustrate the insurance choices available to cotton in 2015. This resource, at http://prodwebnlb.rma.usda.gov/apps/CIDT/, is aimed at helping upland cotton producers better understand the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) and the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO), which will be available for 2015 upland cotton. The tool shows how coverage is determined, when indemnities are paid, the approximate premium cost and how it interacts with an underlying crop insurance policy. It can help producers quickly explore and understand the variety of coverage options that these new products offer. While the tool will provide users with estimates to help them make purchasing decisions, producers should consult their crop insurance agent for detailed information and a premium quote specific to their operation.
RMA also recently released premium rates and expected area-wide yields for STAX and SCO for 2015. Those can be found by clicking on the Actuarial Information Browser link at www.rma.usda.gov/tools/. In addition, STAX coverage areas can be found by clicking on the “RMA Farm Bill Page” at www.rma.usda.gov.
Are there any other tools available?
The Texas A&M Agricultural and Food Policy Center has an online farm bill decision-aid tool at https://decision-aid.afpc.tamu.edu/. It covers possible future outcomes of the numerous program options on producers’ respective farms to help determine the best of those options. Included is a look at the new Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage commodity safety net programs for grains and oilseeds. Both programs offer protection for producers when market forces cause substantial decreases in crop prices and/or revenues. Producers will have until March 31, 2015, to select the program that works best for them. Landowners must make crop base retention or reallocation for covered commodities by February 28, 2015.
How is NCC helping with decision making?
NCC continues to post updates on farm law implementation at www.cotton.org/issues/-members/farmbill/2014-index.cfm. The NCC also has scheduled 25 educational meetings across the Cotton Belt to provide cotton industry members and agribusiness firms with in-depth information regarding 2015 insurance options for cotton under the new farm law. The meetings will explore STAX and SCO, including coverage levels, expected yields and premium rates; include an update on overall farm bill implementation; and a Q/A session. The meetings will be from Nov. 10 to Dec. 10, and times (all times local) and locations are on the NCC’s website at www.cotton.org/-news/releases/2014/staxwork.cfm. (See page 30). Producers, industry firms and agribusinesses are encouraged to attend at least one of these important meetings. The NCC will cover that information in regional webinars in December. More information will be at www.cotton.org.
Mark Lange is the president and chief executive officer for the National Cotton Council of America. He and other NCC leaders contribute columns on this Cotton Farming page.