Farm Management Tour: July 17, 2024

Learn about innovative farm management strategies, new technologies for improving efficiency and productivity, ways to ensure a successful transition of farm operations to the next generation. Join us at the 91st annual Purdue Farm Management Tour and reception honoring the 2024 Indiana Master Farmers in Randolph County (Winchester), Indiana on Wednesday, July 17th.

February 29, 2024

PLC or ARC: Making Your 2024 Farm Bill Program Price Protection Decision

Brad Lubben, policy specialist and extension associate professor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, joins Purdue ag economists James Mintert and Michael Langemeier for a discussion on key 2024 farm program details. They highlight differences between the PLC and ARC programs for the 2024 crop year and how benefits from the two programs are likely to differ. After listening to the podcast you’ll be ready to make your 2024 farm program choice.

Companion slides and the audio transcript can be found below.

Additional resources:

  • Farm Bill What-If Tool, University of Illinois
    This tool calculates Agricultural Risk Coverage for County Coverage (ARC-CO), Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments, and ARC at the Individual Level (ARC-IC). County yields and market year average (MYA) prices are brought in for a user-specified state-county-crop combination. Users then can change county yields and prices to see ARC-CO and PLC payments under those yields and prices.
  • USDA FSA ARC/PLC Website
    The election and enrollment period opened Dec. 18, 2023 and runs through March 15, 2024. Producers can now make or change elections and enroll for 2024 ARC or PLC, providing future protections against market fluctuations. Fact Sheet
  • Farm Bill Information from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Audio Transcript:

James Mintert: Welcome to the Purdue Commercial AgCast, the farm management news and information podcast from the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture. I’m Jim Mintert, director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture. And joining me today is my colleague, Dr. Michael Langemeier, who’s the associate director of the Center, and also Dr. Brad Lubben from the University of Nebraska, where he is an extension associate professor and a policy specialist. Brad is also the director of the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, which is located at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska.

So thanks for joining us, Brad. We appreciate the opportunity to have you. It’s the second time this year. We had you at the Top Farmer Conference back in January, and now we’ve got you on a podcast.

Brad Lubben: Well, it’s a privilege to get to visit again. And as long as there’s something to brag about from Nebraska, I’m happy to join and talk.

00:52 Larger Safety Net in 2024 compared to 2023

James Mintert: So the reason we wanted Brad join us is he is a policy specialist. And this is the time of year where producers have to make some decisions with respect to their farm program decisions for the 2024 crop year. Specifically, producers across the Corn Belt are thinking about what they want to do with respect to signing up for the ARC or the PLC programs, and I thought it’d be useful, Brad, to kind of walk through that decision process.

And I think to start off with, you looked at what the projected 2023 crop payments might be paid in 2024.

Brad Lubben: Yes, I actually look back a year to sort of set the stage for why this decision in ’24 is different. In ’23, we had an annual decision to make between ARC and PLC and whether producers remember for sure what they signed up for or not. If you look at current projections, it was essentially nil and it didn’t matter much. With prices suddenly now where they’re at, or at least as currently projected, they’re projected to settle at prices far above where the safety net would have kicked in.

Think of corn with a $3.70 effective reference price, but a $4.85 projected price. This was as of last fall, late last fall. And maybe November is supply and demand reports. Updated reports would change that modestly, but it’s not enough to consider potential PLC payments. And so the expected payments coming in 2024 based on a ’23 program are nil. Even over there on the ARC program, look at how big a revenue loss it would take. The last column, how big a revenue loss it would take relative to expected prices and trend yields. That’s how big a loss it would take in order to trigger an ARC payment. Generally speaking, we’re not going to see 25 to 35% revenue losses in any commodities to the point that we’re going to see ARC payments. It likely does happen some places. In some isolated counties, we have a few counties that might have had drought losses that bad. That would trigger ARC because of yield losses. But generally speaking, the ’23 program didn’t provide much safety below expectations. That’s a very different scenario to say, but ’24 matters because the safety net actually gets higher gross and higher in ’24.

James Mintert: So I want to stop you right there and just talk about that for a little bit, because I think that’s something that maybe not a lot of people are aware of. And maybe walk us through the how that comes about that that safety net, in fact, does get a little larger in 2024 relative to what it has been in recent years.

Brad Lubben: Yeah. Well, in fact, if we think about the farm bill debate that has started but hasn’t really gained much traction yet. There’s been a lot of talk amongst ag groups about we need to strengthen the safety net, maybe raise reference prices. Market prices have gone up, but so have production costs, which means that breakevens are higher. The safety net still down where it’s at means that we don’t have as much safety. Well, in fact, we have a higher safety net in 2024 because of the what we call the effective reference price equation that was built into the 2018 farm bill. In short order, essentially, there’s a statutory reference price that serves as the minimum and on that first row for corn, that’s $3.70 a bushel. That can grow as high as 115% of that statutory reference price. That’s for ’26. If the five year olympic average price. So if prices go up high enough, long enough, that the five year olympic average price goes high enough, such that 85% of that is higher than the reference price, then reference prices go up. That’s a lot of math to say, well, look, there’s five years of market prices in there, throughout the high and low, to calculate an olympic average. That olympic average for corn is for $4.71. Or 71 times 85% is $4.01. The reference price record in 2024 is for $4.01, not $3.70. That’s a good 8% or so higher than it was last year. It does help. It’s maybe not as high as what some groups would like, but it certainly helps.

James Mintert: Yeah, I think that’s a surprise to a lot of people because they hadn’t been paying attention necessarily to how that marketing year average, that olympic average actually worked. So walk through the prices. So $4.01 becomes the effective reference price in 2024 for corn, the effective reference price for soybeans goes up to what, $9.26, whereas it was at $8.40, right?

Brad Lubben: $9.26 over $8.40. That’s as well, or close to, just sort of 10% or so, or around 10% in terms of increase. So it’s substantial. And another commodity, if you have any wheat, well guess what we’re still stuck at the same reference price. Because wheat prices haven’t been high enough to trigger a change.

James Mintert: So we’ve got a higher reference price for corn and soybeans, and that’s significant. And it makes the decision for us in the 2024 crop year more challenging. Right?

Brad Lubben: That’s correct. PLC is a bigger safety net in 2024 than it was in 2023. But so is ARC. And thus the next discussion here.

James Mintert: Yeah. So let’s take a look at that because the effect of ARC price goes up as well. In prior years, well, I think the new effective reference price is what, $4.17, based on the computations, right?

Brad Lubben: Right. Taken the fact that ARC is this moving average revenue safety net. A moving average yield. A moving average price. We call that the benchmark yield. The benchmark price. That produces a benchmark revenue. You take that times 86% and you calculate this guaranteed. Well, the moving average yield is a five year trend adjusted olympic average yield. Lots of math to say that the moving average yield actually should be very close to what you would expect counting yields to be for the given year. So let’s take that as sort of a standard given. What’s the moving average price that goes into the benchmark price. It’s the same five year olympic average price. With one adjustment where we take this year’s effective reference price. We throw it into the equation when other prices are otherwise low. We then calculate olympic average. That olympic average is for $4.85, not the $4.71 that we saw for the price last coverage calculation. It’s for $4.85. 86% is where the ARC guarantee would kick in. If I attribute that all the price, just for some simplicity here, 86% or $4.85 is $4.17. In other words, at trend yields expected yields, average yields for the county. ARC would kick in at $4.17 for corn. PLC, as I just referenced, kicks in at $4.01. That’s your new sort of reference point for 2024. Different than what we saw in 2023.

James Mintert: And you’ve got a similar story, maybe not quite as extreme, with respect to soybeans as well. Right?

Brad Lubben: Right. The soybeans, when you work through all those equations, the effective price for ARC is $9.56 a bushel. Compare that to what we just calculated for PLC for soybeans, back at $9.26. They’re both higher. There is some advantage for ARC in that calculation.

James Mintert: Yeah. So starting right here. And I think listeners are kind of wondering, okay, so right away we’re probably leaning a little bit towards the ARC program versus the PLC program because of those slightly higher reference prices, or effective prices for the two programs.

Brad Lubben: We would think, and we could say, generally speaking, that at least based on the price component, ARC will definitely kick in faster than PLC.

James Mintert: All right. But there’s some other considerations. Yeah.

Brad Lubben: But the decision on which is better is still more complicated.

James Mintert: Yeah, exactly.

Brad Lubben: In terms of which one kicks in faster, so look at PLC again in the first column, that was the effective reference price, that is $4.01. These projected prices you see in the middle of that table, that’s a projected price from the baseline forecast from last fall. I’m not making that as a market forecast, I’m suggesting it is a market forecast. It’s not far from where USDA published a couple weeks ago in their ag outlook materials. But roughly $4.50 corn. We can debate whether the market is really offering this $4.50 corn for the new crop, that’s a different question. But if the projection marketing year ahead was roughly $4.50 corn, it would take a 10% drop from expectations before it would trigger PLC payments that start at $4.01. If that same, roughly $4.50 price for corn is what we expect, and we expect trend yields in the county, then it would take a 7% drop in revenue before we would trigger an ARC payment. So 10% percent drop to trigger PLC, 7% drop to trigger ARC, that’s where you can confidently say whatever your price projection is, you can calculate the percentage drop you’d have to take before you’d see the safety net kick in. And ARC will kick in faster. There is the adjustment. ARC is also yield dependent. Higher yields would translate into lower effective price protection, lower yields would translate into higher effective price protection. But in terms of PLC requires a 10% price drop, ARC requires a 7% revenue drop, ARC should kick in faster than PLC for most commodities.

James Mintert: And then I guess if you think about the market action that’s taken place recently with the weakness we’ve seen in prices, that probably makes PLC maybe just a little more attractive. Do you agree with that?

Brad Lubben: Yeah. If the weakness we see in the market recently translates into some downward revisions in marketing year average price projections, that means we’re closer to money in both of those. ARC may still kick in first, but the closer the money on both those, the more we value not just are they in the money, but how deep are they in the money. ARC provides substantial revenue support. It provides substantial revenue support on what we would call the first 10% of revenue loss. Once you get the guarantee, it pays dollar for dollar on those losses. Calculated at a county level remember, but it pays dollar for dollar in those losses, but only for the first 10%. Once you hit the trigger for PLC, it pays. And it pays all the way down to the loan rate, which if we’re asking a trivia question for corn, that’s $2.20 per bushel. I hope to gosh there’s no way there’s price distributions out there that image a $2.20 per bushel.

James Mintert: Yeah, I think that’s outside the range at this point. Fortunately. So that’s a that’s kind of a roundabout way of saying that potentially if we get into a really negative scenario, the payments from PLC could potentially be bigger than what the ARC payments could be.

Brad Lubben: Yes, if you try to compare the two. ARC wins for a while. And if losses get really big, prices losses get really big, PLC ultimately wins.

00:12:46 Potential Payments

James Mintert: Yeah, good point. So let’s take a look at some comparisons. And this is actually based on some work from Gary Schnitkey at the University of Illinois. And what he did is he compared PLC potential payments under a variety of yield scenarios. This is based on, I think, Champagne County in Illinois, so central Illinois. So he’s got yields on one axis and he’s got marketing year average prices on another axis. And he’s taken estimated PLC payments minus the ARC county estimated payments at those various scenarios to look at, you know, when would PLC be better than ARC-Co and vice versa.

Brad Lubben: Right. So think about how the two equations work. And this table really gives us a nice illustration of what combination of yield or price or yield and price losses payout. So you’d calculate the actual payments and try to compare when the payments switch. This is the calculation of the difference in payments. So it’s a direct sort of measure of which one program ultimately pays more. The first thing to note, maybe, if we started at expected price and expected yields, we’re over there in that $4.45 plus range for prices. If we hit expected yields, which I’m not sure, the benchmark yield is 225 in the county. If we hit our expected prices and we hit our expected yields nothing pays. You know, don’t expect a cash flow out of the program. If you have losses in yield, or you have losses in price below those expectations, ARC tends to pay first. And thus those first numbers that show up there are negative. That’s PLC payments minus ARC payments, ARC payments are bigger than PLC payments, actually ARC payments are positive and PLC payments don’t exist for a little bit there. ARC wins this scenario, or wins the analysis if you’re taking about modest yield and modest price reductions. As soon as you talk big price losses that fall below $4.00 and PLC starts to pay, fall below about mid-$3.00 and PLC starts to pay more than ARC. And suddenly you’re taking about deep price losses translates into bigger PLC payments. And the deeper you go the bigger that gets. So you can imagine the scenario where there are some modest price losses, modest as in 10% plus, where PLC pays but ARC doesn’t because we have great yields at the county level. That’s sort of the top row or two of that table. You can imagine lots of scenarios where we have small price losses or small yield losses or both where ARC pays the most. And then you can imagine, go far enough to the left there, where very big price losses translate in bigger PLC payments.

James Mintert: So for listeners, we’re looking at some charts here as we discussed the farm program options with Dr. Lubben. You can download the charts that we are looking at during the course of the podcast and look at them in a little more detail, but in particular, this chart is kind of helpful because it lets you look at the possible scenarios when the two programs might pay out.

And you know, Brad, I guess as I look at it and I kind of summarize a little bit, you know, there’s you have to get pretty bearish about corn prices before you really think the PLC program looks better on this on this particular chart.

Brad Lubben: Yeah, it would take so it would take about a 10% loss to start worrying about payments in general. It would take about a 25% loss before PLC starts looking like the biggest choice.

James Mintert: Michael, as you think about this table and maybe think about break evens for a lot of folks, what what’s your perspective?

Michael Langemeier: Well, that’s not good news.

Brad Lubben: No.

Michal Langemeier: You look at a break was for corn in Indiana and this would be very consistent with Gary Schnitkey breakevens. We’re looking at breakevens for corn around $5.25. Now that’s full costing. So it’s all opportunity costs in there, but that’s a lot higher than the prices we’ve been talking about today.

I want to make a couple points related to this comparison. And Brad brought this up, but I want to reinforce this. Sometimes people think, well, if the price gets below $4, that means PFC is going to be better. No. Not necessarily, as Brad indicated, that price has to get down to that $3.50 or below range before the PLC is actually better than the ARC-county. And so that’s a very important point to make out. Another point I wanted to make is this sheet that we’re currently looking at, there’s a tool on the University of Illinois website, Farmdoc website where you can download this tool. And there’s a lot of states where you can look at this, you know, for your individual counties. And so Indiana, for example, this information is available. And then if you look at the Western Corn Belt, there is a tool in Kansas State, right Brad?

Brad Lubben: That’s right. There’s a similar tool that would give you a table. An important thing about the table, it helps you understand what the possibilities are. Neither of these tools have a probability on those data points, so you gotta think about – now I understand what my exposure might be, is that really a likely scenario?

Michael Langemeier: Yeah. And really the middle columns are more probable. And as you go to the far left and far right, the probability of those prices occurring are are not that high.

Brad Lubben: And I would also note, the farther east you go in the Corn Belt, you guys are right there close to the in the middle of it, the farther east you go, the more natural hedge you have and yields tend to inversely correlate. You spend more time right in the middle and you spend time sort of on the diagonal, higher prices translate into lower yields, lower price tends to translate into higher yields. The expectations that we would have sharply sharply lower yields or sharply sharply lower prices, the probabilities get pretty small. Now having said that, what the probability of right now having corn prices falling another buck, it can’t be too high. On the other hand if we ask that question last spring we wouldn’t have expected it to be very high either and look what happened. So, it’s within the realm of possibility but I’m not ready to put a probability on it.

James Mintert: Yeah. Good point. So you taking a look at the same thing with respect to soybeans and again relying on the data from the University of Illinois, Gary Schnitkey, and looking at the Champaign County scenario, the chart looks kind of similar, but maybe a little bit different. Do you agree with that?

Brad Lubben: You know, fundamentally it looks the same. Modest yield losses, modest price losses, ARC tends to win. PLC tends to win, obviously again the deeper you go with price losses. And it would take about an $8 soybean price to trigger PLC payments that are bigger than ARC unless you had far above average yields. So ARC wins for roughly the first dollar or so of potential price loss on soybeans as well.

James Mintert: Yeah, good point.

Brad Lubben: Unless you have sustainably above average yields.

00:20:35 – Crop Insurance/Risk Management Considerations

James Mintert: All right. So let’s see if we can get down to maybe given some guidance with respect to how to think about this a little bit.

Brad Lubben: You bet. So when I try to summarize ARC, its convenient to think of that equation and it’s benchmark yield times benchmark price gives you a benchmark revenue. Times 86% gives you this ARC guarantee. And then it covers the first 10% so it covers this index from 86 to 76. And we like to sort of think about that in relation to crop insurance decisions we have – well what level of protection do I buy and how do these sort of stack on top of each other. And that’s relevant to a question about the supplemental coverage option in a moment. But it’s also worth noting, these are based on different prices. The ARC percentages, the ARC benchmark, is based on this 5 year adjusted olympic average price. The PLC program is based on a 5 year olympic average price, 85% of it. Crop insurance is based on this year’s projected price, base price during the price discovery period. They are different prices. So even though the indexes say they kick in on the same percentage level, it’s the same percentage of a different price. Not quite the same in percent of coverage.

James Mintert: Yeah, that’s a good point. We tend to forget that.

Brad Lubben: If I play with the numbers well enough, it will show up here in a couple graphs, if I play with the numbers, where does ARC really kick in for corn? If you use today’s, well yesterday’s estimated of what the price discovery period average has been so far, ARC doesn’t kick in at 86 and kick out at 76, it kicks in at about 89% of what the current insurance price is. Which means it would kick out at about 79%. It’s just not quite the same spot on the price index. It kicks in different.

Over on soybeans it’s closer to 82%. Soybean price projection is a little bit higher. The guarantee is a little bit lower. They just don’t kick in the same spot. That’s important to remember when you try to figure out how to perfectly match that up with insurance. You gotta remember what they’re calculated on.

James Mintert: So one other program to kind of mentioned briefly, and that is the ARC-IC program and not very many people in Nebraska choose this. Not many people in Indiana or Illinois choose that either.

Brad Lubben: No, it always gets typically one slide or even one footnote in one slide of ARC-IC is available. It combines all of the program commodities on a the farm number into one safety net. It does protect farm-level risk. That’s a farm-level yield on a national price, so it does protect farm-level risk much like individual crop insurance would. But it combines every crop on the farm together. Because it’s farm-level, one expects it to trigger more often than county-based trigger. But because it might trigger more often at the farm-level, there’s also a payment adjustment factor that only pays on 65% of base acres instead of 85. Theoretically, when they calculated the budget impact those two things balanced each other out and that’s how you ended up with the percentages we did. But it just isn’t very popular and it’s not very likely to be popular with producers unless you have some preconceived ideas about what your risk on the farm versus the county or versus averages as a whole. It’s never been highly sought after and looking ahead it just rarely is.

James Mintert: Yeah. For most producers here in the Corn Belt, the fact that it pays on 65% of base acres makes that program relatively unattractive.

Brad Lubben: The only time it really suddenly peaked everybody’s interest, when you go into the spring and you have real fears about preventative plant. If I fear I can’t get any of my farm planted, or I can’t get a substantial portion of my farm planted, then I’m already penciling in major losses on the farm, then suddenly ARC-IC looks like a winner.

James Mintert: Yeah, you’re right.

Brad Lubben: If you predict any thing like a normal spring and a normal planting cycle, and close to normal precipitation, it’s hard for it to show up good.

James Mintert: Yeah. Good. Good point. All right, so let’s you gave us a point here. And one of your slides, Brad, talked about the crop insurance risk management considerations. And we’re going to do a companion podcast to this that focuses more heavily on the crop insurance side. But there are some things to think about with respect to crop insurance and program choice.

Brad Lubben: Right. So, we’ve talked about ARC and then we’ve talked about PLC, remember that it’s a price safety net. For practical purposes, the PLC that kicks in at $4.01 corn is like a put option. It provides downside price protection. It has no relationship to yield results. It might match up well with whatever crop insurance plans you already have to cover your yield risk or cover your revenue risk or so forth. But the other particular facet of PLC is if you’re enrolled in PLC you also have the option of something called supplemental coverage option, SCO. That is a county based crop insurance policy that we’ll talk about in a bit. But SCO is available to you if you’re in PLC. It is not available if you’re in ARC. Well SCO covers from 86% down to whatever crop insurance coverage level you buy into individually. That sounds not a lot of like ARC that goes down from 86 to 76% and thus you can’t have both. Those are and may not be tied to exactly the same, regardless you can’t have both. So some of the consideration here is should I go into ARC or should I go into PLC. The decision might really be should I go into ARC or should I go into PLC and add SCO to it. And the economics of that might be different than PLC alone.

James Mintert: Yeah, that’s exactly right. I think for a lot of people, especially in the Corn Belt, if you were thinking about PLC, it probably would be so that you could purchase SCO.

Brad Lubben: And when I try to summarize and what I talked about across Nebraska is to say, it’s a minimally used product in Nebraska at least to date. Maybe it takes a few producers that are interested or a few agents that know how to sell it but we’ve had limited participation to date. I think when we talked at the Top Farmer Conference at Purdue, the percentage of respondents to the poll that suggest that the percentage of interest in SCO is higher, substantially higher. Still a minority, but substantially higher, so maybe there’s, particularly more interest in counties where the county result is a more effective safety net than what we might have in a more risky environment here in Nebraska.

James Mintert: Yeah, that’s a good point. And I think the other thing I’ve run into here in the Eastern Corn Belt, Brad, is we definitely have some crop insurance firms that are encouraging, pretty strong consideration of SCO. So we’ll talk a little more detail about that a little later. But if you’re going to do that, you’re probably going to change your strategy a little bit with respect to which revenue, which revenue product or which revenue coverage level that you choose. Right?

Brad Lubben: Right. In a more risky environment like we have here in Nebraska, I don’t think we have many producers that wanna swap out farm-level coverage for SCO. We’re not all buying 85%, mind you, but we’re not buying down on individual coverage just so we can fill the gap with SCO. But if we’re thinking about how the farm program and crop insurance interact, if SCO is of interest to you then you got to think carefully about your farm program decision too. I have a description on this slide, this is sort of an economist’s caveat that means I don’t have a good analysis to explain it any differently. ARC versus PLC is a decision you have to make at the Farm Service Agency office. If you’re interested in SCO, SCO is something you have to buy from your crop insurance agent so it requires producer paid premium. But like other federal crop insurance products, it’s also federally supported. And expected indemnities over time theoretically exceed producer paid premiums, so it’s hard to determine what the optimal level of coverage is for a product that both reduces risk and expects to return money. So should producers buy SCO or not? I can’t give you a good answer.

James Mintert: I think maybe we’ll talk about this more a little later. But I think my initial reaction to that, Brad, would be to say, if you’re going to go the PLC route, you probably do want to think about SEO. That’s kind of how I look at it.

Michael Langemeier: I would concur.

Brad Lubben: Yeah. Yeah.

James Mintert: So it’s kind of a two step decision process.

So you look at an example here, at least a limited one, right? So maybe share those results.

Brad Lubben: We pulled an example to try to illustrate SCO and the enhanced coverage option, or ECO, for producers that hadn’t necessarily been that familiar with them before. And given the small percentage, that’s most producers yet. Whatever coverage you buy, and the overwhelmingly the most popular is revenue protection, here in Nebraska the most popular coverage level is 75, but 70 or 75 are pretty common, whatever coverage level you buy when you buy insurance you are left with a major deductible. How much loss are you willing to absorb? You could buy up to 85% but you choose some level of deductible you’re happy with. SCO provides that opportunity to add this county-based component, trigger that raises your protection to 86%. You still pay a substantial deductible, but you cut into it dramatically. And for producers that buy lower level of insurance coverage, or producers that are in counties where the county-based results is a pretty good safety net to protects their farm, SCO looks pretty exciting. Then we have something that’s called ECO, the enhanced coverage option, that now kicks in at either 90 or 95%, and covers the gap down to where SCO. You have the ability to really insure away a substantial part of your expected revenue, production levels. So you can get that deductible down there pretty small if you remember that one of these is farm-level coverage and SCO and ECO are county-based policies. And if we stacked the farm program ARC and PLC add to this program, but they’re tied to different price triggers, etc. It all does fit together to contribute to the bottom line. They all trigger on something slightly different it seems. So one wants to be careful when trying to compare them.

James Mintert: Yeah, that’s a good point. And for our listeners, we’re looking at a chart that Brad put together that kind of summarizes these different effect of deductible levels that you’re exposed to and your various coverages. But the challenges Brad just pointed out is you’re combining risk management at the individual farm level with risk management at the county level. And that combination, you can you can show it on a graph, but there’s a caveat and that is the two things aren’t covering exactly the same thing. The two things are correlated, but they’re not perfectly correlated. And so that’s the challenge.

00:33:31 – Conclusion

James Mintert: Well, Brad, that kind of wraps up our discussion of the farm program decision. I think I’m going to kind of turn to Michael here and say, well, you know, you’ve been kind of quiet. He’s been thinking through the program options. And as you get those phone calls and emails from folks with respect to what should I do, what’s going to be your response, thinking about producers here in the Eastern Corn Belt in particular?

Michael Langemeier: I think ARC-CO is definitely the option for soybeans because that PLC price, even the revised PLC price or he higher reference price that Brad was talking about is still really low. And so I would go with ARC county with soybeans definitively. I think when you go to corn, it’s a little tougher choice. ARC county still looks better and we’ve talked about that. But you still have this SCO question in there. And so certainly when we were talking about this before, Jim, we recommended ARC county for both corn and soybeans, that ARC county for corn is not quite as big a no brainer as it was previously. And so that’s a little tougher decision, particularly when you also consider that you can buy SEO if you go with the PLC route, if you’re not that interested in SCO, let’s say you’re in northern Indiana and you go with the 85% revenue protection product for corn and soybeans, I think ARC county is still a pretty safe, safe way to go. If you’re in southern Indiana, it’s probably a little tougher decision.

James Mintert: Yeah. And I guess I think kind of to wrap it up there, Michael, as we indicated previously, if you’re going to PLC route, you should be taking a pretty darn hard look at also purchasing SCO. You agree with that? You’re kind of nodding your head.

Michael Langemeier: Yes. I think if you’re not going to purchase SEO, I wouldn’t go the PLC route.

James Mintert: Yeah. So I think I think we can make a that’s a pretty strong recommendation in the sense that, you know, that helps you think about what you want to do. And if you’re not interested in SEO, you don’t want to mess with that for whatever reason, then I think your decision becomes automatic. You go ARC county, if you’re potentially interested in SEO, that puts you a little more on the fence, right? A little more of a toss up with respect to which route to go.

So we’ll take a closer look at the crop insurance decision in our companion podcast. So I’m going to wrap it up here for now. Thanks, Brad, for joining us from Nebraska. And we’ll have you on our next podcast along as well as we cover the crop insurance decision in a little more detail. So on behalf of my colleagues, Michael Langemeier here at Purdue and Brad Lubben at the University of Nebraska, thanks for listening.




Making Your 2024 Crop Insurance Decision

March 4, 2024

Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture’s ag economists Michael Langemeier and James Mintert and Brad Lubben, policy specialist and extension associate professor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, walk participants through key considerations for their 2024 insurance options.


Farm Bill Directions & Decisions

January 10, 2024

Join host Brady Brewer as he recaps Dr. Brad Lubben’s presentation on the 2024 ag policy outlook at the 2024 Purdue Top Farmer Conference. Dr. Lubben, an extension ag policy specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, navigates the complexities of the current farm bill landscape.


Policy Brief Series: Farm Bill 2023

January 18, 2023

In a new Purdue Ag Econ Policy Brief Series, Roman Keeney, associate professor of agricultural economics, breaks down the multiple aspects that will go into passing what will arguably be the most discussed bill in agriculture this year, the 2023 Farm Bill.



Purdue Farm Management Tour & Indiana Master Farmer Reception 2024

Two outstanding farms in east-central Indiana will host visitors wanting to learn about farm and crop management on July 17th for the Purdue University Farm Management Tour. The Indiana Master Farmer reception and panel discussion will follow.

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