November 2019

Farm bill meetings happening across Iowa

In order to help Iowans understand their options under the 2018 Farm Bill, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is planning meetings across the state.

More than 50 informational meetings will be held, beginning Nov. 12 in Grinnell, with a focus on explaining the different farm bill titles and programs that pertain to each part of the state. The meeting series stretches through the winter for landowners and producers to attend now, or following harvest, at a location that is convenient for them.

The agenda is similar at all meetings, and will include ISU Extension and Outreach farm management specialists and family life specialists, and local Farm Service Agency representatives.

Producers should attend to gain a better understanding of the changes to these programs and determine the path that best fits their farm operation under the 2018 Farm Bill. This is a chance to hear the program specifics and get answers to any questions they may have from regional experts.

stress for farmers

The 2018 Farm Bill allows producers to choose from the same crop price protection programs as found in the 2014 Farm Bill. However, unlike the previous bill, which limited their program selection for all five years, the new farm bill allows producers to make a two-year decision by March 15, 2020, and also to change this selection beginning in 2021.

One initial step under the 2018 Farm Bill is the opportunity to update farm yields used under the PLC program. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) allows farmland owners and operators the opportunity to update farm PLC yields starting in 2020 for payment years 2020 through 2023. As producers may determine a different program option in later years of the farm bill, updating the yields now may prove beneficial. The choice to update yields is one that owners and operators should consider closely. The PLC yield for each covered commodity will only update if the new calculation results in a higher yield. Form CCC-867 must be signed with the FSA offices to complete the process. See Decision Tool A1-35 to estimate the corn or soybean PLC yields for an Iowa farm, PLC Yield Update Tool: Farm Bill 2018.

The basic choices for programs are Price Loss Coverage and Agriculture Risk Coverage (at the individual and county levels). A producer’s choice will depend on their annual national cash price expectation, and the farm or county yields where the farm is located.
The goal of the farm bill meetings is to give an overview of the things that are included in the 2018 Farm Bill and which of the three roads a producer might wish to go down.

The financial stress has the potential to impact the future of the farm, and the health of the operator.

The extension family life specialist at each meeting will present "Stress on the Farm: Strategies to Help Each Other," a 40-minute scenario-based suicide prevention training that reviews the risk factors and warning signs of suicide.

While the farm bill is only one layer of risk protection, its programs are especially important this year. It’s more important now than ever that one tries to manage risk by understanding what these farm programs might do for them.

A complete listing of farm bill meetings is available on the Ag Decision Maker Meetings website, as well as the ISU Extension and Outreach statewide calendar.

More information on the farm bill can be found on the Ag Decision Maker Farm Bill page.

Kelvin Leibold, extension farm management specialist 641-648-4850,
Ann M. Johanns, extension program specialist, 515-337-2766,


Kelvin Leibold

extension farm management specialist
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Ann M. Johanns

extension program specialist
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