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No, this is not a new country-western dance. It is the process you should use for signing up for the new 2014 Farm Bill, otherwise known as "The Agricultural Act of 2014".  You will be making decisions that will affect the 2014 through 2018 crop years. Yes, we will be signing up in 2015 for a program that started in 2014.

The three steps are:

  1. To keep or update your farms program yields;
  2. To retain or reallocate your farm's crop base acres; and
  3. To make your choice between PLC, ARC-CO or ARC-IC.

There are two dates to remember:

  1. February 27 - Deadline for changing base acres and program yields; and
  2. March 31 - Deadline for signing up for either PLC, ARC-CO or ARC-IC.

The good news is that we have "tools" available to us to help us through these three steps.

  • The "Farm Bill Toolbox" is a web-based decision tool that takes you through the entire process - collecting your farm's data, making your decisions with regard to program yields and base acres, and choosing your income "safety net" - PLC, ARC-CO or ARC-IC.
  • The upcoming "2014 Illinois Farm Economic Summits" that will be held in mid-December will devote a majority of their time to Farm Bill decision making.
  • The "Farm Bill" Regional meetings that will be held in partnership with the Illinois Farm Bureau in 14 locations throughout the state during late January through February of 2105.
  • There are 16 University of Illinois Extension Educators that are located in counties throughout the state have been trained and educated on the 2014 Farm Bill and will be available to assist farmers and landowners with their questions. This is in addition to the campus-based staff led by Dr. Gary Schnitkey, Extension Farm Economist.
  • In addition to the University of Illinois' farmdoc "Farm Bill Toolbox" decision tool, the U of I has a series of "farm Bill" webinars that you can register for. If you can not attend the webinars, they are being archived so that you can view them at a later time.

Finally, yours truly is one of the trained U of I Extension Educators, and I will be glad to assist you in anyway I can.

Get ready - - Here we go - - a "One and a "Two" and a "Three". It's the Farm Bill "Three-Step".