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Sign up for Safety Net Programs

Mike Foster
Montana USDA FSA State Director

Mission Critical! Contact USDA Farm Service Agency Now to Enroll in Key Safety Net Programs – Don’t Let the March 16 Deadline Pass You By.

The clock is ticking… March 16 is THE LAST day to make what is likely one of the most important business decisions you will make for your farming operation this year.

If you have not already visited your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office to make your election for either the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program and to sign your annual enrollment contract, you should call and make your appointment now.

Many of you are gearing up to head to the field for spring planting, but I cannot stress enough the importance of not letting this deadline get lost in the hectic day-to-day obligations of farm life. If you fail to enroll for 2019 ARC or PLC, you will be ineligible to receive a payment for the 2019 crop year.

ARC and PLC provide financial protections to farmers from substantial drops in crop prices or revenues and are vital economic safety nets for most American farms. These programs cover 20 commodities produced in the U.S.

FSA anticipates more than 1.7 million producers will enroll in ARC or PLC – that’s a lot of producers to assist in a short period of time. As of Feb. 3, FSA records in Montana show 11,647 farms out of an expected 21,550 farms have completed ARC or PLC enrollment for the 2019 crop year.

Want to maximize your time visiting with FSA? Inquire about deadlines and options for also enrolling in 2020 ARC or PLC and updating PLC payment yields. Our staff will help you make the most out of your visit or set you up with a future appointment to help check FSA programs off your lengthy “to do” list.

If you’re still unsure about the choice of ARC or PLC, we offer online decision tools to help you determine the best program election for your farming operation. To access these tools, visit

Call FSA today for an appointment. To locate your local FSA office, visit

We know that time is money… so make the time to avoid losing the money.

CRP General Signup Feb. 28th Deadline Nearing

FSA offices across Montana are also busy assisting producers with the General Conservation Reserve Program Signup that closes Feb. 28. Please review the important 2020 FSA deadlines. If you haven’t completed your paperwork, please contact your local FSA office to schedule an appointment ASAP.

Market Facilitation Program

Earlier this week, USDA announced the third and final tranche of the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations.

For Montana producers, the third tranche of payments includes the remaining 25 percent of the payment rate for Hogs, Dairy, and Specialty Crops (primarily Fresh Sweet Cherries), and the amount over $15 an acre in counties with Non-Specialty payment rates over $15 an acre (Chouteau, Daniels, Flathead, Gallatin and Sheridan). Counties with a $15 per acre Non-Specialty payment rate will not receive any additional amount.

Last but not least, I had the opportunity to attend the seventh annual Next Generation Conference in Shelby last week and really enjoyed it. Kudos to Farm Loan Manager Lacy Roberts, FSA staff and partners who put on another great conference.


Mike Foster