The 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act: Four Key Areas That Will Impact Growers in Colorado, Wyoming, and the Rocky Mountain Region –
The new 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act is officially here and with it comes some significant changes that will have a major impact on growers and ranchers in Colorado, Wyoming, and surrounding states.
Officially called the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, the new bill was signed by President Trump on December 20, 2018. The bill, which received strong bipartisan support in Congress, focuses on insurance and subsidies, equal opportunity farming, conservation, and one very controversial new crop. Here’s a summary, in a two-part series, on the $867 billion package and what it means for the farmers and ranchers in our region.
Insurance and Subsidies
Many insurance, loan, and subsidy programs are set to change under the new Farm Bill, and the implications are mixed. For semi-arid states like Colorado and Wyoming, where wildfires rage and dry soil is easily damaged, insurance and subsidies are critical lifelines. Some of the new insurance changes are enjoying universal applause, while others are a bit more divisive.
ARC v. PLC
One of the most welcome changes in the bill is that growers will have the option to choose between ARC and PLC on an annual basis, rather than being stuck with one or the other for five years at a time. This change will be slightly delayed, however. Growers will choose between ARC and PLC for their 2019 and 2020 crops but beginning in 2021, it will switch to an annual choice. While PLC is typically the default option, switching to ARC is economical under certain circumstances, but only if the decision is timely. This important change will give farmers and ranchers the flexibility to make decisions based on recent circumstances and events, including natural disasters.