USDA opens 2019 enrollment for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs

2020 enrollment period to open in October

Agricultural producers can now enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, two popular safety net programs, for the 2019 crop year. Interested producers must sign up for either program by March 15, 2020.

The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized and made updates to these two USDA Farm Service Agency programs. ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guarantee level. PLC program provides income support payments on historical base acres when the price for a covered commodity falls below its effective reference price.

“The ARC and PLC programs, in combination with crop insurance, are the bedrock of the farm safety net for crop farmers and something I hear about frequently on the road,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “This exciting opportunity for enrollment in these programs marks the first time folks will have the opportunity to switch their elections since the 2014 Farm Bill was implemented. I am pleased to add that today’s announcement means our staff met yet another major Farm Bill implementation goal and they are continuing to move full speed ahead.”

Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain rice), safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.

Elections and Enrollment

Updated provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill allow producers with an interest in a farm to enroll and elect coverage in crop-by-crop ARC-County or PLC, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm, for program year 2019. The election applies to both the 2019 and 2020 crop years. If a 2019 election is not submitted by the deadline of March 15, 2020, the election defaults to the current elections of the crops on the farm established under the 2014 Farm Bill. No payments will be earned in 2019 if the election defaults.

For crop years 2021 through 2023, producers will have an opportunity to make new elections. Farm owners cannot enroll in either program unless they have a share interest in the farm. 

Once the 2019 election and enrollment are completed, producers on the farm for 2020 can complete an enrollment contract for the 2020 crop year beginning Oct. 7, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020. 

Although 2019 enrollment begins Sept. 3, 2019 and must occur first, a producer waiting until Oct. 7, 2019 to enroll is afforded the opportunity to enroll in either program for both 2019 and 2020 during the same office visit. During this time, farm owners have a one-time opportunity to update PLC payment yields that takes effect beginning with crop year 2020. If the owner accompanies the producer to the office, the yield update may be completed during the same office visit.

Web-Based Decision Tools

In partnership with USDA, the University of Illinois and Texas A&M University are offering web-based decision tools to assist producers in making informed, educated decisions using crop data specific to their respective farming operations. Tools include:

  • Gardner-farmdoc Payment Calculator, the University of Illinois tool that offers farmers the ability to run payment estimate modeling for their farms and counties for ARC-County and PLC.
  • ARC and PLC Decision Tool, the Texas A&M user friendly tool that allow producers to analyze payment yield updates and expected payments for 2019 and 2020. Producers who have used the tool in the past should see their user name and much of their farm data will already be available in the system.

Crop Insurance Considerations

Producers are reminded that enrolling in ARC or PLC programs can impact eligibility for some forms of crop insurance. Producers who elect and enroll in PLC also have the option of purchasing Supplemental Coverage Option through the USDA Risk Management Agency. Producers of covered commodities who elect ARC are ineligible for SCO on their planted acres.

Upland cotton farmers who choose to enroll seed cotton base acres in ARC or PLC are ineligible for the stacked income protection plan on their planted cotton acres. To be eligible for STAX coverage, producers must not enroll their seed cotton base acres into the ARC or PLC programs.

More Information

For more information on ARC and PLC, download our program fact sheet or our 2014-2018 farm bills comparison fact sheet. To sign up for the program, visit your FSA county office.

Bally Community Garden – Plots available for the 2019 season

Interested in growing your own vegetables and flowers but don’t have the space or yard for it?

The Bally Community Garden is an organic garden that is located at Rt. 100 behind Bally Mennonite Church and has been in existence for over 10 years. Currently we have a dedicated group of gardeners from the community that maintain their individual plots and would welcome others to join us.

Visit the garden and check it out. Email us or call 484.241.7986 for more information.

Joyce, Brindisi work across the aisle to support dairy farmers, strengthen and expand dairy workforce

Brindisi and Joyce work together to expand H2-A Visa Program to include dairy workers

Congressman John Joyce (PA-13) and Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) introduced bipartisan legislation to help Upstate New York dairy farmers hire the workforce they need to run their farms and dairy operations efficiently.

The Dairy and Sheep H-2A Visa Enhancement Act would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow foreign dairy workers and sheepherders to use the H-2A visas program and enter the United States for an initial period of three years with an additional three-year extension period. Dairy workers do not currently qualify for H-2A visas, a program that helps many New York producers keep their farms open.

“I’ve heard from dairy farmers across Upstate New York that they need more skilled, qualified workers to help run their operations and get products on shelves,” said Brindisi. “Dairy farmers are a critical part of Upstate New York’s economy, and our broken immigration system hurts their ability to grow and hire. This commonsense fix will help dairy farmers have the resources and workforce they need to succeed.”

“As a Central New York dairy producer, I am both excited and proud of Congressmen Brindisi and Joyce for tackling this difficult labor problem in a bipartisan fashion for our nation’s dairy farmers,” said Michael McMahon, owner and operator, E-Z Acres in Homer. “This proposed legislation provides the necessary first step to solving this problem.”

“It is critical that Congress enact legislation to address the unique workforce needs of dairy producers,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation. “Without the help of foreign labor, many American dairy operations would face the threat of closure. We thank Reps. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) and John Joyce (R-PA) for their bipartisan effort to lay down a marker that this issue must be addressed in any future immigration legislation. It’s a problem that must be solved in tandem with providing certainty to dairy’s current workforce.”

Brindisi serves on the House Agriculture Committee and is a member of the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over policies related to livestock, poultry, dairy and seafood. In NY-22, the dairy industry alone supports nearly 4,000 direct jobs, more than $235 million in wages and generates an economic impact of $1.83 billion.

Brindisi and Joyce recently led a group of bipartisan freshman members of Congress urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to take strong action against manufacturers who falsely label non-dairy products as milk. The two members are also both co-sponsors of the bipartisan Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act to expand whole milk options in school lunchrooms.

“Since coming to Congress, I’ve worked to form relationships on both sides of the aisle and find common ground,” Brindisi said. “Dairy farmers in Upstate New York and Pennsylvania face many of the same challenges, so it makes sense to partner with Congressman Joyce on these issues. I look forward to continuing to work together to deliver results for our constituents.”

“The partnership I have formed with Congressman Brindisi on dairy issues is a great example of how new leadership in Washington can drive commonsense change,” said Joyce. “While we may sit on opposite sides of the aisle, our constituents have similar needs. Continuing to work with Congressman Brindisi on innovative solutions to revive the dairy industry in Pennsylvania’s 13th District will be a priority for me going forward.”

KU Professor Awarded U.S. Department of Agriculture Grant for Swine Parasite Management

KU Professor Awarded U.S. Department of Agriculture Grant for Swine Parasite Management

KUTZTOWN – Dr. Alexander Hernandez, assistant professor of biology at Kutztown University, has been awarded a $449,542 collaborative grant sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The award is in conjunction with Rick Carr, Compost Production Specialist at Rodale Institute, and Dr. Yuzhi Li, associate professor of swine behavior and welfare at the University of Minnesota – West Central Research and Outreach Center. Kutztown University’s share of the grant is $112,315, which will fund Hernandez and three KU students each year for three years between 2018 and 2021. The students will work with Hernandez at KU monitoring the relative incidence of parasites common to production pigs in organic farming operations.

Field trials will be conducted at Rodale Institute, where KU students will learn to identify and quantify parasite infective stages in pig feces and soil, as well as assist in the development of manure and pasture management strategies that could help organic and transitioning pastured pork producers to mitigate swine parasite contamination and transmission. Students will also conduct lab experiments that mimic field trials in incubators at KU.

“Parasites pose a huge challenge to farmers trying to raise organic livestock primarily because they can’t treat their animals with medicinal products to minimize infection,” Hernandez said. “The goal of this project is to come up with easily applied alternative strategies using plants that have potential medicinal purposes so that the animals can self-medicate and reduce the number of parasites.”

In the first year, students will collect feces and soil samples at Rodale Institute and other collaborating organic farms in the Midwest in order to assess the severity of swine parasite infection and contamination across the United States. This very basic information does not presently exist for organic Continue reading “KU Professor Awarded U.S. Department of Agriculture Grant for Swine Parasite Management”

FFA members compete at state competition

Floriculture Team

FFA members compete at state competition

Thirty members of the Oley Valley FFA participated in the annual state conference from June 12-14 at Penn State University.

Our students were involved in many different competitions and several of the teams ranked well enough to receive state honors and the opportunity to compete on the national level.

Floriculture CDE – (56 participants)

1st Place Team Earning the right to represent the Pennsylvania FFA at the National FFA Convention October 24-27, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

  • Hayden Phillips, grade 11 3rd place Gold Medal
  • Haley Weidman, grade 10 8th place Silver Medal
  • Jessica Miller, grade 12 9th place Silver Medal
  • Kelsey Schlegel, grade 12 17th place

Food Science Team

Food Science and Technology CDE- (29 participants)

1st Place Team Earning the right to represent the Pennsylvania FFA at the National FFA Convention October 24-27, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

  • Alysha Ulrich, grade 11 2nd place Gold Medal
  • Sarah Tatham, grade 12 3rd place Gold Medal
  • Vinny Ferrizzi, grade 11 5th place Gold Medal
  • Kylee Hetrick, grade 11 8th place Gold Medal

Milk Quality and Products CDE – (37 participants)

2nd Place Team Earning the right to represent the Pennsylvania FFA at the Eastern States Exposition (Big E), September 14-16, 2018 in Springfield, Mass.

  • Rachel Noll, grade 11 5th place Gold Medal
  • Oliver Prout, grade 11 7th place Gold Medal
  • Joshua Treichler, grade 11 8th place Silver Medal
  • Paige Rohrbach, grade 10 10th place Silver Medal

FFA members participate in county competition

On May 1, 35 of Oley Valley’s FFA members attended the spring CDE’s held at Lebanon County Fairgrounds.

  • In agronomy, Andrew Schaeffer placed 4th overall and first in the county, Sam Witman placed 2nd in the county, and Rachel Noll placed 3rd in the county.
  • In floriculture, Hayden Phillips placed 5th in the county and Kelsey Schlegel placed 6th in the county.
  • In food science, Sarah Tatham placed 3rd overall, 2nd in the county, Alysha Ulrich placed 4th overall and 3rd in the county, and Vinny Ferizzi placed 6th in the county.
  • In livestock judging, Jake Guldin placed 4th in the county.
  • In meat judging, Oliver Prout placed 1st overall.
  • In vet skills, Taylor Coccagna placed 3rd in the county, and Paige Rohrbach placed 4th.
  • In wildlife, Sara Kieser placed 1st overall, Tyler Swett placed 5th overall, 2nd in the county, and Sage James placed 3rd in the county.

Congratulations to all our participants for your achievements!

Oley Valley FFA Alumni Pig Roast

Oley Valley FFA Alumni Pig Roast

DATE: July 21, 2018

TIME: 5:30PM

LOCATION: Sheeler’s Grove — 2641 West Philadelphia Ave., Oley, Pa 19547

MENU: Pork, Corn on the Cob, Baked Potato

Entertainment Provided by DJ CHICKEN NUGGET

Line Dancing 7:00PM — 10:00PM

COST: $12 If Purchased Before 7/7/18, $15 If Purchased After 7/7/18

Purchase tickets at: Oley Valley Feed, Eclipse Equines, Prout’s Jollyview Farm, M&M Sandwich Shop, Christman’s Meat Market, Spayd’s Greenhouse and Floral Shop, Kratzer’s Produce, Any Alumni Member, or contact

Sonya Laley gains real-world experience at Dairy Challenge

Pictured from left rear to front are Dr. Bruce Richards (coach), Matt Edgin ’18, Emily Lewis ’18, Emily Hunter ’19, Bryan Supplee ’18, Aaron Stepnoski (coach), Caitlyn Degner ’19, Brooke Payne ’19, Sonya Laley ’18, Lynsey Abrahart ’18, Corinne Bricker ’18, Amanda Wengryn ’19, Sarah Fenwick ’18. Photo courtesy NAIDC.

Sonya Laley gains real-world experience at Dairy Challenge

DOYLESTOWN – Sonya Laley of Bernville participated in the 17th Annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge held April 12 through 14 in Visalia, Calif. Laley traveled to the competition as a representative of Delaware Valley University.

DelVal seniors served on Dairy Challenge Team and younger students participated in the Dairy Challenge Academy. One student served as a media representative.

The DelVal team included: Lynsey Abrahart ’18, Matt Edgin ’18, Sonya Laley ’18, and Bryan Supplee ’18. Additionally, Emily Lewis ’18 and Corinne Bricker ’18 participated on aggregate teams.

Academy participants from DelVal included Caitlyn Degner ’19, Emily Hunter ’19, Brooke Payne ’19, and Amanda Wengryn ’19. Sarah Fenwick ’18 represented the University on the media corps at the NAIDC by taking pictures of the event and promoting it through social media.

In total, 235 students from 38 colleges across the U.S. and Canada attended this educational event.

Garrett Jenkins of Bainbridge earns Reserve Showman for Lamb and Novice Showman for Dairy

Garrett Jenkins, of Bainbridge, Pa., Reserve Showman for Lamb and Novice Showman for Dairy.

Morrisville State College students test skills showing livestock during annual Spring Showmanship

Morrisville State College student Unique Wellington chose a cow he named “Heffy” for his first time presenting in the ring.

“She was the friendliest of the group,” he said of the heifer he showed during the college’s Spring Showmanship event. Approximately 60 students, some skilled and others with no experience, showed lambs, dairy cows and beef cattle during the annual event.

Austin Graham of Montrose earms Grand Showman for Lamb.

“I just wanted the experience of competing,” said Wellington, a 19-year-old student from Nanuet, located in Rockland County.

Wellington, who made the switch from city life to Morrisville to follow his dream of becoming a dairy breeder, had only seen a cow once prior to enrolling in Morrisville’s animal science – dairy program.

He hid his first-time jitters by focusing on the judges and making sure Heffy’s foot placement was proper. He took fourth place in the Novice Dairy event, just missing a chance to compete in the finals.

Natalie Strub, a veteran dairy and beef cattle showman, was working with sheep for the first time in Continue reading “Garrett Jenkins of Bainbridge earns Reserve Showman for Lamb and Novice Showman for Dairy”

Perdue announces USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018

Perdue announces USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018

(Mifflintown) U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018 during a town hall at Reinford Farms in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania.

“Since my first day as the Secretary of Agriculture, I’ve traveled to 30 states, listening to the people of American agriculture about what is working and what is not. The conversations we had and the people we came across helped us craft USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018,” said Secretary Perdue. “These principles will be used as a road map – they are our way of letting Congress know what we’ve heard from the hard-working men and women of American agriculture. While we understand it’s the legislature’s job to write the Farm Bill, USDA will be right there providing whatever counsel Congress may request or require.”

USDA’s 2018 Farm Bill and Legislative Principles: Continue reading “Perdue announces USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018”

Mobile Agriculture Lab Returns to OVES

Students in grades 1-5 had the opportunity to visit the Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab during the week of November 13th. Students participated in different hands-on science experiences.

One of the experiments was called The Colorful Bean. Students were introduced to the scientific method as they experiment to decide if petroleum or soybean-based crayons produce the brightest color with the least flakiness and best covering power.

Students end the session with a crayon making demonstration where each student receives a soy-based crayon.

A big thank you to the Oley Valley Community Education Foundation for funding this great program and opportunity for the students at OVES.