To Review And Update Your Crop Insurance Coverage 

On February 29, 2020

To Review And Update Your Crop Insurance Coverage 

The Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs were introduced with the 2014 Farm Bill, providing economic support for producers of a variety of crops. Extension Educator Andrew Sandeen explains with the 2018 Farm Bill and a new round of signups, there are a few important things to consider. 

At no cost to producers, different types of coverage (ARC-CO or PLC) can be selected for each farm and each commodity. For example, a producer can cover corn and wheat acres with PLC and soybean acres with ARC-CO. A third option, ARC-IC, covers all of a farm’s commodities together, but it only rarely shows as much payment potential as the other options because of 20% less acre coverage.

ARC-CO provides payments when the county revenue calculation in a particular year drops below a guaranteed level. It uses a county-specific benchmark yield multiplied by a national benchmark price to calculate a guaranteed revenue. The benchmarks are Olympic averages from a previous five-year period. 

PLC provides payments when the average commodity price over the span of the crop year is below an established reference price. County yield numbers are not a factor. Rather, a PLC yield value specific to each individual farm is multiplied by the price difference to calculate payments.

Rather than stick with the same decisions that were made five years ago when the program details and farm economy were different, there are two important reasons a producer might want to rethink the choices.

For ARC-CO, the benchmark values have changed significantly, especially several of the benchmark prices for common crops. Benchmark prices represent average prices from several preceding years, which were higher in the first half of the decade than the second half. In 2014, many producers chose ARC-CO to cover some of the common crops, and it performed well in comparison to PLC. But with the changed benchmarks, expectations are now different. In general, when commodity prices are high, ARC-CO tends to be more favorable. When commodity prices are low, PLC offers more. The benchmark price for corn in 2014 was $5.29//bu. and in 2019 it was $3.70/bu.

Previously, signing up for coverage was a five-year commitment. That has changed. The initial commitment at enrollment now will be for two years, covering the 2019 and 2020 crop years. After that, it will be an annual decision, with opportunity to change coverage each year.

With a lot of variables to consider when making coverage decisions, there are some helpful tools available. A simple online calculator developed by the University of Illinoiscan be found here: – 

A downloadable set of calculators and comparison tools developed by the University of Illinois – 

A downloadable spreadsheet that shows the tradeoff between ARC-CO and PLC, developed at Kansas State University – 

Another online calculator, developed by Texas A&M –

The deadline for 2019 enrollment is March 16. For the 2020 crop year, the enrollment deadline isn’t until June 30, but it can be completed at the same time as 2019 enrollment, if desired. Lastly, if documentable yields from the past few years are high enough, there is opportunity to increase a farm’s official PLC yield, which will impact potential payment amounts for the next several years.

For more information, visit your local Farm Service Agency office or their website: 

To Add A Backup Camera To Your Tractor 

Safe and successful use of equipment is vital to all agricultural operations. Injury, pain or a disability can impact the ability to operate equipment effectively, thus decreasing overall farm productivity and safety. More specifically, back and neck pain, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and many other health conditions can affect one’s ability to properly monitor implements pulled behind the tractor and to check surroundings. 

It is also important to consider secondary injury that could occur during equipment operation. “Repetitive movements, as well as prolonged static positions of the head and neck may lead to symptoms of muscle strain, joint deformity, and nerve compression. This results in pain, muscle weakness, and interferes with the farmer’s comfort while operating farm equipment,” said Dwight Heller, AgrAbility PA’s occupational therapist. 

Adding assistive technology to equipment can help maintain or improve one’s ability to monitor their surroundings. One type of assistive technology to consider is a cab camera, sometimes called a back-up camera. For many operators, this device can help them return to safe and independent equipment operation. 

Cab cameras are like backup cameras that come in many newer vehicles and come in many configurations with a range of functions. Basic cab cameras include a monitor that mounts in the cab and a camera that mounts on the outside of the equipment at the needed location and angle. Some options include hardwired or wireless cameras, multiple cameras, magnetic cameras and more. 

Adding a cab camera allows an operator to view what is around the equipment without having to turn one’s head or body, thus improving ergonomics and eliminating strain on neck, shoulders and back. Aso this increases productivity by reducing the number of times climbing in and out of equipment; and Increases safety by enabling an operator to better see people and objects around equipment.

“A cab camera offers a great opportunity to relieve stress on one’s neck muscles, joints, and nerves. Cab cameras allow farmers to see the farm landscapes around them and give them greater ease while monitoring operating equipment,” said Heller.

Check with a local equipment dealer or contact AgrAbility PA for assistance locating cab cameras for equipment (Phone: 814-867-5288 E-mail:

Need financial assistance for purchasing a cab camera system? Consider a Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) mini-loan. These loans (between $100 and $2,000) have a 0% interest rate and no fees. 

Also, if considering a device or modification that costs more than $2,000, PATF can offer to extend a low-interest loan with an interest rate of 3.75%. Contact PATF at phone: 484-674-0506 or Email:

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