Deadline pressures many but necessary to stay profitable

Dave Bergmeier

Imagine a world without deadlines. It may seem like a peaceful thought, yet deadlines are a necessary function of managing a successful operation.

In the publications industry deadlines occur on a daily and weekly basis whether in news or advertising sales. The “drop-dead deadline” continues to be a part of our production lingo.

High Plains farmers and ranchers have an important deadline ahead if they need to insure they have coverage on their crops for the next five years. “March Madness” arrives before the first day of spring and is one of the most important decisions for stabilizing and protecting your livelihood. March 16 is the date when producers need to declare their intentions on enrolling qualified acres into the Agriculture Risk Coverage and/or Price Loss Coverage programs.

The 2018 farm bill provides greater flexibility and after stating their intentions for the first two years producers can make changes on an annual basis. Recent presenters at Dodge City, Kansas, event sponsored by Ford County Research and Extension, Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service are quick to note that Congress did listen to concerns about a lack of flexibility in the 2014 bill, which was approved during times of better prosperity for farmers and ranchers. It is easy to be critical of Congress and yet the changes were the result of individual producers taking time to visit with members and their staff as well as presenting testimony at field hearings.

Producers are urged to do their homework and go to their local FSA office to get their acres enrolled as soon as they can. 

A few critics may say crop insurance is unnecessary but for many producers it has been an important planning tool and is welcome when uncertainty clouds the per-bushel price or Mother Nature has not been cooperative.

In late February 2015 at the Dodge City marketing outlet the price per bushel was for $4.96 for wheat, $3.90 for corn, $9.31 for soybeans and $4.31 for sorghum. On Feb. 18 at the same marketing outlet the price for those High Plains staple crops was  $4.43 for wheat, $3.73 for corn, $7.77 for soybeans and $3.18 for sorghum.

As the busy season nears there has not been much movement in prices and production expenses trend upward so it is essential for farmers and ranchers to use crop insurance tools in their financial plan.

Information is readily available through the multiple sources leading up to the important deadline. Extension service personnel and numerous websites are great resources to call upon to help provide clarity with essential calculations.

The March 16 deadline might be the most important one for many producers in 2020. Do yourself and the trained professionals at FSA a favor and do not wait until the last minute to start the enrollment process. 

There are consequences if the producer misses the date—he will forfeit any 2019 payments that are to be delivered this October. As many farm economists note this is not a year to forfeit a payment or put yourself in a difficult situation where additional deadlines will not be as kind.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].