Late last week USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue provided some target dates for implementing the new Farm Bill. Remember the 2018 Farm Bill was passed just as the current Farm Bill was expiring. It is one thing for the Farm Bill to pass the House, Senate and be signed into law by the President. Then staff at the USDA must write the rules to implement the new Farm Bill. This process was slowed by the partial Government shutdown.

Secretary Perdue said signup for the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs is expected to begin on September 1, 2019. This is the first time farmers will be able to switch between programs since sign up of the 2014 Farm Bill. Then starting in 2021 farmers will be able to switch between programs every year when they sign up for the Farm Bill.

Secretary Perdue said the Farm Service Agency expects to begin signup for the Dairy Margin Coverage program which is the revamped version of the old Margin Protection program on June 17, 2019. The payments will begin July 8, 2019. A general signup for the Conservation Reserve Program will not begin until December of 2019. There are about 22.5 million acres in CRP and the new Farm Bill caps the total acres at 27 million acres.

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