The Agriculture Risk (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs provide financial protections to farmers from substantial drops in crop prices or revenues and are vital economic safety nets for most American farms.
Enrollment for the 2021 crop year for ARC and PLC is now open. The enrollment period closes March 15, 2021.
How ARC & PLC Programs Work
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, farmers and landowners can choose between three commodity title alternatives: ARC-CO (payment based on county revenue), ARC-IC (payment based on individual farm revenue), and PLC (payment based on market year average). Program details for each are outlined below.
Agriculture Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO) and Individual Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC-IC)
The ARC-CO program provides income support tied to historical base acres, not current production, of covered commodities. ARC-CO payments are issued when the actual county crop revenue of a covered commodity is less than the ARC-CO guarantee for the covered commodity.
Individual Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC-IC) program payments are issued when the actual individual crop revenue for all covered commodities planted on the ARC-IC farm is less than the ARC-IC guarantee for those covered commodities. ARC-IC uses producer’s certified yields, rather than county level yields.
Price Loss Coverage (PLC)
PLC program payments are issued when the effective price of a covered commodity is less than the respective reference price for that commodity. The effective price equals the higher of the market year average price (MYA) or the national average loan rate for the covered commodity.
Program Eligibility, Election, & Enrollment
All farm producers with interest in the cropland must make a unanimous election in 2019 of either ARC-CO or PLC on a crop-by-crop basis. Farmers can also choose Individual Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC-IC) for all covered commodity base acres on a farm.
This election will apply to the farm for 2020 and 2021 crop years. Program election changes are permitted in crop years 2022 and 2023.
To be eligible for payments, producers must annually enroll their respective share interest of covered commodity base acres. For 2020 and subsequent years, enrollment will occur on a covered commodity-by-covered commodity base acre crop basis.
Contact your Farm Service Agency office at your local USDA Service Center for more information.
What commodities are covered?
Covered commodities include wheat, oats, barley, corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, sunflower seed, rapeseed, canola, safflower, flaxseed, mustard seed, crambe and sesame seed, seed cotton, dry peas, lentils, small chickpeas, large chickpeas, and peanuts.
What are base acres?
A farm’s base acreage and program yield are historical averages of crop production and are used to calculate certain government payments, including ARC and PLC.
Can PLC yields be updated?
Owners will have a one-time opportunity in 2020 (for the life of the 2018 Farm Bill) to update PLC yields of covered commodity base crops on their farm, regardless of program election.
How are reference prices calculated?
Under the 2018 Farm Bill amendments, effective reference prices will be calculated to allow upward fluctuation of reference prices in times when historic price averages are higher than the established reference price for the covered commodity.
FSA publishes reference prices for all covered commodities with their ARC/PLC Program Data.
What are the crop insurance considerations?
Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO)
Producers who elect and enroll in PLC also have the option of purchasing coverage through the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA). Producers on farms with covered commodities that elect ARC are ineligible for SCO on their planted acres.
Learn more about the Supplemental Coverage Option for Federal Crop Insurance.
Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO)
ECO is unaffected by participating in ARC for the same crop, on the same acres. Producers may elect ECO regardless of your farm program selection.
Learn more about the Enhanced Coverage Option.
Stacked Income Protection (STAX)
Producers of upland cotton who choose to enroll seed cotton base acres in ARC or PLC are ineligible for the STAX on their planted cotton acres. To be eligible for STAX coverage, producers must not enroll their seed cotton base acres into the ARC/PLC program. Because enrollment is now completed on a commodity-by-commodity basis, producers can choose to enroll all base acres, except for cotton, if they wish to purchase STAX coverage. Those producers who do enroll in ARC or PLC for seed cotton will have their STAX eligibility determined based on enrollment.
Learn more about the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) for Upland Cotton.
What is the ARC/PLC payment schedule?
If triggered, ARC-CO, ARC-IC, and PLC payments will issue:
- 2020 – after Oct. 1, 2021
- 2021 – after Oct. 1, 2022
- 2022 – after Oct. 1, 2023
- 2023 – after Oct. 1, 2024
USDA and Partner Web-Based ARC/PLC Decision Tools
- 2018 Farm Bill Decision Aid: This tool was created by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University, in conjunction with the Food and Agricultural Policy Institute at the University of Missouri.
- ARC/PLC Calculator: This tool was created by the National Coalition for Producer Education, led by the University of Illinois.
Fact Sheets, Payment Maps, and Program Data
- Fact Sheet – ARC/PLC Overview
- Fact Sheet – ARC/PLC 2014 Farm Bill vs. 2018 Farm Bill
- ARC/PLC Crop Insurance Consideration – USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA)
- ARC/PLC Payment Maps
- ARC/PLC Program Data
In the News
- October 14, 2020: Enrollment Begins for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs for 2021
- September 25, 2020: USDA Reminds Farmers of September 30 Deadline to Update Safety-Net Program Crop Yields
- September 8, 2020: USDA Reminds Farmers of September 30 Deadline to Update Safety-Net Program Crop Yields
- June 11, 2020: June 30 Last Day to Complete Enrollment for 2020 Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage Programs
- April 21, 2020: USDA Reports Record Enrollment in Key Farm Safety-Net Programs
- March 12, 2020: Monday, March 16 Is the Last Day to Schedule an Appointment with Your FSA Office For Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Enrollment
- January 15, 2020: FSA Encourages Producers to Enroll Soon in Agriculture Risk and Price Loss Coverage Programs
- October 15, 2019: USDA Opens 2020 Enrollment for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs
- September 3, 2019: USDA Opens 2019 Enrollment for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs
Find Your Local Service Center
We are committed to delivering USDA services to America’s farmers and ranchers while taking safety measures in response to the pandemic. Some USDA offices are beginning to reopen to limited visitors by appointment only. Service Center staff also continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Learn more at farmers.gov/coronavirus.
USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to ﬁnd your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.
Visit the Risk Management Agency website to ﬁnd a regional or compliance office or to ﬁnd an insurance agent near you.