Commodity Program Choices Under the 2014 Farm Bill: What Did Delaware and Maryland Producers Choose

Updated: Jul 8, 2020


Aerial image of an empty field (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).
Aerial image of an empty field (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).

Recently USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) released the enrollment data for the commodity programs under the 2014 Farm Bill. FarmdocDaily recently delved into the enrollment data on a national level (Schnitkey et al., 2015). Nationally, the Agricultural Risk Coverage – County Option (ARC-CO) was the overwhelming pick by farmers for the 2014 Farm Bill (Schnitkey, 2015) . ARC-CO was elected on 76 percent of the program acres, followed by the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program on 23 percent of the program acres, and the Agricultural Risk Coverage – Individual Option (ARC-IC) on less than 1 percent of the program acres (Schnitkey, 2015). This got me curious as to how Maryland and Delaware producers elected to cover their base acres.


Program Choices in the Two States

Maryland producers overwhelmingly elected ARC-CO for corn (94.4 percent), soybeans (96.1 percent), grain sorghum (87 percent), and sunflowers (83.3 percent) base acres (Figure 1). PLC was selected by a majority of Maryland producers with base acres in barley (79.8 percent) and wheat (51.3 percent). Maryland producers with oat base acres almost evenly split oat base acres between ARC-CO (54.2 percent) and PLC (45.8 percent). Around .1 percent of total base acres in Maryland elected the ARC-IC.


Figure 1: Percent of Base Acres Enrolled in ARC and PLC in Maryland for 2014 Farm Bill (Source: USDA-FSA, 2015).
Figure 1: Percent of Base Acres Enrolled in ARC and PLC in Maryland for 2014 Farm Bill (Source: USDA-FSA, 2015).

Delaware producers overwhelmingly elected the ARC-CO program for soybean (97.3 percent), corn (96.4 percent), grain sorghum (86.6 percent), sunflowers (71.2 percent), and oats (66.5 percent) of base acres (Figure 2). PLC was the overwhelming pick for Delaware producers with base acres in barley (63.1 percent) and wheat (63 percent) (Figure 2). Again ARC-IC barely registered in Delaware as it did in Maryland and nationally.

Similar to what was seen nationally by farmdoc Daily, Maryland and Delaware producers did not split protection between ARC-CO and PLC. Instead of splitting between revenue protection and a target price program, the majority of Maryland and Delaware producers elected to go with revenue protection. We can probably also guess that a majority of producers in the two states did not put much value in the Supplemental Cover Option (SCO) since SCO eligibility was based on PLC participation. Maryland oat producers potentially did attempt to split protection between the two programs, unlike the majority of other producers in the region.


Figure 2: Percent of Base Acres Enrolled in ARC and PLC in Delaware for 2014 Farm Bill (Source: USDA-FSA, 2015).
Figure 2: Percent of Base Acres Enrolled in ARC and PLC in Delaware for 2014 Farm Bill (Source: USDA-FSA, 2015).

Base Acre Reallocation

The FSA data also included changes in base acres from 2013 (the last year for the 2008 farm bill programs) and 2014 (the first year for the 2014 farm bill programs). The 2014 farm bill included a one-time opportunity to keep existing base acres or reallocate base acres based on current farming practices. The 2014 farm bill did not include an opportunity to increase total base acres, just reallocate.

Figure 3 highlights the changes Maryland producers made in base acres among commodities. Maryland producers choose to reallocate base acres to corn (an increase of 5.27 percent), soybeans (increase of 1.99 percent), and sunflowers (increase of 20.24 percent). Maryland producers reallocated these base acres from wheat (decrease of 5.64 percent), barley (decrease of 10.74 percent), grain sorghum (decrease of 25.67 percent), and oats (decrease of 35.2 percent).


Figure 3: Percent Change in Base Acres by Crop in Maryland from 2013 to 2014 (Source: USDA-FSA, 2015).
Figure 3: Percent Change in Base Acres by Crop in Maryland from 2013 to 2014 (Source: USDA-FSA, 2015).