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November 20, 2014

A.J. Watson
(334) 613-4219

Coffee County Farmers Federation board member and cotton farmer Troy Fillingim, left, asks National Cotton Council Senior Government Relations Representative Robbie Minnich about specifics of the Stacked Income Protection (STAX) Program.

The National Cotton Council (NCC) of America hosted a farm bill workshop for cotton farmers, insurance agents and lenders to explain cotton program benefits Nov. 19 in Dothan.

The Stacked Income Protection Program (STAX) is a new insurance program under the new farm bill. Cotton farmers aren’t eligible for Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agricultural Price Coverage (ARC) under the new farm bill.

 “You’re going to need to asses your risk profile and sit down and talk with your Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices and insurance agents about what works best on your operations,” NCC Senior Government Relations Representative Robbie Minnich told producers. “It’s not cookie cutter. For crop insurance you have until the end of February, and for your FSA decision you have until the end of March. You’ve got plenty of time now that you’re getting done with harvest, so you can sit down and focus on the decisions you’re going to make.”

Minnich said the STAX program will rely on county cotton production statistics rather than individual farm production.

“These meetings are beneficial to educate farmers because there are so many options,” Alabama Farmers Federation Cotton Division Director Carla Hornady said . “The room was full, and you can tell by the attendance people want to know all they can.”

Farmers must choose from 10 coverage bands.

STAX is available in more than 700 counties in the cotton belt. Payouts trigger at 90 percent of expected yield calculated as the five year average, with the highest and lowest years excluded. Counties that don’t have enough acres and farmers will be combined to another county, or groups of counties, to receive coverage.

Minnich said the council is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) to determine insurance pay out dates.

Farmers can also purchase Supplemental Coverage Option, but is not available on crops covered by STAX.

Coffee County Farmers Federation board member and cotton farmer Troy Fillingim said the meeting was helpful, but the information raised more questions for him to think about.

“It was very complicated, and it will take a lot of studying,” he said. “In my opinion, a person who has really low yields will benefit from this, but someone who has average or higher than average yields, it might hurt.”

Feb. 27, 2015 is the last date farmers can choose or re-allocate base acres and update payment yields.

For additional resources farmers can visit:

Texas A&M’s Ag and Food Policy Center decision tool.

University of Illinois farm bill toolbox.

USDA-RMA farm bill website.

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