2019 was a challenging year for farmers and producers befallen by increased rainfall, unsteady markets and tough decisions presented by the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Educators and Program Managers from The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences stepped in at critical junctures to offer education and develop decision tools to help the agricultural industry make sound decisions in the face of uncertainty and risk.
Beginning in January 2019, The Farm Management Program, housed in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, the Ohio Ag Managers, and the Ohio Farm Office set out to deliver County Economic Outlook Meetings to 1,500 stakeholders across Ohio’s 88 counties. When the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (The 2018 Farm Bill) was enacted into law, the team collaborated to develop comprehensive Farm Bill Educational Outreach.
The US Department of Agriculture reports that farmers were prevented from planting more than 19.4 million acres of the 302,626,000 acres of principal crops in 2019. This is the highest number since reporting began in 2007. Most of these acres were spanned across
12 states in the Midwest and Great Plains that experienced the wettest year on record (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). This was 17.49 million acres more than reported the previous year.
In Ohio, there were 1,485,919 prevented planting acres. Of that, more than 880,992 acres were corn and over 595,981 acres were soybeans.
The team quickly got up to speed on Market Facilitation Payments (MFP) as they had not been utilized in Ohio for a long time. They developed decision tools that farmers and producers could access online and delivered educational outreach county by county and farm by farm. They conducted hundreds of individual consultations to illustrate differences between the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or two versions of the Agricultural Revenue Coverage (ARC) programs. Because the 2018 Farm Bill was delayed, everyone had five months instead of the usual one year to make decisions for the crop that was still in the field.
The 2020 season has already presented its own set of unique challenges due to the unresolved trade war, market volatility and supply chain upsets due to CO-VID 19. Together, the team has stepped up to deliver weekly, live office hours to address key issues in the rapidly changing environment and develop a content hub where a wide range of resources will be housed to streamline access. In addition to taskforces on agricultural stress and the agricultural crisis, the college added a third to address food supply issues due to the global pandemic.