It is time to make a decision about a key farm safety net program, farmers can get some guidance using an online tool created by a farm policy expert in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Carl Zulauf, an agricultural economist with the college, has created several tools, available at go.osu.edu/crop_decisions to help farmers make their enrollment decisions. The tools include policy briefs, links to program calculators, and video presentations discussing the crop program decision that farmers will need to make.

April 7 is the last day to update yield history or allocate base acres. It is also the last day to enroll in one of the new crop safety net programs: the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) or the Price Loss Coverage program (PLC), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The deadline for the programs was extended an additional week to give producers more time to make their decisions, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

“Nearly 98 percent of owners have already updated their yield and base acres, and 90 percent of producers have enrolled in ARC or PLC,” he said. “These numbers are strong, and continue to rise. This additional week will give producers a little more time to have those final conversations, review their data, visit their local Farm Service Agency offices, and make their decisions."

Zulauf’s website focuses on the questions producers must consider when making their decisions and offers users a broad perspective on the decisions from Zulauf’s decades of farm policy research. The tools aim to work in collaboration with existing farm bill decision calculators, helping to place them in perspective, he said.

If a farm’s yield history is not updated or base acres are not allocated by the deadline, then the farm’s yield and base acre allocation currently on file with the USDA’s Farm Service Agency will remain valid through the 2018 crop year, he said.

If a program enrollment decision is not made by the deadline, then for the 2014 crop year no payment will be made and the farm’s crop program enrollment will default to the PLC program for the 2015 through 2018 crop years, Zulauf said.