WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2016 - The Agriculture Department will be distributing more than $7 billion in payments to farmers under the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs for the 2015 crop year.

“These payments will help provide reassurance to America’s farm families, who are standing strong against low commodity prices compounded by unfavorable growing conditions in many parts of the country,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a release

The initial ARC payments are expected to total $5.6 billion to about 1.2 million farms, compared to $4.4 billion in payments to 900,000 farms for the 2014 crop year, according to the Farm Service Agency. FSA posted a series of maps showing the range of payment rates by county. Additional payments are expected later as more price and eligibility data become available, the agency said.

The initial PLC payments for 2015 will total $1.2 billion to more than 350,000 farms. FSA provided $800,000 to 90,000 farms for 2014. 

Additional payments will be made later for rice and other commodities when their marketing year average prices are released.

Payments for long and medium grain rice, except for temperate Japonica rice, will be announced in November. Payments for some oilseeds as well as chickpeas will be announced in December, and for temperate Japonica rice in February.

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ARC provides payments when county revenue for a commodity falls below the average for previous years. PLC payments are triggered when the average annual price for a commodity falls below a target level. 

Farmers enrolled 96 percent of their soybean base acres, 91 percent of corn base acres and 66 percent of wheat base acres in the ARC-County program. Some 99 percent of long grain rice and peanut base acres and 94 percent of medium grain rice base acres were enrolled in PLC.