Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Tuesday 08/12/14

USDA Readies STAX for 2015

USDA announced Tuesday that the Stacked Income Protection Plan, or STAX, will be available for upland cotton farmers from crop insurers for the 2015 crop year.

Last week, USDA also announced that sign up for the cotton transition Direct Payments would begin this week. The program will pay farmers 9 cents a pound on 60% of base acres.

With STAX rolling out for 2015, the transitional Direct Payments would end after this year in counties where STAX is offered. A provision in the farm bill allows 36.5% transitional payments in 2015 for cotton producers in counties where STAX is not offered.

STAX is a countywide revenue policy kicks in when revenue drops below 90% of expected revenue for the county. It will effectively cover losses ranging from 10% to 30% for countywide revenue average. As the name sounds, STAX is meant to be stacked on top of individual insurance policies.

As USDA stated," The amount of actual coverage and indemnity received by a producer will depend on the producer’s choice of a trigger yield, coverage range and other elections made under the STAX and companion policy. Producers should consult with their crop insurance agents to find the coverage that best suits their needs. Producers may not cover the same acres in both STAX and the new Supplemental Coverage Option."

USDA added that STAX will be available for upland cotton in all counties were federal crop insurance for upland cotton is offered. STAX will also have specific policies for irrigated and non-irrigated acres.

Under STAX, producers will pay 20% of the premium costs.

EPA Transparency: Filter it Thru the Press Office

On his first day in office, way back in the days before the invention of the iPad, President Barack Obama signed a memorandum on Transparency and Open government.

"My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government."

Later that same year, the White House issued what it called an "unprecedented" Open Government Directive" "requiring federal agencies to take immediate, specific steps to achieve key milestones in transparency, participation, and collaboration."

Somehow, in the five-to six years since, the memorandum and directive haven't made it over to the offices of the Environmental Protection Agency. On Tuesday, organizations representing scientists and journalists wrote EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy over a new policy requiring members of scientific advisory committees to "refrain from responding in an individual capacity" to questions from the public and the press. According to the groups challenging EPA on the policy, it requires all requests to advisory scientists to be routed through EPA officials.
"This prevents many of our nation's top independent environmental science experts from sharing their expertise, unfiltered, with the public."

The journalists and scientists note that other agencies take a different approach to allow their science advisors to speak openly with the media and public.

Follow me on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

Posted at 4:23PM CDT 08/12/14 by Chris Clayton
Comments (1)
Great article. 2014 CTAP signup going on now at FSA.
Posted by G. Sean O'neill at 12:33AM CDT 09/02/14
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