Some Interesting Corn ARC-CO Data

Last week, USDA released their spreadsheet with all 2016 ARC-CO data to date (some of the smaller crops will take longer to calculate).  This is an extremely large database (over 16,700 rows of crop data) but it is fairly easy to do analysis on payments for 2014-2016 crop years.  Today, I will recap some of the corn data:

There are 2,790 total counties that have corn base in the system.  The number of counties receiving some type of payment is as follows:

  • 2014 – 1,801
  • 2015 – 2,186
  • 2016 – 2,212

I would have thought that 2016 would have a lower number of counties than 2015 due to the larger crop.  However, due to the lower corn MYA price, this was enough of a difference to create the extra counties receiving payments.

The average ARC payment for each crop year was as follows:

  • 2014 – $60.75
  • 2015 – $63.13
  • 2016 – $58.35

This trend makes sense since the Olympic average price for 2016 fell from the 2015 price.  This would lead to slightly lower benchmark revenue for most counties which would cap their payment at a lower amount than either 2014 or 2015.

The top county (as usual) in payments received was Benton County, Washington state (followed by my home county of Walla Walla).  For 2014 and 2015, Benton County corn growers received $135.42 each year.  This dropped slightly to $126.94 in the 2016 crop year.  These counties only have irrigated corn and typical yields for each of these counties range between 250 and 300 bushels each year.

The highest calculated formula payment rate was Dawson County, Montana at $454.47/  Their actual allowed payment was $74.72.

It would be my expectation that corn ARC payments for the 2017 crop will be much lower than 2016 payments.  I will do some analysis on this at a later date and provide these projections.  Right now, I need to get a lot of extended tax returns done.

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Paul Neiffer is a certified public accountant and business advisor specializing in income taxation, accounting services, and succession planning for farmers and agribusiness processors. Paul is a principal with CliftonLarsonAllen in Yakima, Washington, as well as a regular speaker at national conferences and contributor at Raised on a farm in central Washington, he has been immersed in the ag industry his entire life, including the last 30 years professionally. In fact, Paul drives a combine each summer for his cousins and that is what he considers a vacation.

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