Details for UDSA’s Farm Bill Crops Program

Details start to emerge for the USDA’s Farm Bill relative to crop production.

Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack announced the following decision making timeline for each Farm Service Agency (FSA) farm as part of the 2014 Food & Farm Act:

  • September 29th to February 28th is time for paperwork dealing with program yield updating and program acre reallocation to be completed for each FSA farm. Owners have a one-time opportunity to reallocate the farm’s base acres or update yields.
  • November 17th to March 31st is the time for paperwork dealing with program choice for each FSA farm. Producers make an election which will remain in effect for the 2014-2018 crop years, of the following:
    • PLC or ARC County on a covered commodity-by-commodity basis; or
    • ARC Individual for all covered commodities on the farm.
  • Mid April to Summer, 2015 is the time for ARC/PLC Enrollment. This is when producers will sign contracts to participate in ARC/PLC for 2014 and 2015 crop years.

Now that the periods for making 2014 Farm Bill Decisions have been announced by the Secretary of Agriculture, land owners and producers may want to review and understand programs and their long term implications more thoroughly

The most pressing decisions at this time is the yield update and base acre reallocation decisions. Farmland owners and renters received FSA letters during August, 2014. These letters contain the following information for each FSA farm serial number:

  • Current base acres
  • Program yields
    • 2008 through 2012 yields will be used to update any program crop yields
  • Acres planted to program crops from 2008 through 2013
    • 2009-2012 program crop planted acres will be used for any base acre reallocation

The information in the August FSA letters will be useful as you start to make decisions on yield updating, base acreage reallocation, and later when choosing commodity programs.

Yield Updating

A one-time, irrevocable option exists to keep the current program yield for each program crop, or update the yield to 90% of average yields from 2008 to 2012. If any yield between 2008 and 2012 are below a plug yield or if evidence does not exist to support a yield for the FSA farm, the plug yield will be used in calculating the updated yield.

Base Acre Reallocation

A one-time, irrevocable decision exists to retain the current allocation of base acres by program crop or update each crop's acres based on average program crop plantings from 2009 through 2012. This decision will not change the total base acres on the farm but could change the acres allocated to each crop.

Check out my web site for additional educational resources and on-line decision tools.

David Reinbott
Agriculture Business Specialist
University of Missouri Extension