The new farm bill, which will govern farm commodity programs for the next five years (2014-2018) will offer several new farm program choices for producers to consider. Direct payments will be eliminated, as will potential counter-cyclical payments, the average crop revenue (ACRE) program, and the permanent disaster program for crops (SURE), which were all part of the last farm bill. These programs will be replaced by either a new revenue-based Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program, or a Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program.
Crop producers will be offered several one-time choices for their farm program participation, which will be in place through the 2018 crop year. Following are some of the choices that producers will need to consider at farm program sign-up time later this year:
Crop Base Acres
All farm program payments for both the ARC and the PLC programs will be calculated on crop base acres, rather than on year-to-year planted crop acres. Producers will be given a one-time opportunity to update crop base acres, based on average planted acres from 2009-2012, or they can choose to continue with the current crop base acres. Total crop base acres in the new farm program cannot exceed the total crop base acres that existed in 2013, under the last farm bill. The option to update crop base acres may be an opportunity for producers to increase corn and soybean base acres on farm units that previously had low base acres for those crops.
Producers that chose the new PLC program will have a choice of keeping their existing counter-cyclical payment yields on a farm unit from the previous farm program, or updating to 90% (.90) of the 5-year (2008-2012) average crop yields on planted crop acres on that farm unit. For the County ARC program, the most recent county 5-year Olympic average yield, which drops the highest and lowest annual yields for a crop, will be used. For the Individual ARC program, the program yield will be the farm unit Olympic average yield for each crop in the most recent five years.