The deadline for the filing of producers’ acreage and yield options under the 2002 Farm Bill – April 1 – is fast approaching, reminds Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois (U of I) extension farm management specialist.

Producers should have received letters from USDA indicating their base acreage under each option, he adds.

"To prove their yields, producers each need to fill out a form that covers yields from 1998 to 2001," says Schnitkey. "Producers need to also have ideas about what programs and payment options they want to pursue."

Farm Service Agency preparation of the final forms can take up to one-half hour per farm. "That’s if you know what option you wish to select," says Schnitkey.

Producers can find help in selecting those options from a spreadsheet program available on U of I Extension’s Farm Decision Outreach Central-farmdoc. The spreadsheet can be found at: www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu/manage/FarmBill/decisiontool.html.

Schnitkey encouraged producers to start the process early in order to avoid a last-minute rush at FSA offices.