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Government Programs

New Farm Bill Offers Choices

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 Ag Risk Coverage (ARC) program, or a Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. [ read more ... ]

 

Passage of the New Farm Bill

The long-awaited new Farm Bill finally passed the U.S. House on Wednesday, January 29, by a vote of 251-166. The legislation is likely to pass the U.S. Senate in the coming days, and will be signed into law by President Obama shortly after that. The new Farm Bill will reduce overall Federal spending, will reduce total CRP acreage, and will make some significant changes to farm commodity programs. The new Farm Bill will govern Federal farm programs for the next five years (2014-2018), and commodity programs will be implemented for the 2014 crop year. [ read more ... ]

 

Farm Bill Conference Committee

 

The forty-one members of the U.S. House and Senate Conference Committee, designated to determine a new Farm Bill, are in the process of trying to reach a compromise on the versions of the new Farm Bill that were passed earlier this year by both the Senate and House. There are a lot of major differences in the two versions of the Farm Bill that need to be worked out by the Conference Committee, as well as some other issues that will likely impact the debate. The current Farm Bill extension expired on September 30, 2013, with many programs and provisions set to be discontinued after December 31, 2013, so timing is very critical for this Conference Committee. [ read more ... ]

 

Government Shutdown Impacts Farmers

As of October 1st, the Federal government officially went into a “shutdown” mode, meaning that all government services deemed as “non-essential” were temporarily discontinued. Federal offices were closed and Federal employees were placed on indefinite “furlough”. There have been 17 Federal government shutdowns since 1976, with the longest lasting 21 days in 1995-96. As of this writing, there is still no resolution forthcoming on the Federal government shutdown. [ read more ]

 

New Farm Bill defeated in the U.S. House

After nearly two years of discussions and debate, a new Farm Bill appeared a bit closer to being enacted into law; however, on June 20th, the U.S. House of Representatives voted down the new Farm Bill by a vote of 195-234. Several weeks ago, the New Farm Bill was passed by the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, with strong bi-partisan support. Ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Ag Committee, MN Seventh District Congressman Collin Peterson, maintained his support for the new Farm Bill, as did fellow-Ag Committee member, MN First District Congressman (D) Tim Walz; however, MN Eighth District Congressman Rick Nolan (D), also on the Ag Committee, opposed the new Farm Bill. Minnesota’s Congressional delegation was split 4-4 on the vote for a new Farm Bill. [ read more ... ]

 

General CRP Sign-Up

A General Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) sign-up is currently occurring at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices throughout the United States. The General CRP sign-up period will run from May 20 through June 14. General CRP sign-ups were also held in 2012 when 3.6 million acres were accepted into CRP, in 2011 with 3.75 million acres were accepted into CRP, and in 2010 when about 4.2 million acres were accepted into CRP. CRP was originally established in the 1985 Farm Bill, and today has over 700,000 CRP contracts on over 390,000 farms, with just under 27.0 million acres under some-type of CRP contracts. [ read more ... ]

 

2013 ACRE Program Decision

The “Average Crop Revenue Election” (ACRE) Program was implemented by USDA for the 2009 crop year, as part of the 2008 Farm Bill), and continued for the 2010 to 2012 crop years. For 2013, eligible farm operators will again have the option to enroll in the ACRE Program, as an alternative to the current “Counter-Cyclical Payment” (CCP) Program. The ACRE Program will offer the potential of “revenue-based” payments, based on yield and price, as compared to current “price-only” CCP calculations. The official ACRE program information is available at County Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices, and on the USDA FSA web site at :  http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA

[ read more ... ]

2013 CRP Program Update

In 2013, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is celebrating its 27th anniversary, and over two and a half decades of conservation success. CRP was originally established in the 1985 Farm Bill, and today has over 390,000 landowners participating, most of which are farmers and ranchers, and currently has just over 27.0 million acres under some-type of CRP contracts. Another General CRP will be held in 2013, with the sign-up period from May 20 through June 14, 2013, at local FSA Offices. [ read more ... ]

 

2013 Farm Program Sign-UP

In early January, Congress voted to extend the 2008 Farm Bill, which expired on September 30, 2012, for an additional year, with a new expiration date of September 30, 2013. This means that most existing programs in the 2008 Farm Bill will continue for the 2013 growing season. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently announced that sign-up for the 2013 farm program will begin on February 19, 2013, at local FSA Offices, and run through August 2, 2013. [ read more ... ]

 

Farm Bill Extension For 2013

As part of the Congressional agreement that was passed to avoid to so-called “fiscal cliff”, the 2008 Farm Bill was extended through the 2013 crop year, and will now expire on September 30, 2013. The extension of the current Farm Bill was viewed as a big disappointment to several members of Congress from both parties, as well as by many agricultural organizations and other groups that were hoping for reform in ag policy with a new Farm Bill. In late April, 2012, the U.S. Senate passed a version of the new Farm Bill, which was followed by the U.S. House Agriculture Committee passing a new Farm Bill out of Committee during the Summer of 2012. However, the U.S. House failed to take up the new Farm Bill on the House floor prior to the end of the 2012 Congressional session, resulting in the one-year extension of the current Farm Bill. [ read more ... ]

 

New Farm Bill Update

The current Farm Bill expired on September 30, 2012, and some programs will be discontinued without a new Farm Bill, or an extension of the current Farm Bill. In late April, 2012, the U.S. Senate passed their version of the next Farm Bill, which was followed by the U.S. House Agriculture Committee passing a Farm Bill out of Committee during the Summer months. However, the U.S. House failed to take up the Farm Bill on the House floor prior to the Congressional recess before the 2012 Election. [ read more ... ]

 

"Fiscal Cliff" Will Affect Farm Operators

The so-called “fiscal cliff” is a name that has been attached to the combination off spending cuts and tax increases at the Federal level that are scheduled to take effect at the end of 2012, if Congress fails to reach an agreement to address the Federal budget deficit. Both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House are trying to find a Federal Budget compromise that can be passed by both Houses of Congress, and ultimately signed into law by President Obama. Congress has set up legislation that will allow the automatic tax increases and federal spending reductions to occur, if no budget agreement is reached. [ read more ... ]

 

2012 Farm Program Sign-up

Eligible farm operators and land owners have until June 1, 2012, to enroll in the 2012 DCP farm program at County Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices, including the ACRE program for 2012. As of early May, only about half of the producers were enrolled in the 2012 DCP farm program in many counties. Producers must enroll in the 2012 DCP farm program in order to receive direct payments for 2012 on eligible crop base acres, as well as other program benefits. [ read more ... ]

 

2012 ACRE Program

Producers that previously enrolled in the ACRE for the 2009, 2010 or 2011 crop year will be enrolled in ACRE for 2012, provided that they sign-up for the 2012 Farm Program at County FSA offices, and meet all other program criteria. Other producers can enroll in ACRE for 2012 when they sign-up for the 2012 Farm Program, or at anytime until June 1, 2012. ACRE enrollment does require a signature from landlords on cash rental farm units, and results in a 20 percent reduction in direct payments for 2012. Producers are encouraged to analyze situations and scenarios that are more favorable for ACRE enrollment for 2012, as compared to continuing with the traditional DCP farm program. [ read more ... ]

 

Future Of The CRP Program

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is likely to be a key focal point during the development of the next Farm Bill in the coming months. In an era when the Congress and the Administration are looking to reduce the Federal budget deficit, there will be pressure to reduce the current annual expenditure of just under $2.0 billion on the CRP program, including about $1.7 billion in annual rental payments. Most experts expect the size of the CRP program to be reduced from the current maximum level of 32 million acres to around a maximum of 25 million acres in the next Farm Bill. [ read more ...

 

CRP Sign-Up

USDA has announced a General Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) sign-up from March 12 through April 6, 2012, at County Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices throughout the Country. There are approximately 6.5 million acres of CRP land with expiring contracts on September 30, 2012. General CRP sign-ups were also held in 2011, when 3.75 million acres were accepted into CRP, and in 2010, when about 4.2 million acres were accepted into CRP. In 2011, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) celebrated its 25th anniversary, and over two and a half decades of conservation success. CRP was originally established in the 1985 Farm Bill. Today, there are over 400,000 landowners participating in CRP, most of which are farmers and ranchers, and there are currently just under 29.7 million acres under some-type of CRP contracts. [read more...]

New Farm Bill Stalled

In mid-November it appeared that we may be heading for a quick resolution toward adopting a new Farm Bill. U.S. Senate Ag Committee Chair, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), and U.S. House Ag Committee Chair, Representative Frank Lucas (R-Oklahoma), drafted potential new Farm Bill language to be included in a proposed Congressional Super  Committee agreement to reduce the Federal Budget deficit by $1.2 trillion. The Super Committee did not reach agreement, so there was never an opportunity to have the new Farm Bill proposal included in any final agreement. [ read more ... ]

DCP And Acre Program Sign-Up For 2012

USDA announced in earlier this Fall that sign-up for the 2012 DCP and ACRE programs at County Farm Service Agency (FSA) Offices will not start until January 23, 2012, and will continue through June 1, 2012. There is no scheduled advance direct payment for 2012, so the entire 2012 direct payment will be paid to producers after October 1, 2012. Producers that enrolled in the ACRE program in 2009, 2010 or 2011, or that opt for the ACRE program for 2012, will have their total direct payments reduced by 20 percent for 2012. Producers that have changes in owned and rented land for 2012 will need to have those adjustments made at the County FSA office prior to enrolling in the 2012 DCP program. Any changes in government farm programs resulting from a potential new Farm Bill most likely would not be implemented until the 2013 crop year. [ read more ... ]

Farm Bill Cuts Likely

Balancing the Federal budget and making budget reductions has been receiving major attention in recent months. Major developments have included the debt ceiling /deficit reduction bill passed by Congress this past Summer, and the current 12-member Congressional super committee that was named to develop an adjustment plan for the federal budget deficit. If the Super Committee can not reach an agreement, the Administration will be authorized to make across-the board cuts in nearly all Federal programs. [ read more ... ]