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Get Farm Service Agency answers to lingering farm bill questions

Get Farm Service Agency answers to lingering farm bill questions
2014 Farm Bill's election vs. sign-up terms are causing confusion at county Farm Service Agency offices.

By Carl Schweikhardt

Editor's note: Schweikhardt is Indiana state FSA program specialist answering questions from producers about the Farm Bill. If some of the questions seem familiar, it's because the same issues keep arising. Here's his latest attempt to sweep away confusion.

Question: A producer has picked up a new farm that has never had bases or yields established on the farm. Can the producer establish bases and/or yields on the farm using the 2014 Farm Bill base and yield update provisions?

Related: Farm bill programs and federal crop insurance aren't the same

Take farm bill step by step: This month it's still about reallocating bases and determining if you want to adjust yields. In March the focus will be on election of the program you want for five years. Sign-up, also called enrollment, will happen sometime in the spring.

No. Under provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill only farms with established bases and yields as of September 30, 2013, are eligible to reallocate base acreage and update yields. Provisions do not allow new bases or yields to be established on farms that did not have base acres established on the farm as of Sept. 30, 2013. The ability to reallocate bases and adjust yields on farms where you can do so ends on Feb. 27.

Question: I am confused about the difference between election and sign-up. Sometimes my FSA office staff calls sign-up "enrollment." Can you help clarify this for me?

Election refers to choosing which of the three program options the farm will be in. The 2015 producer(s) make the election. If it's a cash rent farm, the 2015 tenant signs the election form. If it is share rent, both 2015 tenant and landowner must sign.

Sign up will happen after the election process ends. There will be a 2014 and 2015 sign up at the same time. The 2014 producer(s) sign up for 2014. The 2015 producer(s) sign up for 2015.

Related: Who gets payments under new 2014 Farm Bill programs?

Maybe you have questions of your own. Some viewers have noted they get different answers from different offices. Since it's a federal program, the answers should be the same no matter where you ask the question.

To receive an answer to your farm bill questions, email [email protected] with your question.

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