In years when previous farm programs were a big deal, a landowner didn't give a second thought to switching tenants at the end of the year if that was what they thought they needed to do. The same was true if you were the tenant. You could give up a farm and rent another farm, and know that your FSA farm bill eligibility and potential payments wouldn't be affected.
But what happens under this new farm bill? After all, you are now making decisions that will be locked in place for five years, according to FSA rules. Can you still make changes?
Specifically, if you pick up a farm, say in 2016, and you have made other elections and are in other programs on farms you already farm than the landowner originally made for the new farm you want to rent, is it an issue?
The short answer is no, says Carl Schweikhardt, Indiana FSA chief of production adjustment. He and others in FSA are answering these and many related questions, primarily because the upfront five-year choices on updating yields and reallocating bases, plus the one-time, five-year choice of programs, seems to imply you're locked in.
You are locked in on a specific farm, but it doesn't mean you can't do business as usual and still pick up a new farm to rent if the opportunity arises, Schweikhardt says.
Say you are in ARC-County on your current farms. You want to rent a farm that is in the PLC program. Will it matter or change thee elections by farm if you pick up this farm?
"No," Schweikhardt says. Because ARC-County and PLC elections are on a farm-by-farm and crop-by-crop basis, "there shouldn't be an impact at all," he says.
The only exception is if it involves farms where ALC-individual was elected during the current process, he says. Then there could be an impact on the producer who picks up the new farm. However, FSA officials aren't anticipating that many landowners and/or tenants will select ARC-Individual anyway.