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Iowans Miss Out On New Farm Subsidies

Iowans Miss Out On New Farm Subsidies

USDA paid $430 million to farmers nationwide for the first year of the new Average Crop Revenue Election or ACRE program, but little of that money came to Iowa. Most of the money went to wheat growers.

FAQ: Prices for the 2009 crop marketing year, September 2009 through August 2010, were high enough to cancel any ACRE payments for 2009 corn and soybeans in Iowa. Illinois farmers who are in the program received ACRE payments for corn. Where did the ACRE payments for the 2009 crop go, since they didn't come to Iowa?

Answer: Provided by Kevin McClure, program specialist at USDA's Farm Service Agency state office in Des Moines.

Most of the Average Crop Revenue Election or ACRE program money for the 2009 crop went to wheat growers, not the corn growers who pushed for this USDA program to be enacted by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill.

Keep in mind that the ACRE program payments are tied to fluctuations in farm revenue, a combination of crop yields and prices, rather than changes in crop prices alone. USDA announced in October 2010 which states would get ACRE payments for crops such as corn, soybeans and grain sorghum for the 2009 crop marketing year. The 2009 crop marketing year ended August 31, 2010.

The total ACRE payments nationally for all crops for 2009 are estimated to be about $430 million with about 70% of that going to wheat growers and 23% to corn growers. Illinois, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Washington are estimated to get about 75% of the money for 2009 crop. Farmers in Iowa didn't qualify unless they grew wheat or oats, relatively minor crops in Iowa for which prices fell sharply in 2009. Illinois corn growers qualified for the money because of yield losses they suffered in 2009.

Sign-up for 2011 USDA farm program is now open

There has been relatively low interest among farmers anywhere in the country in the ACRE program, in part because they have to give up part of the fixed payments they get from the traditional USDA program every year. In Iowa, only 12% of the 154,000 eligible farms are enrolled in ACRE. When you sign up for ACRE, you are in it through the 2012 crop.

Sign-up for the 2011 Direct and Countercyclical Program, which is the traditional USDA program, as well as the ACRE option, began Oct. 1, 2010 and it continues until June 1, 2011. This deadline means all individuals receiving a share of the DCP or ACRE contracts must have signatures filed at local FSA offices by June 1.

If you are interested in enrolling in ACRE for the first time, the ACRE election form and contract must also be completed by June 1, 2011. Remember, if you sign up for ACRE you will enroll for both the 2011 and 2012 crop.

If you have specific questions or need details regarding USDA farm programs, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency office. You can also get news and information about DCP, ACRE and other USDA programs at

Two Iowa State University Extension Web sites have farm program information and analysis. They are ISU's Ag Decision Maker site at and ISU Extension Specialist Steve Johnson's site at

And be sure to read the regular column "Frequently Asked Questions about the Farm Program" that appears in each issue of Wallaces Farmer magazine and at

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