The new Farm Bill programs are nothing like you have seen in the past. Carl Schweikhardt, chief of production adjustment for Indiana FSA, understands that, and the fact that it is creating some confusion.
The process underway right now is updating yields and reallocating bases. Whether you participate in one or both of these activities is up to you. You must complete the process if you are updating yields or reallocating bases by Feb. 27.
The next step is to elect which farm program you want to be in on a specific farm. The choices are ARC County, ARC individual, or PLC. Once you make the election, it can't be changed for the life of the 2014 Farm Bill, which is 2014 to 2018.
Any payments based on the 2014 crop will be paid at a future time after you elect which program you are entering. The election step must be completed by March 31, 2015.
Landowners and tenant have to agree and choose the same program for specific farms, he adds. However, after that is done, then annual enrollment begins. Each farm must be enrolled once per year, just like under previous farm programs. That's where FSA will determine who is entitled to payments, and how checks will be issued. Just because the landowner must sign doesn't mean the landowner will get all the check, Schweikhardt insists.
One question that has arisen is if it's determined the tenant gets the payment, or instead it's determine the landlord gets the payment, is he or she required to give part to the other party?
"Not necessarily," Schweikhardt answers. "It depends on the farming arrangements in place between both parties. There are rules in place to protect both owners and tenants.
"It's the same as was done for prior programs, such as DCP. It's confusing (now) because of the base/yield and election process the first year that have different rules about who is to sign up and make the one-time decision. These are different from enrollment rules, which will come next, and are similar to enrollment and payment qualification rules of past programs," he notes.