Farm Service Agency offices now have access to your crop insurance yield information. If you choose to update yields, that should make the process easier.
Carl Schweikhardt, chief state program specialist for production adjustment with FSA answers questions he has received recently about the sign-up process for the farm bill program. Here are a couple of questions he has received several times.
Question: Are there tools available to assist producers in making a program election?
Answer: Yes. Congress provided $3 million for universities to develop web-based decision tools for ARC-CO, ARC-IC, PLC, and other 2014 Farm Bill programs. In addition, Congress provided $3 million for producer education, which provides farmers with information on how to use the decision tools.
The premier programs seem to be the ones from the University of Illinois and Texas A&M University. Specialists believe the University of Illinois program is somewhat easier to use and still does a good job of helping you sort through your options. It was revised within the past couple of weeks.
Question: What information do I need to bring with me for my appointment to reallocate bases, update yields and make my election?
Answer: It is very important to do your homework before making an appointment. There is information online and various other resources. Bring with you the acreage history letter you should have received in August. The base reallocation will be determined mostly using the information from this letter. Gather all yield information available for each farm for the years 2008 through 2012 and calculate a bushel per acre estimate.
Remember that FSA does have crop insurance yield data available in the local offices for those producers associated with the crop insurance records.
If you are a tenant on a farm, you are strongly encouraged to discuss the new programs and decisions with land owners. Deadlines are fast approaching, so producers need to start this process as soon as possible.