When is a farm meeting in April worth attending? Normally farm meetings are concluded in March so that April is reserved for getting ready for the spring planting season. The meeting is worth it if it's about a subject that could either help you make money, or cause you to forfeit potential payments int eh future if you don't pay attention now. That's why the two meetings sponsored by the Indiana Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resource Conservation Service in southeast and east-central Indiana this week are crucial, even if it is April.
The meetings will be about the Average Crop Revenue Election or ACRE program, as it's known. The first meeting will be held at the Kuhlman Center at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Richmond on Wednesday, April 8 at 9 a.m. EDT. The meeting is scheduled to last until 11 a.m. The second meeting is the same day, Wednesday, April 8, only in the evening. It is scheduled for the South Ripley Elementary School on Benham Road near Versailles at 6 p.m., EDT. This meeting is scheduled to conclude at 8 p.m.
The ACRE program is new, and naturally it's somewhat complicated. Signup deadline is nearing. That's the reason that Indiana FSA is promoting these meetings. If you live too far away to attend or if you can't attend for other reasons, contact your local FSA office to determine if there will be meetings in your area, or if they can help answer your questions so that you can make an informed choice about whether to participate in this new federal program or not.
Indiana FSA specialists Carl Schweikhardt and Marietta Kendall will be presenting information at the two scheduled meetings. Ample time will be left for questions, they note. This program grows directly out of new language included in the 2008 Farm Bill passed by Congress last year.
The program boils down to an option to receive revenue-based payments as an alternative to receiving price-based counter-cyclical payments under the provisions of the '08 Farm Bill programs. But it's not a slam – dunk advantage for every operation. And there is a catch- if you sign up for ACRE, you reportedly must stay in the new program, and can't change your mind and revert to the existing program that you have been participating in until this point.
Contact person on the site for this meeting is Steve Thurnall at the Ripley County FSA office. If you have questions or need special accommodations to attend and participate in the meeting, contact him at 812-689-6410.
Please note that these meetings were called quickly, and that they occur this week. Don't overlook this chance to learn firsthand about the ACRE program.