FSA officals give farmers choices to consider

FORT LORAMIE — With the extension to the 2008 Farm Bill, area farmers have decisions and options to consider, area farming specialists say.

Executive directors and staff of Farm Service Agencies (FSA) of Mercer, Auglaize and Shelby counties provided information and answered questions for farmers during a special tri-county informational meeting held Tuesday at St. Michael’s Hall in Fort Loramie.

Farmers can take advantage of two specific programs that are available this year to enroll in — Direct and Counter Cyclical Program (DCP) and Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE).

“The 2008 Farm Bill has been in operation for the last five to six years, and this has expired,” Mercer County FSA Executive Director Christopher Gibbs said during the meeting.

The 2013 DCP and ACRE program provisions remain unchanged from 2012, and sign-up for these programs began on Feb. 19, and now is the time for farms to to enroll in either of these programs for the 2013 crop year. The deadline to enroll for DCP is June 3 and the deadline to enroll in ACRE is Aug. 2.

Eligible farms who were enrolled in ACRE in 2012 can enroll in DCP in 2013, or they may choose to re-enroll in ACRE in 2013.

Auglaize County FSA Executive Director Anita Green said farmers that elect to participate in the ACRE program are not eligible to also participate in DCP, and farmers that do not elect to participate in the ACRE program may elect to participate in the DCP.

“Both programs end in 2013 and are subject to a new Farm Bill,” Green said during a PowerPoint presentation to a room full of people on Tuesday.

Green, who gave a presentation on the ACRE program, said enrolling requires a 20 percent reduction in direct payments and a 30 percent reduction in the loan rate.

“In a comparison with counter-cyclical, ACRE is a revenue-based, not price-based, guarantee,” Green said, “and it uses a moving average, rather than a fixed ‘target,’ and payment requires both state and farm triggers being met.”

Both the state trigger and the farm trigger must be met to issue payments, with a state trigger being that 90 percent of state’s historical revenue must exceed current year state revenue, and the farm trigger being the farm’s historical revenue must exceed current year farm revenue.

Green noted farmers may want to delay making the decision to elect a farm program until the spring, because this is when planting intensions and possible planting progress are known.

According to an article by Chris Bruynis, Ohio State University assistant professor and extension educator, he noted projected harvest prices will reflect the planting intentions resulting in a better estimate of crop revenue.

“We are in a process of discovering 2012 prices for corn, soybeans and wheat,” Green said. “The longer you wait, you can determine prices better.”

ACRE election must be signed by all producers on the farm by the application deadline, and election is on a farm-by-farm basis, however, all crops are considered to be in the ACRE program once elected.

DCP is another option, and provides direct payment and potential counter cyclical and marketing loan price payments.

Carl Zulauf, Ohio State University professor, and Gary Schnitkey University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor, said direct payments are made irrespective of price and yield. They will be paid beginning October 2013. Payments are based on a farm’s counter-cyclical program yield and historical base acres.

This meeting gave participants options to consider.

For more information farmers were advised to contact their county’s FSA office.

More informational meetings will be scheduled as the passage of the new Farm Bill draws closer, including a meeting regarding what is is pending in farm legislation. The meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at Edison Community College.