The executive director of the Sandusky County Farm Service Agency says a new alternative payment program for growers represents a “monumental change of looking at the farm safety net.”
W. Todd Warner has scheduled public meetings to discuss the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program for April 28, 29, and 30 at the county FSA office, 2000 Countryside Drive, Fremont.
The meetings will start at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 6 p.m. each day.
Growers can enroll in the ACRE program, which is a new provision in the 2008 Farm Bill, starting April 27.
The original enrollment deadline has been extended to Aug. 14 from June 1.
The optional revenue-based program is described as an alternative to receiving counter-cyclical payments that are designed to support and stabilize farm income in years when current prices for historically produced commodities are less than target prices. Thus, when market prices fall, the payments increase.
Growers who choose the ACRE program agree to:
• Forgo counter-cyclical payments;
• accept a 20 percent reduction of the direct payments, and
• accept a 30-percent reduction in loan rates for all commodities produces on their farm.
In return for the lower rates, however, growers are eligible for an ACRE program payment if the actual state and farm revenue are less than the state and farm ACRE guarantee.
Growers enrolled in the ACRE program must annually report acreage and production.
Crops eligible for ACRE payments include wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, upland cotton, long, medium, and short grain rice, peanuts, soybeans, sunflower seed, canola, flaxseed, safflower, mustard seed, rapeseed, sesame seed, crambe, dry peas, lentils, and small and large chickpeas.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack described the ACRE program as an “… innovative alternative to the traditional farm safety net.”
While ACRE weighs yield and price in determining benefits paid to growers, counter-cyclical payments are based just on crop prices.
“It’s a new twist to farm programs we’ve never had before,” Mr. Warner said.
To choose ACRE for a farm, growers must complete a form that irrevocably elects ACRE for the farm through crop year 2012. The contract form must then be completed each year the grower intends to participate and receive benefits.
Mr. Warner said growers will be required to provide yield records of their farms for crop years 2004-08 to enroll in ACRE.
For information call (419) 334-6330, ext. 2.