FAQ: Where to get information on new USDA farm programs

Here's where to turn if you missed recent presentations on farm programs - there's plenty online.

Published on: Feb 26, 2009

FAQ: I couldn't attend the meetings Iowa State University Extension held recently to explain USDA's new farm program. Can I view the presentations on a video? Which farm program provisions are most important to farmers?

Answer: Provided by William Edwards, Iowa State University Extension farm economist.


Yes, you can view them online, as we explain at the end of this article. The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008—otherwise known as the 2008 Farm Bill - contains a wide variety of legislation affecting everything from school lunches to milk checks. Some of the most immediate provisions that farmers must address are:

* New limitations on commodity payments,

* Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE),

* Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) program.


The new payment limit rules basically attribute USDA commodity payments to individual taxpayers, regardless of the number and nature of farm business entities they are involved in. Operators and owners will be asked to provide information about their roles in their farming operations in order to establish eligibility for program payments. 


ACRE provides intermediate term protection against the risk of falling revenues from crop production, in exchange for reduced direct program crop payments.


SURE is a permanent disaster program that extends the level of coverage that producers can purchase through conventional crop insurance policies.


Additional titles in the bill address such issues as dairy price supports, organic production, horticultural crops, and programs for beginning farmers. Additional information about each of these topics can be found on the ISU Ag Decision Maker Web site. Also on the site is a schedule of county informational meetings that will be held during the next several months. The county meetings feature presenters from ISU Extension and the USDA Farm Service Agency. 


Watch these presentations online


For those who cannot attend a meeting, archived video of the presentations can be viewed on personal computers. View some or all of the presentations for additional information about the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008. Link here to the archived videos.


Payment Regulations Limitations – Kevin McClure, USDA Farm Service Agency

SURE Disaster Program – William Edwards, Iowa State University

Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE)Chad Hart, Iowa State University

ACRE Example with Crop Risk Model – Sterling Liddell, Iowa Farm Bureau


To keep up to date each day on new developments regarding the USDA farm programs, go to the Wallaces Farmer Website www.WallacesFarmer.com and scroll down on the left side of the screen. Look for the "Farm Bill FAQs" section and click on the Frequently Asked Questions And Answers listed.

If you have a question you'd like answered regarding the new USDA farm program, please send it to rswoboda@farmprogress.com. We will pass it on to the ISU Extension specialists or to the program specialists at USDA's Farm Service Agency office in Des Moines and they will send you the answer.


For more information and analysis of the new farm program, see ISU's Ag Decision Maker site www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm. For clarification on farm program details contact your local FSA office.