If you're like most farmers, you probably know a farm bill passed in Congress this year. But you likely don't know too many of the ins and outs, and how the new Bill could affect you in both the near and long term. That's because many of the details took a long time to work out. In fact, some insiders suggest all of the final details still are being hammered into place.
Meanwhile, interest in how the new program will function is increasing, as crop prices, especially corn price, retreats back, still above levels where subsidies kick in, but about half what it was at its peak in very early July '08. A few meetings were held to begin clarifying Farm Bill issues earlier this month. After the Christmas and New Year's holiday breaks, expect more meetings to pop up as county Farm Service Agency directors and staff attempt to inform producers about what to expect.
One of the earliest FSA information meetings in the New Year will be held on Wednesday, January 7 in Lapel in Madison County. The meeting is slated for the Lapel Library, beginning at 7 p.m. EST.
Susan Allen, working for FSA in Madison County, arranged the meeting. The County Executive Director also chaired a session during the Madison County Crops Clinic in Alexandria earlier this month. The Indiana FSA Office also sponsored an information session on the new farm program recently.
Topics she intends to address at Lapel are likely similar to what will be addressed at other meetings and informational sessions likely to be sponsored by Purdue University Extension and or FSA elsewhere in Indiana in early winter. They include: provisions of the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program under the new legislation, the Average Crop Revenue Program, Disaster Programs and more. One additional specific topic will address program eligibility related to adjusted gross income and payment limitations provisions.
To register for this meeting at Lapel, contact FSA at 765-644-4249, extension 2. Or if you live too far away to attend this meeting, contact your local FSA office for information on if and when meetings might be held. Some will likely be included as part of Purdue Extension programs held during the winter months in various counties.
If you want to learn about the new Farm Bill from the comfort of your farm office or living room, then check out this Web site. Go to: www.fsa.usda.gov. You'll find the latest information on the bill at that Website, Allen says.