Making Sense of the 2014 Farm Bill

Economist reviews changes in the 2014 farm bill; says decisions remain to be made

Published on: Feb 6, 2014

"One of the things this farm bill does is greatly increase farmer options," Keeney said. "Farmers now have a suite of programs. They will have to make some decisions, and they will have to make those decisions for a five-year time frame. They are going to have to look at a lot of information about their farms and the different options and think about which policy options will pay them the best over the next five years."

Some of what will help farmers decide is their experience with crop insurance. Because farmers, especially in the Midwest, make complex decisions annually about crop coverage, Keeney said they would have some familiarity with the process even with the new options.

As the USDA digests the new bill and works through rule writing, Keeney said it's important for those affected by the bill to keep a close eye on how its various components develop.

"We just want to encourage people who have been watching the farm bill this long to know that the process is ongoing," he said. "There will be ways for them to participate, and they will have to start engaging. If you're impacted by the farm bill, you need to follow it and try to understand what your options are and how your decisions will be affected."

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