Ag Policy Blog

All About That Base

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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We're basically at fewer than eight working days left before landowners need to have their paperwork wrapped up for base acre reallocation and yield updates.

Sorry about that headline. It just somehow popped into my head.

I've heard some complaints from farmers-landowners about the difficulty getting yield information from prior tenants and questioning why the Farm Service Agency doesn't already have that information since that the Risk Management Agency would have received that information for crop insurance.

Some final details for updating base acres:

The deadline is February 27, barring an extension by USDA.

Landowners are allowed to reallocate base acres among crops planted on that ground from 2009-2012. The 2014 Agricultural Act does not allow farmers to add acres to base that were not already enrolled under the old farm bill.

Keep in mind that landowners have the "sole right" to make determinations on reallocating base acres and yields. Farmers who haven't heard from landlords on base-acre decisions should give them a call -- now.

For updating yields on those base acres you use the years 2008-2012. Yields can be updated to up to 90% of those 2008-2012 averages. You can also go with the plug yield, which is 75% of the county average from 2008-2012.

Landowners have the option of updating yield on some crops but keeping the old yield on other crops if they choose. A simple rule of thumb on yield: go with the highest average, whether that is the old base yield or a new one after calculating the planting history.

Landowners do not have to reallocate or adjust yields, but there could be advantages to do both. At least some economists last fall said the decisions made in regarding base-acre reallocations and yield updates could be deciding factors over whether a farm is profitable in the years to come.

Good luck!

Follow me on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN.


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