When you cut through the technicalities, the "safety net" in the 2014 Farm Act is really designed as insurance against abrupt farm revenue or price disasters. It's not a whole lot different than thinking about Social Security as old age insurance: If you study the system, you know your odds of not running out of money in your lifetime improve if you wait until your full-retirement age (or later) to collect. If you study the probability of price and yield swings in agriculture, you'll improve your odds of being eligible for a farm program payment. The thing is, you need a super computer to assess the best options five years into the future..
This last farm bill, Congress authorized two university sponsored super-calculator programs, plus money for outreach through webinars, YouTube videos and other educational efforts. It's no shock that with better education (in my opinion), 91% of corn farms elected Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) -County, vs. just 4% for its near-identical predecessor under the 2008 Farm Act. Even counting the possible threat of a potential 7% cutback in 2014 farm program payments due to budget sequestration, the nation's corn growers--as well as rice and peanut producers enrolled in Price Loss Coverage programs--stand to collect sizable checks in most parts of the nation this October.
Now both the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Texas A&M are conducting studies to learn more about farmers’ and land owners’ decision processes, including what tools/resources were used to help make program choices.
To participate in the Illinois study, paste http://go.illinois.edu/… into your internet browser.
The Agricultural Food and Policy Center at Texas A&M has also emailed users, asking them to rate its farm bill tool set. If you registered to use the Texas tool, take their survey at https://usda.afpc.tamu.edu/….
Now it's your turn to grade the farm bill professors.
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