FAQ: Farm Bill Implementation Announced by USDA

Program signups have begun, here's more information for the new program year.

FAQ: When can I sign up for 2009 USDA farm program?

Answer: Provided by office of Senator Tom Harkin, D-IA, chairman of U.S. Senate Ag Committee

Program signups began Dec. 22, 2008 for the 2009 Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment or DCP program, while USDA says the ACRE program signup will begin in the spring. Both measures are part of the new 2008 Farm Bill, approved by Congress earlier in 2008.

USDA previously suggested ACRE may be implemented using lower commodity prices to set the revenue guarantee benchmarks that are specified in the bill, which would reduce the income protection and benefits of the program to farmers from what was enacted. ACRE, a new revenue protection program for farmers, was included in the new farm bill.

The announcement USDA made on December 19 is a win-win for farmers across the country. First, there’s a new revenue protection option that comes at an opportune time for 2009 planning. This new farm bill offers a good opportunity for farmers and with today’s announcement, we are seeing the law carried out by USDA as it was written and intended.

I am also encouraged that the rule announced December 19 that requires substantial active personal labor or active personal management of the farm, which is a reform I pushed for as an improvement in the rules which have been in effect since 1988.

Implementation of the farm bill is moving forward and farmers who want to receive an advance direct payment this month should be able to do so under the rules announced December 19. I hope farmers across Iowa and the nation take notice of this new rule and contact their local FSA or go online to take advantage of these programs.

DCP payments for farmers with base acres began December 22 both online and at local USDA service centers across the country and will continue until June 1, 2009. The payment limitation provisions will be issued as interim final rules. The public will be able to comment on the rules for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

If you have a question you’d like answered regarding the new USDA farm program, please send it to [email protected]. 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 Bill, see ISU’s Ag Decision Maker site www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm. For clarification on farm program details contact your local FSA office.

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