Take a Closer Look at New ACRE Program

You can learn about the new USDA farm program at 2008 Farm Progress Show.

Farmers and others are urged to attend a presentation at the Farm Progress Show and learn about USDA's new ACRE program for 2009. ACRE is one of the key provisions of the recently passed 2008 Farm Bill. The presentations on this topic at the Farm Progress Show are free and open to the public.

A presentation on ACRE will be made at 12 noon each day of the Farm Progress Show and will take place in the Seminar Tent, which is on Sixth Street next to the Wallaces Farmer Hospitality Tent. Steve Johnson, Iowa State University Extension farm and business management specialist, will be the speaker. He will explain the new program and provide details about ACRE.

The Farm Progress Show is August 26, 27 and 28 at Boone in central Iowa. The show site is between Ames and Boone, and is located on Highway 30.

ISU's Johnson will also give a presentation about ACRE at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday Aug. 26 at the ISU Extension Hoop Building Stage, which is part of the large exhibit ISU has at this year's show.

It's a fairly complex new farm program

As one of the features of the new federal farm bill, the ACRE program represents one of the most far-reaching reforms and it also represents the most complexity of the provisions in the new USDA farm program. The acronym ACRE stands for Average Crop Revenue Election program.

The concept behind this new program is simple: pay farmers when crop revenues drop below normal revenue levels—rather than have a farm program like direct payments that dish out dollars whether or not there has been a yield or price drop. Yet, to participate in ACRE, farmers must give up 20% of their fixed direct payment and accept a 30% decline in loan rates for ACRE—a program that may or may not pay.

Still, it's the formula for implementing the ACRE program, starting in 2009, that has some farmers excited and has the budget deficit hawks nervous—especially if commodity prices slump and farm payments start to go through the roof. Depending on where USDA establishes the price triggers for ACRE, growers who enroll in the ACRE program could enjoy a substantial safety net.

You need to understand program details

Participation is far from being a "no brainer" as many people had expected. This is an extremely complex program that requires two separate triggers to be met before payment will be issued. The ACRE program will depend on the market, but it is far more likely to generate payments on corn, wheat, soybeans and grain sorghum than the counter-cyclical or marketing loan provisions.

You can also tune in to ISU's Steve Johnson and Kansas State University Extension ag economist Art Barnaby for a Farm Bill Webinar on September 8 at 10 a.m. central daylight time. They'll discuss the "ins and outs" of the new ACRE program and also share their insight on several other key USDA farm program changes as a result of the new farm bill. For information to sign up for the Webinar go to www.gotomeeting.com/register/774799445. Cost is $49 and it is sponsored by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.

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