OSU's Amy Hagerman Gives Farmers Insight into All the 2018 Farm Bill Provisions OfferTue, 19 Feb 2019 21:44:18 CST
Someone who knows the ins and outs of the new Farm Bill is Dr. Amy Hagerman , Assistant Professor in Agriculture and Food Policy at Oklahoma State University. She followed developments through work by the house, senate, and ultimately its signing. Oklahoma Radio Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays knew she’d be a good person to ask what’s next now that the government has reopened and implementation steps begin. but hear the whole discussion by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“We really need to watch the Code of Federal Regulations right now,” said Hagerman. “That’s where we’re going to start seeing those details that’ll really help people make decisions.”
Broad brush strokes give us an idea what implementation might look like, but there are significant differences in the safety net from the last Farm Bill in 2014. The flexibility in Agriculture Risk Coverage & Price Loss Coverage written into the 2018 Farm Bill will allow producers to switch back and forth between ARC and PLC in response to market prices.
One other thing Amy says she’s watching closely is the change in coverage program for grassland. Base acres which were continuous grassy crop land from 2009-2017 will be able to sign up for a different program than ARC/PLC. Details on how these programs interact are crucial, especially when a lot of land may be released from CRP in the next couple years. As more southern counties increase their cotton acres; moveover from generic base to unassigned and other kinds of crop base including the seed cotton base could signify a big change.
“There are changes in loan limits and crop insurance that are going to affect those decisions of whether you’re going to switch from one crop to another, and what makes the most sense for an individual producer,” Hagerman explains.
Looking at it now, the PLC program might make more sense for several commodities in the 2019 crop year. However the ARC commodity could be a win for cotton producers in some counties. Many decisions will have to be made or adjusted as price and projected yield numbers are filled in each month going forward.
“A lot more flexibility in terms of being able to choose between multiple programs and then with the new Farm Bill being able to change that choice,” notes Dr. Hagerman. “In the one sense that’s really nice. It gives them the ability to respond to the market. But on the other hand it’s a lot more paperwork and a lot more decisions for farmers to make.”
Final rules by the USDA haven’t been released, leaving some benefits unclear. Hagerman mentioned changes that could have an impact in oklahoma such as the ability to get insurance on acres that are both grazed and harvested. Encouraging good farming practices in regards to cover crops are another change that we won’t know the parameters for until this waiting game is over.
“These things are pretty detailed as you go through the process,” she said. “You have to write up the rules, you have to publish them in the Code of Federal Fegulations, and implement those. Give proper notice… It is a lot of steps to get from where we are when the bill is signed to when we finally have sign-ups finished and that (government) shutdown sure didn’t help us.”
If you’re interested in an interactive meeting with Amy focused on discussing the 2018 Farm Bill, you can talk to your county agent or industry group representative to work towards getting on her schedule for meetings in individual counties. Towards April/May sign-ups should become available. She has plans to be at the Peanut Expo next month in Weatherford.
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