By Jessica Johnson, Jim Jansen, and Monte Vandeveer - Nebraska Extension Educators
Over the past few months, the Nebraska Extension Farm Bill education team has been on the road talking with producers about the 2014 Farm Bill. This is one of a series of articles clarifying some of the common questions asked at these meetings. This article will discuss reallocating base acres.
Reallocating base acres on a farm will be a critical decision. Farmland owners will have two choices. They can either retain the farm’s 2013 base acres or reallocate base acres using planting history from 2009-2012. Owners will not be able to increase total overall base acres, only reassign current base acres to commodities covered under the 2014 Farm Bill. The deadline to reallocate base acres is Feb. 27, 2015.
Q: Where can I find my farm’s current base acres?
A: A farm’s current base acre assignments can be found on the letter sent by USDA FSA in early August. You can also call your local FSA office and get a copy of you farm’s FSA156-EZ form that will outline this information.
Q: Who makes the decision to reallocate a farm’s base acres?
A: The owner of the land makes the decision to update the yield. Tenants can submit the base reallocation and yield update decision on behalf of the landowner if the landowner has granted them signature authority on an FSA power-of-attorney form.
Q: What commodities can base acres be reallocated to?
A: The following commodities are often called “covered commodities.” They eligible for Farm Bill program payments. Covered commodities include barley, canola, corn, crambe, flaxseed, large garbanzo, small garbanzo, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice, safflower, sesame seed, soybeans, sunflower seed, and wheat.
Q: If I update my yields, do I have to reallocate my base?
A: No. You can update the yields on a farm, without reallocating the base acres. Similarly, you can reallocate the base without updating the yield. The decision to reallocate base applies by FSA farm number. The yield update is a crop-by-crop decision. Yields cannot be updated for crops that do not maintain base following the reallocation decision.
Q: I have multiple farms. If I reallocate by base on one farm number do I have to do it for all farm numbers?
A: No. You can reallocate your base acres on one farm, without reallocating base on other farms.
Q: If I want to reallocate my base acres, must I do so for all my crops? Or can I just change some of the bases?
You must consider all program crops for any base acreage reallocation. The reallocation will reflect your historic plantings of all program crops during the 2009-2012 period. You cannot “pick and choose” which bases you want to reallocate.
Q: If I have a crop that was reported as “Prevent Plant”, how is that used to reallocate base acres?
A: A crop that was “prevent planted” will be considered planted for the purposes of reallocating base if the prevented planting was approved by FSA.
However, if you were able to plant a subsequent crop, it becomes more complicated. Let’s say you reported corn as “prevent planted” in a given year, but you planted soybeans on those acres. In this situation, soybeans are the “subsequent” planted crop. If a subsequent covered commodity crop was planted after an initial covered commodity crop, the producer can select either the initial crop or some or all of the subsequent crop to be included in the reallocation calculation.
Q: Should I reallocate my base acres?
A: When deciding whether to update or maintain base acres, the landowner will need compare both base acre scenarios against each commodity program, county Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC-CO), individual Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC-IC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), for each farm number.
Depending on the situation, reallocating base acres may not benefit all farms. Two online decision tools are available to help evaluate the base acre reallocation and farm program decision. Links to these tools can be found on the UNL Farm Bill Website farmbill.unl.edu.
The decisions to be made in the next few months regarding the Farm Bill are very complex and will last for the duration of this farm bill. If you have questions about the Farm Bill, please attend one of the upcoming Panhandle Farm Bill meetings or contact Jessica Johnson 308-632-1247.
• Feb. 3, Kimball 7 a.m. at the Kimball Eagles Club
• Feb. 4, Scottsbluff at 9 a.m. at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center
• Feb. 12, Sidney at 1 p.m. at the Cheyenne County Community Center
• Feb. 17, Alliance at 9 a.m. at the Alliance Library
For the latest information about the Farm Bill visit farmbill.unl.edu.