As farmers plow through new provisions of the 2014 farm bill, considerable uncertainty remains since many of the new programs have not been finalized.
“Farmers are still anxious to learn more details about new farm programs in the commodity title portion of the bill,” said Alabama Farmers Federation National Legislative Programs Director Mitt Walker. “Farmers will need to make a number of decisions such as reallocating base acres and choosing between two new commodity title programs based on price or revenue protection.”
USDA officials say progress has been made on all areas of the bill, including announcements on trade and marketing promotion; establishment of conservation programs; initiation of specialty crop and local food programs; and funding for rural development programs.
Major initiatives implemented in the farm bill include disaster relief programs for livestock producers. Farmers could apply for the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program starting April 15. The USDA reported receiving approximately 33,000 applications from farmers and disbursing $16.3 million in disaster relief assistance from the 2014 farm bill as of May 1. Farmers have until Jan. 30, 2015, to apply for losses incurred from Oct. 1, 2011, to Dec. 31, 2014. To view progress on the 2014 farm bill, visit usda.gov.
Later this year, row crop farmers can enroll in risk management programs created through the farm bill. The USDA is accepting applications from colleges and universities to create web-based tools to give farmers information on the Agricultural Risk Coverage Program; Price Loss Coverage Program; margin protection programs for dairy farms; and the non-insured crop disaster assistance program.
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has prepared a set of videos to help farmers, landowners and others better understand provisions of the farm bill. Go to FB.org and click “issues” to see the videos.
“It’s important for farmers to start thinking about how new provisions will impact their operations,” Walker said. “The Federation is partnering with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to conduct educational meetings once the rules of the farm bill have been finalized.”