Posted by: beyonddinner | March 29, 2009

The Farm Bill

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about the Farm Bill, but Curious Farmer does an analysis for what it means for his farm specifically.

I’m not sure how much I want to dig into this because I might find it depressing. Here’s an excerpt from a USDA site explaining restrictions for the direct payments:

Participants could plant 100% of their total base acreage to any crop, except with limitations on fruit, vegetables, and wild rice. Land had to be maintained in agricultural use. Unlimited haying and grazing and unlimited planting and harvesting of alfalfa and other forage crops were permitted with no reduction in payments.

Planting of fruits, vegetables, and wild rice (excluding mung beans, lentils, and dry peas) on base acres was prohibited unless producer or farm had a history of planting fruits, vegetables, or wild rice, but payments were reduced acre-for-acre on such plantings. Double cropping of fruit, vegetables, and wild rice was permitted without loss of payments if region had a history of such double cropping.

This stuff makes my head hurt. But then it goes on to say:

Authorizes pilot planting-flexibility project for CY 2009-12 to allow production of cucumbers, green peas, lima beans, pumpkins, snap beans, sweet corn, and tomatoes for processing on up to 9,000 base acres in Illinois; 9,000 base acres in Indiana; 1,000 base acres in Iowa; 9,000 base acres in Michigan; 34,000 base acres in Minnesota; 4,000 base acres in Ohio; and 9,000 base acres in Wisconsin.

To be eligible for the pilot, producers had to have entered into contract to produce the specified crop for processing, agree to produce crop as part of a program of crop rotation, and provide evidence of disposition of crop. Base acres are reduced per crop year by an acre for each acre planted under the pilot program.

So does this mean if you want to rotate crops and be part of this pilot and plant tomatoes and cucumbers that you then lose part of your base acres which means you get less payment from the government? I’m sure that I must not be interpreting this right, but it sure is confusing.

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