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Special Features Section, Superior Express

Jenny's REESources, by Jenny Rees, UNL Extension

Straight From the Horse's Mouth, by Duane Lieneman, UNL Extension

 

Jenny's REESources, by Jenny Rees, UNL Extension
I've enjoyed working with producers and landlords on looking at farm bill decisions for individual operations. A quick caution again regarding supplemental coverage option (SCO), you can only take price loss coverage (PLC) into account not PLC+SCO if you haven't plugged the information into the Texas A&M farm bill tool correctly (meaning 10 years of yield data and all production information broken into crop insurance units for each FSA farm number).
You can always discuss SCO with your crop insurance agent but the tool itself won't provide correct output without inputting numbers correctly. You can simply remove SCO from the tool information by not selecting a crop insurance option on the first home screen of each farm unit you input into the Texas A&M tool. I have screen shots with additional information at http://jenreesources.wordpress.com.
I'm willing to work individually with those interested in looking at the Texas A&M tool for your decisions. Please call (402) 762-3644 to set up an appointment. You will need to bring the following with you:
1. Your CC yields from FSA (the ones sent in July/August tend to have all your CC yields for all your current base acres). You could also request your FSA 156-EZ form for this information.
2. Your base acres and potential base reallocation information FSA sent you.
3. Yield production history from 2008-2012 by crop. If you were in the ACRE program during the last farm bill, please also ask them for the screenshot of all your yield production history. Since you had to prove yields with that program, your production information is already in their system. If you weren't in ACRE, you will need to fill out the price loss coverage form FSA sent you. You can obtain this information from your crop insurance records or from scale tickets by farm if you don't have crop insurance information. You will not have to prove yields at the time of signing up, but please keep your records as you will need to prove how you obtained this information in the event you are spot-checked. Here's more information regarding yields: http://go.unl.edu/fenc.
When determining your yield history from 2008-2012, for combined counties, FSA is looking for a total combined production (not a weighted production based on irrigated vs. dryland acres). If you have crop insurance information, add up the total production in bushels for irrigated and dryland by crop (ex. Corn) for each FSA farm number and total the acres of each production entry. Then divide production by total acres to determine your yield. It's important you use RMA production data, not APH yield as the APH yield may incorporate other modifications to actual production.
For split counties, you would follow a similar practice but only add up dryland production by FSA farm number and irrigated production by that farm number. When inputting data from a split county into the Texas A&M decision aid, you will need to allocate base acres on a percentage of the irrigated vs. dryland acres. For example, if 50 percent of the land in one FSA farm number is irrigated and you have 200 acres, then 100 acres would be used for the base acres in the decision tool for irrigated yields and 100 acres would be used in the tool for dryland yields. Your CC yield will remain the same for both irrigated and dryland by crop.

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Straight From the Horse's Mouth, by Duane Lieneman, UNL Extension

I had the opportunity this week to travel to Lincoln to the new Nebraska Innovation Campus for a Farm Bill meeting featuring the creators of the Texas A&M Farm Bill Decision Tool. While the meeting was, in my opinion, helpful and educational, I was really taken by the facility we were in.
For you who don't know, Innovation Park is located in what used to be the old Nebraska State Fair Park. The conference center in which we had the workshop is the old 4-H building, which has a lot of history for 4-H'ers across the state. It was an integral part of the 4-H experience since being built in 1928. Many individuals showed their animals there, sat in the bleachers that surrounded the old arena, participated in livestock judging contests and most likely attended 4-H state fair dances. Some will remember the UNL Cafe and Dairy Store on the bottom side of the bleachers. Many more will remember the west part of the facility where all the 4-H static exhibits were displayed, both upstairs and down. I am glad they kept the building and made sure key parts of the architecture were preserved, keeping the integrity and ambience at least partially intact and visible.
You could still see the old beams and ceiling structure, the old brick structures and even where the old sliding doors were. But what a nice facility it now is for conferences, meetings, etc. It was gratifying to see they also kept the old industrial arts building (originally Agricultural Hall) that was built in 1913. I always was intrigued by the architecture in that building and it held a special place for me because of the 4-H dormitories there. I stayed many a night as a 4-H member and later as an FFA advisor with young livestock exhibitors in those facilities. I am sure a lot of young exhibitors and some parents remember those dorms. They could be rather warm, had very short supplies of hot water for showers, were a little noisy with people going in and out and how can you not forget the trains that seemed to incessantly roll by, sometimes hitting their horns ­­ I think knowing there was a dorm there. Even with those deficiencies, my memories are still good. It is not often you can mix the old with the new and have something that is as functional and high tech as this facility. What they are doing at Innovation Campus is incredible. You can find more at: http://innovate.unl.edu.
I suppose I should go back to the Farm Bill. It was after all, why I went to Lincoln. I know a lot of farmers are worried about this new Farm Bill and the decisions that they must make. Some are just going with what they have heard at the coffee shops or their neighbors or perhaps what they have read in farm magazines. This is a completely new approach to risk protection and it is very complex and complicated to say the least. I know it is intimidating, confusing and impossible to predict what the outcomes of your decisions will be. Even with the decision tools that are available to you, you still are at the mercy of trying to guess what the crop will do, markets, what the price levels will be and what weather conditions we may be subjected to. You just might as well just throw a dart is what many think, and that may be not too far off.
I am of the opinion, however, you should not just throw a dart, or do what your neighbor is doing or just go by what you hear in the coffee shop. I suggest farmers go to at least one and preferably more than one education meeting on the Farm Bill. I would also suggest they use at least one of the decision tools to help farmers at least have an educated idea of what they should do considering base acre allocation and yield adjustments. These tools can also help weigh the options that producers have in creating a risk protection device as a management tool for their farms. No matter which tool you use, you will need the August 2014 FSA letter or FSA 156EZ or similar worksheet and I also suggest the 10-year crop insurance production report history worksheet from your insurance agent.
The three main tools that I am aware of can be found on the internet, and each have their own attributes and perhaps some shortcomings, but will be of use no matter what. One of the most in-depth tools I have tried can be found at: https://decisionaid.afpc.tamu.edu/ which is a collaboration between Texas A&M University and FAPRI at the University of Missouri. This decision aid tool, much like all other tools available to you includes yield update base acre reallocation, Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC-Co & ARC-IC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC), and Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO). The A&M model requires you to register an account with name, email address and password. Then it will require you to set up an account type, either a producer/farmer or multi-client user. The multi-client account is useful because it is on the web and allows producers to create as many clients as wanted and keeps each client's data separate. This is nice because you can utilize collaboration with family members or consultants. Another decision aid may be found at: http://fsa.usapas.com/ which is developed at Illinois. A third choice can be found at: www.agmanager.info/policy/commodity/2012/#2 which features a Farm Bill Decision Tool that was collaboratively developed by Oklahoma State University and Kansas State University. Of these three programs, I believe the A&M model may be more complete.
There are of course several other excel spreadsheets, programs from other Universities and private firms, but the ones that I have highlighted probably are the major decision tools being used! Producers must remember however, that these materials and tools are designed to aid farmers with their marketing and risk decisions. This information is primarily based on the authors' interpretation of the 2014 Farm Bill. The tools or decision aids and all information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered the silver bullet for making your decisions. It still comes down to you, your records, and your guesswork on what is in the future over the five years of this Farm Bill. Good Luck!

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