ACRE sign-up extended to Aug. 14

Agriculture producers were offered more time to decide whether to enroll into the new Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program in the Farm Bill or remain in the Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) for 2009. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that USDA has extended the sign-up deadline from June 1, to Aug. 14, 2009. The extension applies only to DCP and the forthcoming ACRE Program.

The action extends the sign-up deadline by 10 weeks to give producers ample time to decide whether to participate in ACRE or remain in DCP. The South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) has been encouraging producers to become educated on the new ACRE program and utilize tools, like the ACRE calculator sent to SDCGA members, to determine how ACRE would perform on their individual farms.

“Extending the ACRE sign-up deadline will allow producers the ability to truly evaluate the ACRE program for their operations,” said Bill Chase, president of the SDCGA. “ACRE is an innovative farm safety net but like anything new, it requires careful study and consideration for each individual operator. The SDCGA encourages producers to not wait for Aug. 14 to learn more about ACRE and which program option will work best for them.”

Producers will be required to provide production data at the time of sign-up should they choose to enroll in ACRE. Sign-up for ACRE is expected to start in late April, with an official sign-up announcement to be made in the coming weeks.

Producers can elect ACRE at their FSA county office after the sign-up period commences. The original June 1 deadline may have forced producers to rush their decision, which is why this extension gives producers more time to make an informed decision about staying with DCP for 2009 or participating in ACRE for crop year 2009 and beyond through 2012.

The ACRE program, authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, provides eligible producers a state-level revenue guarantee, based on the 5-year state Olympic average yield and the 2-year national average price. ACRE payments are made when both state and farm-level triggers are met. By participating in ACRE, producers elect to forgo counter-cyclical payments, receive a 20-percent reduction in direct payments and a 30-percent reduction in loan rates. The decision to elect ACRE binds the farm to the program through the 2012 crop year, the last crop year covered by the 2008 Act.

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently made available preliminary estimates of ACRE’s state revenue guarantees for the 2009 crop year and is expected to soon release more details on the program’s enrollment procedures. Explanations of how the revenue guarantees and program parameters will be determined are now available on the FSA Web site. The ACRE program will provide a new, optional safety net for farmers to mitigate the financial impact of adverse weather conditions and declining prices. ACRE will deliver payments to producers only when they face a real loss in crop revenue.

The SDCGA encourages growers to begin organizing their production and crop insurance records required for the enrollment and election process. Access to calculators to evaluate the potential benefits of the ACRE program and related information are available on the SDCGA website at www.sdcorn.org. Click on Farm Bill Updates on the homepage.

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