May 16, 2011

With farmers facing a June 1 deadline to enroll in the Average Crop Revenue Election program, Cory Walters and Greg Halich, agricultural economists in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, will host meetings across the state to explain ACRE and help producers determine whether it fits their operations.

ACRE is an optional risk-protection program created by the 2008 Farm Bill and offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Eligible producers include those who grow corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum, barley, rice, upland cotton, oats, peanuts, pulse crops and other oilseeds.

Unlike the traditional farm support programs that offer direct payments, counter-cyclical payments and marketing assistance loans if a price of a particular crop falls below a certain level, ACRE pays if crop revenue falls below a revenue guarantee. Revenue includes price and yield. In 2010, wheat farmers who were enrolled in the program received average payments of around $90 per acre after a disastrous 2009 marketing year crop.    

Those who enroll in ACRE forgo any counter-cyclical program payments, forfeit 20 percent of direct payments and have loan rates reduced by 30 percent. The agricultural economists calculated the approximate cost of a 20 percent loss in direct payments as $5 per base acre for corn, $2 per base acre for soybeans and $4 per base acre for wheat.

Walters and Halich will discuss how the program works, the probability of payments and the program’s relationship to crop insurance. In addition, they will discuss poor planting conditions this spring, preventive planting and the economics of producing corn compared to soybeans. All meetings are at the county’s UK Cooperative Extension office unless otherwise noted.

•    8:30 a.m. EDT, May 19, Hardin County•    3 p.m. CDT, May 19, Marshall County•     8:30 a.m. CDT May 20, Christian County•    12 p.m. CDT, May 20, Henderson County Extension, Education and Exposition Center

For more details on a specific meeting, contact the hosting county's UK extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.

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