Finalizing your 2009 farm operation plan, including your precision technology investment plan, is difficult without knowledge of Farm Bill changes that can impact income.
Hard to believe it has been 7 months since the 2008 Farm Bill was passed. The USDA just released its accomplishments to date as they prepare the next items for action by the incoming administration. Among those highlights most pertinent to you:
- Began crop year 2008 DCP signup on June 25, 2008 (one week after enactment) and ended September 30, 2008. The sign up for farms with 10 base acres or less ended November 26, 2008 following the legislative change enacted in October. USDA enrolled 1.8 million DCP contracts for 2008 and issued $5.1 billion in direct payments.
- Published regulations on August 20 and 21, 2008, implementing Federal marketing agreements and orders for milk, fruit, vegetable, and nut crops.
- Implemented the 2009-2012 DCP and Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program on December 29, 2008. Signup for 2009 DCP is underway and will continue through June 1, 2009, advance payments are currently being issued.
- Made available additional Farm Bill funding for conservations programs in FY 2008, including an additional $200 million for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), to help farmers and ranchers nationwide to solve natural resource problems; $150 million for the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP); and $7.5 million for Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA).
- Made available more than $4 billion for conservation program funding in FY 2009, including $1.8 billion for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), $1 billion for the EQIP, $570 million for the WRP, $100 million for the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP), and $74 for the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).
- Made available $547 million for 232 projects to provide clean, safe drinking water in rural America — the majority of that funding from the Farm Bill.
- USDA also moved very quickly to implement and award in FY 2008 nearly $28 million under the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, 10 million for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program; $22 million for the Organic Cost-Share Program; $3.4 million for Farmers Market Promotion Program; $3.5 million to enhance market news reporting for organic products; and $1.5 million for Agricultural Management Assistance to aid in the transition to organic agriculture.