Be warned, the new farm bill is “very complex” relative to the one it is replacing.

“Basically, the big difference is the decisions you make now with regard to the (new) farm bill are going to be based on probabilities” said Brad Watkins, a University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture economist. “The old farm bill’s fixed deficiency payments were known each year. Now, things are going to vary from year to year. There is no certainty on what those payments will be -- they’ll be based on what” happened during the cropping season.

Speaking at the 2014 Rice Expo general session on Aug.1, Watkins said the new farm bill will require “a lot of decisions to be made on your part, as producers, to increase the probabilities of receiving what you need.”

What are some of those necessary decisions?

  • Decide whether to reallocate your base acres.

“You’ll get the opportunity to do so based on previous planted history of your crops from 2007 through 2009.”

  • Decide whether to put your crops in the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) or the Price Loss Coverage (PLC).

“The ARC program is a revenue coverage type program. That guarantees revenue based on the county. If the actual revenue for the county falls below the guarantee, then a payment is triggered.