Part of the problem with quick APH adjustments, said Scuse, was that the RMA must gather 20 years of crop data from every U.S. county. Further, while USDA agencies were able to get a jump-start on some farm bill provisions, the APH adjustment was placed in the legislation late during conference. Scuse did tell the subcommittee he would provide them details on the APH adjustment in several weeks.

Conaway was also wary of the USDA’s implementation of conservation compliance. “This was never a smart provision and the interim rule explains why so many of us were concerned with it. For example, page 11 of the rule says that if a farmer plants a crop next spring and is found to be non-compliant on June 1 even if he or she was to come back into compliance by July 1, the farmer would still be denied premium support for 2015. This effectively means no insurance.

“As bad as the compliance provision is, the objective was to impose the penalty in the following year -- and only if the producer did not come back into compliance.”

Such provisions, said Conaway, help explain why farmers and ranchers are “scared to death about regulatory overreach of the administration.”

Title 11 of the farm bill “specifically enhances coverage of the permanently authorized federal (crop) insurance program,” said Scott. “It is very important that we understand this farm bill completely changes -- completely -- the way in which farmers receive assistance. Farmers must now make a decision about which crop insurance program they must sign onto this fall -- either the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC). And once they make that decision they are committed to it for five years.”

“For this reason it is critical that we take the time and make sure our farmers get the correct information to make the right decisions.”

To help implement ARC and PLC, Scuse said farmers could expect the Farm Service Agency to provide data on current base acres, yields and recent planting history in late summer. That will be followed in the fall with a chance to update a farm’s yields and reallocate base acres. Contracts for either ARC or PLC will be signed by 2015.