The ink has hardly had time to dry on the finally-passed 2012 farm bill, but says John Anderson, farmers need to be spending time delving into its provisions and getting ducks in a row to comply with new, often complex rules.

“It’s still early in the game, and a lot of regulations will have to be written and a lot of work will have to be done for implementation,” he said at the annual Producer Advisory Council conference attended by farmers from across north Mississippi.

“But, you need to be familiarizing yourself with decisions that will have to be made,” says Anderson, deputy chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington.

That particularly applies to new rules regarding updating of bases, base relocation, and yield updating, he says. “If you’re involved in an operation with multiple landowners, maybe a lot of absentee landowners, or landowners that are widely dispersed, be thinking about how you can come together and make the decisions these new rules require, because it’s going to be the first challenge you’ll have to deal with.”

Among major points Anderson discussed in the new legislation:

Title 1 programs: “This is where commodity programs, countercyclical payments, etc., have always been. In this bill, we have a price loss coverage program, a price-based countercyclical payment, and we have updated reference prices. But in terms of how it will work and how payments will be calculated, who will be eligible, etc., it’s very similar to the countercyclical program we’ve previously had.”

Ag news delivered daily to your inbox: Subscribe to Delta Farm Press Daily.

Ag Risk Coverage (ARC) at the county level “is very similar to ACRE (Average Crop Revenue Election), which wasn’t a terribly popular program in the South — essentially an area-based revenue program.

Ag Risk Coverage at the individual level, “sounds like county level ARC, but it’s not — it’s a vastly different program. I don’t think anyone in Mississippi is going to be very interested in this individual ARC program.”

Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) and Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) are brand new programs, and, “This is where this farm bill gets a lot different from what we’ve seen in the past,” Anderson says. “These are insurance programs that will be administered by the Risk Management Agency — products that will be sold through crop insurance agents. There will be a subsidy on the premium, but they will function like insurance.

“SCO is an area trigger insurance policy that you can buy along with an individual policy. That in itself is a pretty big change in the farm bill. Before this, you could buy individual coverage or you could buy area coverage, but you couldn’t buy both at the same time. This bill specifically creates an area-based supplemental policy that’s designed to be purchased along with another individual policy.”