STAX is a program very much like GRIP (Group Risk Income Protection), an area-based revenue program. “Essentially, STAX will be the program for cotton,” Anderson says, “and that significantly differentiates this farm bill from anything we’ve had in the past — taking the money that’s been associated with cotton support and putting it into an insurance program that is dedicated to cotton. That’s a pretty major change.”

STAX and SCO won’t be available until 2015, Anderson says, and “that’s a big difference. These programs will be administered by RMA, and RMA right now is in the process of trying to figure out insurance programs.

“What are the rates going to be for SCO and STAX, particularly for SCO, where we’ve not had a supplemental program like this before?  How do you rate an insurance product that’s a supplement designed to work in conjunction with another insurance product?

“They’ve got to have some time to figure out the rating procedures, in addition to the logistics of getting this rolled out to the agency itself.

“Because cotton won’t have anything available until 2015, for 2014 there will be a transition payment that, interestingly, works out in its calculation pretty close to a direct payment.”

The Dairy Margin Protection Program “is very similar in design and intent to the Livestock Gross Margin product that’s available now,” Anderson says, “but implementation will be really different — it will be a standing FSA program.

“There were a lot of gory details in getting this program done, but suffice it to say that dairy was a hangup in the farm bill process — which has pretty much been the case for every farm bill that has ever been written.”

It is in the area of acreage bases, Anderson says, that “decision-making is going to be very important.

“There will be a one-time option to reallocate base acreage. This will be necessitated by cotton moving to the STAX program and not being paid on base acres any more. The other covered crop bases will have to be reallocated and updated to more accurately reflect what you’ve been planting in more recent years.

“You can also update yields, which I think will be very popular. Base reallocation and yield update will be decisions the landowner has to make, and this is going to be a lot of work for county FSA offices, dealing with cases where there are lots of landowners associated with a single farm serial number.

“As I read the law, this is going to require a unanimous decision among landowners, which means there will be a lot of effort spent in running down landowners to decide what to do on updating bases.”