Crop insurance: The new legislation makes permanent the Enterprise Unit subsidy, which was a pilot program for several years, Anderson says.

“I think this is a good thing. Enterprise units allow you to do some aggregation and get a little lower premium and a little more attractive subsidy on crop insurance. You will be able to develop separate irrigated and non-irrigated enterprise units, whereas in the past they were separate, and in lot of cases this was not terribly attractive.

“I think this change will make it more attractive to a lot of farmers; it should make guarantees and indemnities more closely match actual insurance, and make everyone feel better about how the crop insurance program is working.”

“Some clarification is needed, I think, in the Title XI crop insurance section, which prioritizes a peanut revenue protection insurance program and rice gross margin insurance for 2015.

“The language basically says USDA is going to do everything it can to make sure we have a functioning revenue protection program for peanuts and a gross margin program for rice by 2015. This has been a huge deal for the peanut industry.

“I’m not sure what USDA means by saying they’re going to make these a priority and do everything they can to get them done. But I think they will be putting some resources into trying to make these new products available.”

During discussions in Congress about moving the new farm bill more toward an insurance basis, Anderson says, “There was a lot of apprehension across the South, where we’ve not had as much experience — perhaps more bad experience — with crop insurance. But the reality is that farm programs are moving toward crop insurance, and we need to be taking a hard look at this and see how we can make it work for us.”

Payment limits: There is now a $145,000 limit on all Title 1 program payments, Anderson notes, which can be doubled for couples, as under current law.

“In practical terms, I think it’s a less restrictive payment limit than what we’ve had to this point. There was some dissatisfaction with this by some in Congress who wanted more restrictive payment limits. There is a $900,000 adjusted gross income limit, which as I read it, is a hard cap.”

Farm program costs: “We’ve all heard, and seen in the media, that the Congressional Budget Office has put the cost of this legislation at almost $1 trillion,” Anderson says.

“But keep in mind, that’s over 10 years, about $95.5 billion per year on average.

“That’s a savings over the 10-year baseline of about $17 billion, $14 billion of which essentially comes out of commodity programs, with a lot of the savings from repeal of direct payment and ACRE programs.