U.S. farmers can elect and enroll in the Average Crop Revenue Election program, a provision of the 2008 farm bill, beginning April 27.
ACRE has become a hot topic since it was included in the 2008 farm bill passed by Congress last June. Although many farmers have said they may not participate in the program, interest has been high in what it would entail once USDA announced the program rules.
Producers who elect the ACRE program for a farm agree to: forgo counter-cyclical payments; accept a 20-percent reduction of the direct payments; and accept a 30-percent reduction in loan rates for all commodities produced on the farm.
“The Average Crop Revenue Election program is an innovative alternative to the traditional farm safety,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “This new option presents an opportunity for producers to review both programs and decide which one will work best for their operation.”
Vilsack earlier announced an extension of the deadline to enroll in the traditional program or the new ACRE program from June 1, 2009, to Aug. 14, 2009. Producers now have until Aug. 14, to make their decision for the 2009 crop. USDA will not accept any late-filed applications.
Commodities eligible for ACRE payments are wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, upland cotton, long grain rice, medium and short grain rice, peanuts, soybeans, sunflower seed, canola, flaxseed, safflower, mustard seed, rapeseed, sesame seed, crambe, dry peas, lentils, small chickpeas and large chickpeas.
The ACRE program was created in the 2008 farm bill to give producers an option in lieu of traditional counter-cyclical payments. Producers may elect and enroll in ACRE for the 2009 crop year even if they have already accepted advance direct payments under the direct and counter-cyclical program.
To elect ACRE for a farm, producers must complete Form CCC-509 ACRE, which irrevocably elects ACRE for the farm through crop year 2012. Form CCC-509, the contract to participate in ACRE, must then be completed each year the producer intends to participate and receive benefits.
For more information about the ACRE program please go to a local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office or online to http://www.fsa.usda.gov.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, noted, “I encourage farmers to consider enrolling in the ACRE program. ACRE is a new and creative alternative to the traditional direct and counter-cyclical program and will benefit many of our producers both in Iowa and across the country.”