Cotton and grain producers now have access to a Web-based tool for projecting direct and counter-cyclical payments under the current farm bill. The GPC was designed by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M, in cooperation with Cotton Incorporated.

Producers can access the GPC by selecting the Government Payment Calculator option on the AFPC home page at www.afpc.tamu.edu. Through a series of Web pages, producers can enter their base acres and payment yields for each crop on each farm unit.

Based on producer data, the GPC estimates the monthly payments a farmer will likely receive for each year of the farm bill. Three different types of reports that can be requested and printed provide a gross summary or detailed reports by farm unit and crop.

AFPC designed the GPC after producers and lenders voiced concern over the difficulty of projecting cash flow under the 2002 farm bill. The farm bill provides eligible producers with direct and counter-cyclical payments for cotton, feed grains and food grains. The direct payment is paid in two installments and counter cyclical payments are paid in three installments. Depending on the crops grown, producers could receive payments in five or six different months.

AFPC also created the Base Yield Calculator, which was adopted by the Farm Service Agency in 2002, noted Jeanne Reeves, associate director of ag research for Cotton Incorporated. “The BYA was designed to get farmers registered for the new farm program. The GPC was designed to help producers with their cash flow under the program.”

“The GPC will be a tremendous help to farmers for the next five years,” said James Richardson, a professor in the AFPC at Texas A&M. “AFPC's base and yield calculator (BYA) was so popular that we are using the same format for delivering the GPC.”

“I doubt that GPC will be run 430,000 times like BYA, but if it helps farmers cope with risk, it could be more useful,” said Joe Outlaw, an Extension policy specialist in the AFPC.

The GPC is capable of simulating monthly payments for all eligible crops in all counties. Ranges on counter-cyclical payments are provided as these payments will vary from year to year as prices change relative to the target price.


e-mail: erobinson@primediabusiness.com