Base Acres Deadline Extended


by Chris Clayton,  DTN Ag Policy Editor

PHOENIX (DTN) — USDA is extending the deadline to reallocate base acres and update yields from Feb. 27 to March 31, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told farmers at Commodity Classic Friday.

“We want to give folks a little additional time to do that,” Vilsack said in his speech at the Commodity Classic general session. “Today, we're announcing we're going to extend the time to reallocate base acres and update yields to March 31. That should give folks plenty of time to get that work done.”

The Classic audience applauded the announcement.

Following his speech, Vilsack told reporters the extension was mainly in response to Southern producers who were having a more difficult time understanding reallocation because of the way cotton acres are converted to “generic” base acres.

Without a geographical breakdown, Vilsack said roughly 60{18648621dc58566f60964eb5074c58f5f97501fe95033d5d25ee4862e704a74a} of people who need to make decisions on base acres have done so.

During this speech, Vilsack also touched on the Agricultural Risk Coverage-Price Loss Coverage decision farmers must also make by March 31. The secretary seemed to indicate that choice would not be extended. “That would be like you as parents telling kids you have another week to do your homework,” Vilsack said.

With another month before the ARC-PLC deadline, Vilsack said about 500,000 producers have already made their election of commodity program. “But we still have a ways to go,” he said. “We want to make sure we don't jam up the system at the end. If you have got that election and are ready to make it, you still have time to change it if you have second thoughts, but I encourage folks to get with their FSA office and get this done.”

About 30{18648621dc58566f60964eb5074c58f5f97501fe95033d5d25ee4862e704a74a} of eligible farmers have made their choice between ARC and PLC, a percentage that Vilsack said has increased significantly in recent weeks.

Vilsack said USDA would continue to monitor the ARC-PLC enrollment up to the end to see if an extension is needed.


Landowners have the “sole right” to make determinations on reallocating base acres and yields. Farmers who haven't heard from landlords on base-acre decisions should give them a call — now.

Landowners are allowed to reallocate base acres among crops planted on that ground from 2009-2012. The 2014 Agricultural Act does not allow farmers to add acres to base that were not already enrolled under the old farm bill.

For updating yields on those base acres, farmers use the years 2008-2012. Yields can be updated to up to 90{18648621dc58566f60964eb5074c58f5f97501fe95033d5d25ee4862e704a74a} of those 2008-2012 averages. Farmers can also go with the plug yield, which is 75{18648621dc58566f60964eb5074c58f5f97501fe95033d5d25ee4862e704a74a} of the county average from 2008-2012.

Landowners have the option of updating yield on some crops but keeping the old yield on other crops if they choose. A simple rule of thumb on yield: Go with the highest average, whether that is the old base yield or a new one after calculating the planting history.

Landowners do not have to reallocate or adjust yields, but there could be advantages to doing both. At least some economists last fall said the decisions made in regarding base-acre reallocations and yield updates could be deciding factors over whether a farm is profitable in the years to come.




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