Category Archives: Farm Bill

ARC-IC and Illinois Tool

I hadn’t been considering ARC-IC for many situations as it seemed like one had to have 100% prevent plant in 2019 in order for it to trigger. However, I received enough calls from those with hail damage in 2019 to take another look at this.

Purdue University put together a great video that explains ARC-IC and situations where ARC-IC may trigger (two examples listed below). Check it out here: https://youtu.be/AwCMySwjWT4.

If you had the following two situations, it may be beneficial to check out ARC-IC.

  1. 100% prevent plant for 2019
  2. Planted entire farm but 2019 yields were below average (20% or more production loss)

NOTE: You will need to have worked through your 2013-2017 yields and also 2019 yields in order to look at ARC-IC. Yields for each crop need to be combined for irrigated and non-irrigated (blended yield) by year. If you have several tracts within a farm number, all the yields for same crop regardless of irrigation practice need to be combined by year. Doing this also allows you to look at any potential to update PLC yields.

The Texas A&M tool doesn’t allow one to look at ARC-IC. I realize I haven’t recommend the Illinois tool. However, they created a second tool (2018 Farm Bill What if Tool) and I apologize as I hadn’t been back to their site since December to see this. The first tool looks at the life of the farm bill and I felt it wasn’t as accurate because this is a 2 year decision instead of 5 year. However, the second tool looks at 2019-2020 and it also is very helpful when considering ARC-IC for single or multiple farms. This blog post will hopefully help you work through the Illinois “What If” tool for considering ARC-IC found at https://farmdoc.illinois.edu/2018-farm-bill.

Illinois tool.PNG

I recommend using the ‘2018 Farm Bill What if Tool’. Download the tool and it will appear as an excel spreadsheet. Enable editing.

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At the bottom of the spreadsheet, you will see multiple tabs. Click on “arc-ic” if you’re interested in looking at only 1 farm number. The yellow boxes within the sheet contain either dropdown menus or can have data entered into them. Use the dropdown menus to select State, County, Number of crops, Crop (be patient and wait as it will think before changing the cell). Select “yes or no” from dropdown regarding which years the crop was planted and enter in the yield for that year for that crop. Remember the yield is the blended yield of irrigated/non-irrigated and for every tract within a farm number. Do this for each crop. *Note, in this example, the 2013 hail storm in this same area of the State also impacted yields.

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This shows the calculations. When the crop wasn’t planted, the county yield is used. When the yearly yield is less than the County Yield, 80% of the T-Yield is automatically used. The yields are then multiplied by the higher of the market year average price or effective reference price to determine benchmark revenues. An Olympic Average (throw out high and low then average the other three revenues) is then determined for each individual crop.

arc ic single payment.PNG

For ARC-IC, the total base acres get combined together. So if there were 92.8 total base acres for the farm, and the other crop wasn’t planted, I put the total base acres into the crop that was planted. If both crops were planted, I split the base acres and entered the 2019 yields for each crop. If the farm was 100% prevent plant or had some portion of farm in prevent plant, make sure to designate those acres as such. I have been seeing this trigger for hail or other impacts to yield for 2019 if the loss was at least 20% of the 2013-2017 yields. In this case, the grower could receive a pretty substantial payment of around $47/base acre for 2019. Even if there’s no payment for 2020, this type of payment for 2019 far exceeds what is expected for potential payments from either ARC-CO or PLC at this time.

So what if you had more than one farm in a significant hail damaged area? You can also use this tool to look at multiple farms. 

arc ic multi

In the spreadsheet tab select “arc-ic-multi”. Select your state from drop-down menu. Then select how many farms you’re interested in looking at arc-ic and the crops. Be patient as it takes time for the tool to change cells. Then enter in your data for each farm. You will need to enter the total number of FSA base acres for that farm number (it’s not split by crop).

comparing arc ic multi

Once all the farm yields are entered, you can look at potential payments for individual farms by simply selecting “yes or no” in the expected payments portion at the end of the spreadsheet. You can also see what happens to potential payments when you select “yes” on multiple farms. Note:  for all farms enrolled in ARC-IC, all the base acres will be combined regardless of crop and regardless of farm number to determine payment per base acre and payment will be applied to 65% of total base acres.

This is very farm and situation dependent. If several farms are within one farm number and one farm had significant loss but the other(s) didn’t, it may not trigger ARC-IC. Same thing for prevent plant acres (if a portion of farm is planted and part is prevent plant, the yield of planted acres may result in too much revenue to trigger ARC-IC).

Situations where ARC-IC tends to trigger best are:

  1. When there’s one farm within one farm number and that farm either went 100% prevent plant or had a yield loss of 20% or greater for 2019.
  2. When there’s several farms within one farm number but all had 100% prevent plant and/or significant yield losses in 2019.

Hopefully this is helpful if you’re considering ARC-IC!

Additional Farm Bill Info: 

Farm Bill Decision Information

Farm Bill Decision Information
Jenny Rees, Extension Educator York & Seward Counties

*Caveat: This information is shared with the intent to better help growers make farm bill decisions with the best information we have available at this time. There is no guarantee of program payments or how the information below impacts individual farms. Ultimately, the decision is that of the person enrolling and making the program elections for the Farm Bill.

Deadline: Growers should make appointments now at your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to complete ARC/PLC election and enrollment forms. The deadline to enroll is Monday, March 16 for the 2019 crop year. You can change your elections up to March 16, 2020. Growers who don’t get enrolled by then will be ineligible to receive ARC or PLC payments for the 2019 crop year.

ARC-CO vs. PLC: This decision is different than the 2014 Farm Bill. We’re in a different price situation (lower prices) and the decision right now for 2018 Farm Bill is a 2-year decision (2019-2020), not the life of the farm bill. Please don’t assume that you should stay enrolled in what you were before.

Working through farm situations from different counties, for corn, PLC tends to be favored more than ARC-CO regardless if the farm had more irrigated or non-irrigated acres. However, soybean tends to favor PLC for a higher irrigated percentage and ARC-CO for farms with little to no irrigation. This does vary by county, so soybean can go either way. The reality is there may not be a soybean payment for either election. Wheat and sorghum tend to favor PLC. You’re only making this decision for two years. You can change your decision for 2021.

ARC-CO Calculation: To understand what potential price it may take for ARC-CO to trigger for any crop in your county, there’s a simple calculation you can do. Ask your local FSA Office for their 2019 Guaranteed Revenues and 2019 Benchmark Yields for each crop (updated February 2020).

Take your county guaranteed revenue for a specific crop and divide that by the county benchmark yield for that crop. For example, for irrigated corn in York County, the 2019 Guaranteed Revenue was $731.07. The 2019 Benchmark Yield (which is an Olympic average yield from 2013-2017) for irrigated corn in York County was 229.75 bu/ac. Taking $731.07/229.75 = $3.18. Based on these numbers a payment would not be triggered for irrigated corn in York County until a price of $3.18 is achieved. This is in comparison to PLC in which the trigger is $3.70 for the corn price (and we’re a lot closer to $3.70 than $3.18). Many of the counties for this area of the State were coming in at $3.18 corn price (irrigated and non-irrigated) in order for ARC-CO to trigger. This helps with decision making as it leans towards enrolling in PLC for corn. You can use this same calculation for other crops such as soybean, wheat, sorghum, etc. and compare the prices obtained vs. the PLC price for that crop.

PLC Yield Update: Your local FSA office can provide a sheet showing what yield is necessary to update your PLC yield for each crop. This can also be determined by taking your current PLC Yield and divide by 0.81. For example, a PLC corn yield of 190/0.81=234.57 bu/ac. Crop Insurance forms are necessary to determine if you can update yields. You will need the yields from 2013-2017. Use the Actual yields (designated with an ‘A’, not APH yields). Take the irrigated and non-irrigated yields for each farm number and divide by total acres to determine the blended yield for each farm number. If the yield is equal to or greater than the yield you need to prove for any of your crops on each farm number, your PLC yield can be updated for that crop. Landlords need to sign the form for updating PLC yields. They do not need to sign the form for election of ARC-CO or PLC if the ground is in cash rent.

Seed Corn Yields: To determine seed corn yields, if no commercial corn is grown in rotation on the farm, use the Plant Base Yield (PBY) not to exceed 120% of the county irrigated corn yield. For example, in 2013, York County Irrigated Corn Yield was 235.92 bu/ac. Multiply this by 120% = 283. 10 bu/ac. Compare this to the PBY for the same year and use the lower of the two numbers. If the farm has commercial corn in addition to seed corn in the rotation, the grower has the choice of applying the commercial corn yield or the equivalent seed corn yield as explained previously.

Decision Support Tools: If you use a decision support tool, I’m not recommending to use the Illinois tool. The Texas A&M tool considers your two-year decision. This blog post (https://go.unl.edu/texasam) has step-by-step screen shots to help if you wish to use the tool.

Historical Irrigated Percentage (HIP) is taken into account for the ARC-CO payments. For those using the Texas A&M decision tool, you will see a box to input HIP. There is an area for HIP on the 156EZ form. Counties that had to split out irrigated vs. non-irrigated acres for certain crops in the 2014 Farm Bill will have a HIP listed. Counties that didn’t have to do this will not have one listed. For those with the HIP listed, it may or may not be accurate depending on if you incorporated/lost irrigated ground in the past 5 years. For purposes of the Texas A&M tool, you can use your best estimate of irrigated vs. non-irrigated percentage. You can also adjust that estimate to see how it impacts potential payments.

 

JenREES 2-2-20

Been getting questions on the farm bill. It’s really important that growers make appointments now at your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to complete your ARC/PLC election and enrollment forms. Deadline to enroll is Monday, March 16 for the 2019 crop year. The election can be changed up to March 16. Growers who don’t get enrolled by then will be ineligible to receive ARC or PLC payments for the 2019 crop year.

If you use a decision support tool, I’m not recommending to use the Illinois tool as it takes into consideration the life of the farm bill. This is a two-year decision, thus, the potential payment numbers tend to be skewed and makes ARC-CO look more favorable than what it most likely will be. The Texas A&M tool considers a two-year decision and that’s the tool Randy Pryor and I recommend. On my blog, there’s step-by-step screen shots to help if you wish to use the tool. You can find it and previous blog posts at jenreesources.com. In the right-hand column under “categories” select “farm bill”.

Using the tool to work through farm situations from different counties, PLC keeps beating ARC-Co for corn. There’s a separation between the price it could take to trigger ARC-Co (previously around $3.18 for many counties) vs. PLC ($3.70) for corn. I’ve also played with the historical irrigation percentage (HIP). Everytime I’ve changed the HIP % for corn (0, 25, 50, 75, 100), it doesn’t switch the potential payment decision from PLC to ARC-Co. However, when I look at soybean, it’s tended to favor PLC for a higher irrigated percentage and ARC-Co for farms with little to no irrigation. This does vary by county, so soybean can go either way. If you’re really undecided, check this for yourself. You’re only making this decision for 2 years and there may not be a soybean payment for either election. Ultimately elections are your decision and the tools and info hopefully help as we can’t predict what prices will do.

Pesticide, Dicamba, Chemigation Trainings: I’ve also received questions regarding pesticide, dicamba, and chemigation trainings. If you haven’t received a postcard from NDA to pay the $25 bill within 14-17 days after training, please call the Extension Office in the county where you took the training; they can follow-up with NDA. The postcard will have a link to pay the $25 fee online. For those who don’t like paying online, you can also send a $25 check to NDA and include the postcard. For those who attended my training when I ran out of materials, I now have more so you are welcome to stop at the York Co. Extension Office and get the study guide and weed guide.

If you attend a face-to-face dicamba training through Extension or Ag Industry, please bring your pesticide applicator card as a pesticide applicator number is needed for registration. If you are a new applicator this year, you will write “pending” on the registration form. There is no charge for dicamba training, and the same training can be completed online at: https://pested.unl.edu/dicamba. Watching it at home as a group doesn’t work well because only one applicator number is entered to watch the training; there’s no way to add additional ones. Each person would have to be on his/her own device watching the training. Allow one week for your name to be added to NDA’s dicamba certified applicators on their site at: https://nda.nebraska.gov/pesticide/dicamba.html. Download the excel spreadsheet under ‘dicamba applicator training’ and make sure your name is listed. Then print the spreadsheet and keep it for your records.

For those recertifying for chemigation, you are allowed to watch the modules and take the test at home this year at: https://water.unl.edu/article/agricultural-irrigation/chemigation. This is only for recertifications. Initial certifications can watch the modules from home but still need to take the test at an Extension office. Anyone seeking initial or recertification is also welcome to attend face to face training.

JenREES 12-22-19

Thanks to Randy Pryor, Extension Educator Emeritus, for reviewing this article. Also, appreciate the growers who shared data and Farm Service Agency (FSA) personnel from several counties who answered my questions. Here’s more farm bill information.

PLC Yield: A few weeks ago, I mentioned you can obtain a sheet from your local FSA Office which shows PLC yields and necessary yield in order to increase PLC yield. If you don’t have that sheet, you can use your 156EZ form. Take your PLC yield and divide by 0.81 to get the yield necessary to increase your PLC yield. For example, a PLC corn yield of 190/0.81= 234.57 bu/ac. Your 2013-2017 RMA actual yields would need to show you’ve achieved at least 234.57 bu/ac in order to increase your PLC yield.

Seed Corn Yields: For seed corn yields, if the farm has commercial corn in addition to seed corn in rotation, the commercial corn yield will be applied to the seed corn. If no commercial corn is grown in rotation on the farm, use the Plant Base Yield (PBY) not to exceed 120% of the county irrigated corn yield. For example, in 2013, York County Irrigated Corn Yield was 235.92 bu/ac. Multiply this by 120% = 283.10 bu/ac. Compare this to the PBY for the same year and use the lower of the two numbers.

Historical Irrigated Percentage (HIP) is taken into account for ARC-CO payments. For those of you who are using the Texas A&M decision tool, you will see a box to input HIP. As you look at your 156EZ form, you will see an area for HIP. Counties that had to split out irrigated vs. non-irrigated acres for certain crops in the 2014 Farm Bill will have a HIP listed. Counties that didn’t have to do this will not have one listed. For those with HIP listed, it may or may not be accurate depending on if you incorporated/lost irrigated ground in the past 5 years. For purposes of the Texas A&M tool, you can use your best estimate of irrigated vs. non-irrigated percentage.

ARC-CO Calculation: Regardless if you’d like to try the Texas A&M tool or not, you can also get an idea of the price in which ARC-CO would trigger a 2019 payment by doing a simple calculation. Take your county guaranteed revenue and divide that by the county benchmark yield. For example, for irrigated corn in York County, the 2019 Guaranteed Revenue is $731.07. The 2019 Benchmark Yield (which is an Olympic average yield from 2013-2017) for irrigated corn in York County is 229.75 bu/ac. Taking $731.07/229.75= $3.18. What this means is that based on these numbers, if the York County RMA Yield comes in at 229.75 bu/ac, which is a trend adjusted yield, a payment would not be triggered for ARC-CO for irrigated corn in York County until a $3.18 corn price is achieved. This is in comparison to PLC in which the trigger is $3.70 for the corn price. Many of the counties in which I’ve done this calculation for irrigated corn have around a $3.18 trigger price for ARC-CO currently. That alone tells you a lot regarding decision making. If the trendline yield remains close to current one, it leans towards enrolling in PLC for irrigated corn, but it is a two year decision. You can also try other figures (ex. trying 235 and 220 bu/ac) if you think the trendline yields may be higher or lower than the current estimate to see other potential ARC Co price triggers.

Randy Pryor shared a spreadsheet with me from USDA that had all the yearly yields, trend yields, and revenue guarantees for each county and each crop in Nebraska to date. I’ve placed tables with these numbers on my blog at jenreesources.com for the counties in which I helped growers for the 2014 Farm Bill. You can also ask your FSA Office if they can provide this information for you.

FSA Meetings: If you missed the Farm Bill meetings and would like to better understand the differences between the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills, please contact your local FSA Office. Many of them are having small meetings certain days of the week but can’t share which way you should enroll.

Texas A&M Decision Aid: Randy Pryor and I are recommending that if you use a decision aid, that you use the Texas A&M one. For those of you I worked with during the 2014 farm bill, I have your username and password if you no longer do. You can also reset it by calling their help line. I’ve assembled screen shots at https://go.unl.edu/texasam that walk you step by step through inputting data into the tool. If you have questions, please let me know. Hoping this is helpful!

*End News Column. County tables below.


York Co.Seward Co.Adams Co.Butler Co.Clay Co.Custer Co.Dawson Co.Fillmore Co.Franklin Co.Hamilton Co.Harlan Co.Kearney Co.Nuckolls Co.Pierce Co.Polk Co.Thayer Co.Wayne CoWebster Co.

Additional Farm Bill Info: 

Entering data into Texas A&M Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool

*Special thanks to Randy Pryor, Extension Educator Emeritus for reviewing this information.

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You will need your FSA156EZ form which can be obtained from your local FSA Office. It will show you farm numbers, base acres, PLC yields for each of your farms. For counties that had split irrigated and non-irrigated yields in the 2014 Farm Bill, there will be a Historical Irrigated Percentage (HIP) listed on your 156EZ as well. For counties that had combined irrigated and non-irrigated yields, there will be no HIP (as shown on this form). A HIP would not take into account 2013-2017 production, thus, if you added irrigated acres during that time, you would need to consider that in your HIP percentage. You will need to add a HIP for the Texas A&M Farm Bill Decision Aid. If one isn’t listed on your FSA156EZ or if your HIP has changed the past 5 years, use your best estimate.

The Texas A&M Farm Bill Decision Aid can be found at: www.afpc.tamu.edu/tools/farm/farmbill/2018. You will need to first login using your email and password (If you used the tool for the 2014 Farm Bill decision, it will take the same email and password. I have them for growers I helped with the 2014 Farm Bill). Otherwise, if you can’t remember it, you can request help from the developers (Phone: 979-845-5913 or Email: info@afpc.tamu.edu. Some have said it takes a long time to receive a response). If you’ve never used it, register with an email and password. If you forgot your password and didn’t receive a response, perhaps consider signing up with a new email address. Just be sure to keep the email and password with your farm bill info. for future decision aid tools!

Farm Bill 1

I haven’t found any data that was entered in 2014 to be in this 2018 decision aid thus far. Thus, you will need to click on “new farm” and you will see the above screen appear. Enter your FSA Farm Number, State, County, and one crop for that farm number. Then click ‘save’.

Farm Bill 2

You will then see this screen appear. If you have another crop with base acres on the same farm number, click on “add another crop” and repeat as many times as necessary until all crops with base acres are added for that farm number.

Farm Bill 4

Once all your crops are entered for the farm number, click on “expected payments tool”.

Farm Bill 5

You can now use your 156EZ to enter base acres, PLC Yield, HIP, and expected prices. For simplicity, you can anticipate PLC yield to be same in 2020 as 2019. USDA projects prices in the right-hand column. I would recommend to run the simulation using their prices first (click on “use these”). You can always go back and play with prices. Then click on “recalculate” button. Note: The “advanced settings” can be used to hone in on county yields as we get closer to February and more accurately predict 2019 payments.

Farm Bill 6

The program will show possible payments based on 500 simulations of anticipated outcomes from the data you entered. Be patient and wait for the numbers to appear. It will give you mean potential payments on this view.

Farm Bill 7

In order to better understand payment potential, click on the dollar amounts. For example, I clicked on 2019 PLC $558 and you can see additional information appears. There’s no really good explanation of this information in the tool, so here’s how to better understand it. The mean is the true average of 500 runs. Each percentile shows the maximum potential payment. In this example, there’s a 75% chance of a payment $958 or less and 90% chance of a payment of $2002 or less.

Farm Bill 8

You can then go back to ‘home’ and repeat the steps clicking on “expected payment tool” in order to enter data for other crops under the same farm number. (Note: always be sure to check the crop on the upper part of the screen as for some reason, it seems to default to soybean).

Farm Bill 9

This is showing the output for corn in this simulation with a mean PLC payment of $1744. With current prices, we’re just in a different situation compared to where we were making decisions for the previous farm bill.

You can then repeat these steps for each farm number to get an idea of potential payments for all crops under each farm number. This is a tool to help with your decisions with the best information possible at this time. Hopefully this is helpful for you and please share any comments/questions below.

Additional Farm Bill Info: 

JenREES 12-8-19

Farm Bill: A special thank you to Leann Nelson and her staff from the York/Hamilton

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County Farm Service Agency (FSA) for their help in Friday’s Farm Bill meeting in York! We had 130 pre-registered with at least double that actually attending. Greatly appreciate their help keeping coffee going and the help with set up and tear down! Farm bill decisions are complicated. For this column, I will provide a little perspective and also some first steps for consideration. In future columns, I will walk through options for decision making using the Texas A&M tool and other calculations.

Perspective: We need to keep in mind the current decision is for the 2019-2020 signup only…not the life of the farm bill. The decisions for the 2014 farm bill were extra daunting when we had to speculate what would happen with prices for the duration of the farm bill in addition to considering base acre reallocations. So, this two-year decision followed by the opportunity to change annually from 2021-2023 may be a blessing and take a little pressure off as you’re not ‘stuck’ with your decision for five years.

First Steps: Currently you need to: make an election for 2019/2020 and enroll for 2019, enroll for 2020, and determine whether or not you will update your yields. Your program election and enrollment for 2019 need to be complete by March 15, 2020; enrollment for 2020 by June 30, 2020; and your PLC yield update deadline is September 30, 2020. With making crop insurance decisions these winter months and having RMA data fresh on your mind, consider looking at yield updates now instead of waiting. My recommendations for first steps:

1-Contact your local FSA Office asking for their yield spreadsheet that shows your yields and base acres for each farm number. The spreadsheet will also show what actual yield is necessary in order to update your PLC yields. Even if you choose ARC-CO for your program election, it’s important to at least look at PLC yields as this gives you the opportunity to increase them in the event you ever choose PLC in the future. Because of the adjustment factors, a substantial yield improvement may be necessary to update PLC yield. So, knowing what yield you actually need in order to update can save you time before going through all your RMA data. Any yield updates will apply only to the 2020 year and beyond (not to 2019).

If you choose to update yields, you will need to use actual yields (designated with ‘A’) on your crop insurance forms (not APH). Sometimes crop insurance units are on the same sheet encompassing several farm numbers-so be aware of that as you will need to separate them out (irrigation practice doesn’t matter). If a crop insurance unit includes multiple FSA numbers, you can pro-rate those bushels to split the unit using acres. You also could go back to yield map data or scale tickets if you prefer. Ultimately, keep records of how you determine your yield updates as you will need them if you are spot-checked anytime before the end of this farm-bill period. The landowner also needs to sign off on the yield update and Power of Attorney (POA) is acceptable. The 2014 and 2018 farm bills specified that PLC yield could be certified from a minimum of 0.01 acres planted 1 year of the farm bill period. Randy Pryor shared that with me and he would recommend planting at least 1 acre. He had a grower with milo base acres who planted a 25 acre milo plot one time during the last farm bill period; it yielded well allowing him to update his milo yield. We don’t know what future farm bill rules will entail yet something to consider for the next 5 years if rules for PLC yield updates end up the same as the previous farm bills.

2-If you have any idea on farm program elections for 2019-2020, make an appointment now with your FSA Office and go ahead and enroll for 2019. They will also work through the enrollment paperwork for 2020 if possible. You can always change your election prior to March 15, 2020! All Farm Bill information can be found at farmbill.unl.edu.

Keeping Stress Levels in Check Webinar: A free webinar will be offered December 17 geared for farm and ranch families. The webinar will take place over the noon hour (12:30 p.m. CST) and can be accessed at go.unl.edu/stresswebinar. This webinar will provide strategies for dealing with the stress of farming or ranching in today’s difficult economic environment.

Additional Farm Bill Info: 

JenREES 11-3-19

York County Corn Grower Plot Results and Banquet: The results of the York County Corn Growers plot can be found at: https://jenreesources.com/2019/11/03/2019-york-county-corn-grower-plot-results/. Special thanks to Ron and Brad Makovicka for their IMG_20191015_094139dedication and work in hosting! Also appreciate all the seed companies who participate! The York County Corn Grower’s Banquet will be held Tuesday, November 26 at Chances ‘R in York with social at 6:30 p.m. and dinner at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased from any York Co. Corn Grower director or at the York Co. Extension Office.

Fall Nitrogen Application: With November here, a reminder to check soil temperatures before applying anhydrous ammonia to crop fields. Soil microbial activity and the rate of conversion of ammonium to nitrate is very low when the soil temperature is less than 50oF. Thus, apply fertilizer-N (and manure) when the soil temperature at the 4” soil depth is below 50°F and trending cooler. Daily and weekly soil temperatures (taken 4” below the surface of bare soil) can be found at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/soiltemperature.

Extension Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management Specialists Javed Iqbal, Charlie Wortmann, Bijesh Maharjan, and Laila Puntel shared additional considerations for fall Nitrogen application in this week’s CropWatch: Apply anhydrous ammonia rather than other N fertilizers; Limit fall application of N to silt loam, silty clay loam, and finer textured soils; Use nitrification inhibitors to slow the conversion of ammonium to nitrate, especially on sand-dominant soils; Avoid fall application on wet soils; and Consider applying a lower base rate of nitrogen in the fall and plan on applying the rest at planting, or as a side-dress application.

On-Farm Research Protocols are available for anyone interested in fall vs. spring nitrogen management studies, inhibitor studies, or other potential on-farm research studies by contacting your local Extension educator. For growers within the UBBNRD interested in on-farm research studies that have a water quality focus, you may be eligible for additional support through the UBBNRD.  In some instances it may cover district staff and equipment use; in others, it may cover a portion of the costs of lab analysis of soil, plant tissue, or water samples. If you’re a grower interested in this type of study, please contact the UBBNRD or your local Extension Educator to talk through your study idea and for additional information.

Farm Bill Meetings: Joint Nebraska Extension and Nebraska Farm Service Agency (FSA) producer education meetings are scheduled at 28 locations across the state from late November to mid-December in advance of the coming ARC/PLC enrollment deadlines in early 2020. The meetings are free and open to the public. Advance registration is encouraged for planning purposes for materials and facilities. Attendees can register for any of the meetings conveniently on the web at farmbill.unl.edu or by calling or visiting their county FSA or Extension office. The educational programs will feature information and insights from FSA specialists and Extension experts, as well as other relevant information from local agencies.

Nearest locations for this area of the State include: Nov. 25. Community Center, Red Cloud (1-4 p.m.); Dec. 3 ENREC near Mead (9-Noon); Dec. 4 Ag Park in Columbus (9-Noon); Dec. 5 College Park in Grand Island (1-4 p.m.); Dec. 5. Opera House, Bruning (1:30-4:30 p.m.); Dec. 6 Fairgrounds Cornerstone Building York (9-Noon); Dec. 16. Extension Office Lincoln (9-Noon); Dec. 17 Fairgrounds 4-H Bldg. Beatrice (9-Noon); Dec. 17 Fairgrounds in Kearney (1-4 p.m.).

JenREES 1-27-19

Farm Bill: I need to clarify something I mentioned last week and I apologize for misunderstanding this. I heard the farm bill presentation for the third time this winter and after asking this question, realized I had misunderstood and incorrectly informed you all last week. This is in regards to base acres and which crops were planted the past 10 years. I incorrectly told you that (for example) if you had sorghum base acres and hadn’t planted sorghum the past 10 years, that your payments would be reduced. It is true that this idea was proposed in negotiations (so keep in mind for the future). However, that idea did not pass; the correct statement is if you planted a crop that is not approved for program payments, your base acre payments will be reduced. So, for example, if you planted industrial hemp instead, which currently is not an eligible crop for program payments, your base acre payments would be reduced. So just wanted to correct this on my end.

York County Corn Grower Tour Feb. 5: The York County Corn Grower’s Association is sponsoring a tour on February 5th. We will meet at the York County Extension Office at 6:45 a.m. and plan to leave for Grand Island by 7:00 a.m. Morning tour stops include the Case IH Axial-Flow Combine Plant followed by Hornady which produces bullets, ammunition, and reloading products. Lunch will be held at Kindaiders Brewery in which attendees will also receive a tour. The group will then tour Klute Manufacturing near Bradshaw which produces Warren dump boxes, Circle D and H&H trailers, pickup flatbeds, and vehicle accessories. The final stop will be the York Agricultural Education Program which was recognized as one of the top six programs in the nation by the National Association of Ag Educators. Attendees must wear closed toed shoes and be able to walk without a cane/walker based on the requirements of the places we’re touring. Please RSVP no later than Feb. 4th to the York County Extension Office at (402) 362-5508.

Nebraska Ag Technologies Association Conference: Learn about the latest developments in precision agriculture technologies January 31 at the Nebraska Agricultural Technology Association (NEATA) Conference. The group’s annual meeting and agriculture industry conference will be held at the Kearney Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Kearney. Conference topics will include precision economics, nutrient and water management, data collection, and precision equipment. Featured guest speakers include Brian Arnall, precision nutrient management extension specialist, Oklahoma State University; Jim Smith, executive director, Blueprint Nebraska; and Cathy Anderson, chief specialist, Nebraska State Farm Services Agency Office. Attendees will also be able to choose from 10 breakout offerings. The conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To view the conference program and register, visit https://neata.org/. The fee is $175 when pre-registering and $195 the day of the conference. Students may register for $25.

Managing Ag Land for the 21st Century: This workshop for current and future landowners and tenants will cover current trends in cash rental rates, lease provisions, and crop and grazing land considerations. There will be two meetings in the area. One on Feb. 12 at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Geneva. The other will be held on Feb. 25 at the Butler County Event Center at the Fairgrounds in David City. Both meetings will begin with registration at 9:15 a.m., with the program starting at 9:30 a.m., and ending by 3:00 p.m.  There is no charge for these programs. To attend in Geneva, please RSVP at (402) 759-3712. To attend in David City, please RSVP at (402) 367-7410.

Hamilton County Ag Day will be held Feb. 13 with registration at 9 a.m. and program from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The program will include updates from Nebraska Corn Growers, Farm Service Agency, and Natural Resources Conservation Service. Additional topics include Managing Soil Microbes 101, Stalk and Grain Quality Concerns with Corn, Land Rental Considerations for 2019, Pivot Wheel Track Management, Corn Stalk Grazing Economics, Benefits of Corn Stalk Grazing, and a weather update from Al Dutcher. There is no charge for the program but please RSVP to (402) 694-6174 for lunch count.

Nebraska Cover Crop and Soil Health Conference will be held Feb. 14 at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (former ARDC) near Mead. The program runs from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. with registration at 8:30 a.m. Topics and presenters include:  “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life,” David R. Montgomery, professor of geomorphology, University of Washington; “Rebuilding and Maintaining Life in the Soil,” Jay Fuhrer, soil health specialist, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bismarck, North Dakota; “How My Farm has Responded to Cover Crops and Crop Rotation,” Ray Ward, founder, Ward Laboratories; “Northeast Nebraska Farmer’s Perspective on Cover Crops,” Jeff Steffen, Crofton farmer; “How I Graze My Cropland Without Owning Livestock,” Scott Heinemann, Winside farmer; and a farmer panel. There is no fee to attend, but individuals must pre-register by 5 p.m. Feb. 8 to ensure meals and resource materials are available. Seating is limited. To register, call 402-624-8030, email cdunbar2@unl.edu or use the form at https://go.unl.edu/tmj5.

JenREES 1-13-19

Thank you to all the committee members, sponsors, exhibitors, presenters, attendees, and media coverage of the York Ag Expo last week! Great to see so many turn out for the educational sessions as well!

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Packed room for chemigation training at York Ag Expo.

Farm Bill: I was extra pleased with the excellent questions and discussion with the afternoon educational sessions at the York Ag Expo. The following are the major changes that Dr. Brad Lubben, Extension Farm Policy Specialist, shared during the Farm Bill imag7264

presentation. Farmers will have the opportunity to make a new election for either ARC-CO or PLC for the years 2019-2020 (a two year decision), after which the decision will be a yearly one (beginning in 2021) until the end of the farm bill period. There’s more changes to the ARC program than PLC. For ARC, the primary source of yield data will most likely be RMA crop insurance data instead of NASS survey data. The 25% factor used to establish ARC-CO coverage by irrigated or non-irrigated practice is no longer in effect. Instead, a farmer can make a request to the FSA committee if not less than 5% of the acreage was irrigated or not less than 5% was non-irrigated during the 2014-2018 crop years. Coverage is now tied to a physical county regardless of administrative county. The plug yield in ARC-CO increased from 70% to 80% of the transitional yield. There will also be a trend yield adjustment similar to the Federal crop insurance trend-adjusted yield endorsement. When Brad showed what this looked like if applied to the previous farm bill, it increased the bu/ac in all the examples he showed. Thus, he speculates it should improve the ARC-CO benchmark. Regarding PLC, producers will have the opportunity to consider updating yields on farms. There’s a specific equation that will be used and because it’s focused more on the 2008-2012 period to help those farms most effected by drought, it may not provide a benefit to all farms. It would still be worth working through the equation just to make sure for your individual farms. The other change to PLC is the equation for the effective reference price. In 2014, several of us in Extension worked individually with you to help you through these decisions using decision support tools. Money was not provided in this farm bill to support the computer tools so we’re still waiting to see if they will be developed. We’re assuming they will be. Yet the decisions this time may be more straightforward with making a decision for the first two years followed by annually vs. the life of the farm bill like what happened in 2014. All resources and information can be found at http://farmbill.unl.edu. Regarding ARC vs. PLC decisions, Brad shared the following points:

  • Under stable, lower price levels, PLC support will kick in before ARC support for downward price movement.
  • Under modestly increasing price levels, ARC and PLC support may quickly disappear.
  • Under substantially higher prices, moving average price in ARC benchmark and moving average price in PLC effective reference price could rachet up support to near equivalent levels.

Survey: Every year in Extension we write annual reports to justify the work we accomplished during the year. Last week I shared a survey link to provide me feedback regarding 2018 efforts. Thank you for those who have responded; I appreciate it!!! The survey truly is anonymous. For those who haven’t responded, I would greatly appreciate your feedback on this short survey at: https://app2.sli.do/event/q2p1sedv/polls. A year ago I changed the way I did my email list and news columns. My hope is that the format is more beneficial for us all in spite of the extra time it takes me each week. I’m genuinely open to and desirous of your feedback. Also, if you’re reading this and would like to be added to my email list, please email me at jrees2@unl.edu and I will add you.

Crop Production Clinics and Nebraska Crop Management Conference: Thank you to all who requested via surveys, emails, or phone calls in 2018 that you wanted to see the Crop Production Clinic back in the area! You were heard and one will be held in York at the Holthus Convention Center on January 17th! You can see the full schedule at http://agronomy.unl.edu/cpc. The Nebraska Crop Management Conference in Kearney on Jan. 28-29 has the same topics as Crop Production Clinics with additional topics and out of state speakers. You can view the registration for that conference at: https://agronomy.unl.edu/NCMC. While I realize many of you attend CPC for specific reasons, there is an opportunity this year to participate in a university research study and be paid for your time. Simanti Banerjee, an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics, is studying producer behaviors in response to farm bill programs. The study will take up to two hours. Average earnings from participating in the study are expected to be up to $100, depending on your decisions and those of other participants. All information collected is confidential and your responses are anonymous and will not be connected to your name. You can read more and register to participate in this study at this site: https://agronomy.unl.edu/crop-production-clinic-study-consent. Looking forward to seeing those who attend the upcoming CPC and NCMC!

Simplification and Accuracy in Texas A&M Farm Bill Decision Tool

As I work with producers and landlords, I’ve seen a variety of understanding and preparation for inputting information into the Texas A&M Farm Bill Decision Tool.  Previous blog posts have shared screenshots for inputting information.  What I will do with this blog post is share how to simplify the time spent inputting information while checking for accuracy of the information inputted.  You will only receive as accurate of information as what you input into the tool!

First, your best friend while inputting is the "eraser sheet" from FSA.  It lists CC yields, base acres, reallocated base, but best yet, it lists planted production by year from 2009-2012.  That seems to be the largest hang-up I have with producers and getting information to turn out correctly.  RMA acre data often includes additional acres that were once pasture or CRP that are now in production but not accounted for in your base acres with FSA.  So you have to use FSA production acres in this tool for the information to come out correctly for your farms.

First, your best friend while inputting is the “eraser sheet” from FSA.  It lists CC yields, base acres, reallocated base, but best yet, it lists planted production by year from 2009-2012.  That seems to be the largest hang-up I have with producers and getting information to turn out correctly.  RMA acre data often includes additional acres that were once pasture or CRP that are now in production but not accounted for in your base acres with FSA.  So you have to use FSA production acres in this tool for the information to come out correctly for your farms.  It also is a life-saver for farms that are joined together or split out….takes the headache out of figuring planted acres in those years!  Note:  The above eraser sheet is just an example so you know what one looks like.  It is NOT used for inputting or double checking in the next several screen shots.

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On the “edit” page when entering a farm unit, at the top of the page, you don’t need a description, but can add one if you wish. To simplify and save time on the bottom half of the page: ONLY entering CC yield and base acres for the specific crop saves a great deal of time. You don’t need basis, crop insurance, or insurance policy if you ARE NOT using this tool to make a crop insurance decision. You also only need “future acres” if you are interested in looking at crop insurance, or if you are interested in evaluating ARC-IC as an option. Inputting “0” for future acres just provides a summary of ARC-Co vs. PLC payment projections.  Then press “save”.

When entering yields, you need to enter one more date after all your yield data has been entered for the data to save properly.  In this example, I have inputted yield data for 2008-2012.  I then added "2013" and pressed "save yield data".  If you input 2013 yields, be sure to add a "2014" instead.  Not doing this step will delete your last row of yield information.

When entering yields, you need to enter one more date after all your yield data has been entered for the data to save properly. In this example, I have inputted yield data for 2008-2012. I then added “2013” and pressed “save yield data”. Not doing this step will delete your last row of yield information.  On “planted acres” use production acres from FSA vs. RMA as this provides the correct acres for base reallocation decision and thus, correct potential payments based on those acres.  2008-2012 is necessary to determine updated yield.  2009-2012 acres are needed for determining base reallocation.  The acres for 2008 will not influence or throw off the acres in this tool.

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For crops in which you have old base acres but you have not produced since 2008, you can enter yields by adding a “0” in them as shown here. This does take time, so you can also skip this step as shown in the next screen shot without affecting your analysis.

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UPDATE: If you wish to save additional time, you DON’T have to enter in “0” for yields for old base acre crops you didn’t plant from 2009-2012. Instead, on the home screen, simply hit “save” after entering in old base acres and CC yield for crops you no longer plant and skip entering yields for these crops. The output is the same (Thanks to Randy Pryor, Nebraska Educator in Saline County for this time-saving tip!)

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Once all your crop information is entered for every one of your farms, you need to double check your data. First, Click on the “Yield Update” decision tool. The first screen shows what you entered and gives you a chance to check your information. Double check that your CC yields are entered correctly and that the yields look correct for what was entered. If the information is correct, then click on the “information is correct” button. If it is not, click on “home” and go back to the crop and farm where the information needs to be corrected. Note that if you had a crop that did not have CC yield on your FSA sheet because you also had no old base acres for that crop, on the “Home” screen enter “0” for CC yield and “0” for base acres.  Then the County plug yield is inserted as the CC yield on this screen.

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You will then see the yield updates for all your crops on all your farms that you inputted. You can print this screen for your information. A couple things to look for on this sheet. Whenever the 2013 CC Yield is higher than PLC Yield, it’s probably wise not to change that yield. Also a note for corn in particular, I like to go through all the farms and highlight the farm with the highest PLC corn yield. When having difficulty making a decision between ARC-Co vs. PLC, crops with highest PLC yields will offer the best PLC payments.

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Next it’s time to look at the “base reallocation decision tool”. The first screen is a double check for you. It’s very important that the current base acres and reallocation acres match what was given you by the FSA office. Not inputting production acres based on FSA records (shown in top table) can throw off the potential base reallocation in the lower table. If the current base and potential reallocation base agrees with what was provided from FSA, simply push the “information is correct” button. If it doesn’t match, you will need to go back to the home screen and change the production acres so that the total production matches up to total base acres each year from 2009-2012 in order for the base reallocation to be correct. One more note: If you have split irrigated and non-irrigated acres, make sure to take a % of base acres assigned to the crop. (Ex. This farm has a total of 50 corn base acres. If 50% your acres are irrigated corn and you were in a county with split irrigated/non-irrigated opportunity, then assign 25 base acres to irrigated corn on the home screen and 25 base acres to non-irrigated corn).  Inputting 50 corn base acres for both irrigated corn and non-irrigated corn would give you a total of 100 base acres which is 50 acres too many and will provide incorrect information.

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Next you have an opportunity to select prices. I typically select USDA prices for all crops first. Then hit the “analyze” button. When the following screen appears, I click “download” then print the PDF that appears one-sided. This ensures that information for each farm number does not end up back to back with another farm number if you print two-sided. I then scroll to the bottom of this page, click “change prices” and click all the FAPRI prices, analyze, download, and print one-sided again. It does take some paper, but you’ll see why I recommend this shortly.  It also allows you to keep farms separate if you’re showing results to landlords and/or tenants.

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Once I print both sets of prices, the gals in my office and I staple together each farm number. We write “high” for FAPRI prices and “low” for USDA prices. I then place the High and Low together by farm number and farm by farm, go through the output with the farmers. Ultimately, I’m looking for trends when both the higher and lower prices agree. In this example, we are first looking at the base acre reallocation decision. Blue bubbles mean higher payments with reallocation; orange means higher payments without reallocation. Look at the bottom line for total payments. Notice in this example that for both low and higher prices, not reallocating the base is consistently higher. To help explain this, look at the base acre information below. What is occurring for this particular farm is a loss of grain base from 132 to 78.5 grain base acres. So essentially for this farm, the increase in corn base acres was not enough to off-set the milo payment from old base. The farmer then has to choose if he/she wants to reallocate base to what is currently planted, or retain base acres to protect grain base and obtain the milo payment. The other thing to notice is the decision of ARC-Co or PLC for each crop and how well they match between high and low prices. In this case, if the farmer chooses no reallocation, PLC is most consistent for milo and corn while ARC-Co is most consistent for soybeans. When both high and lower prices agree like this, it helps make decisions easier.  You can always go back and play with the prices more, but you have to be careful with that.  Remember, your decision ultimately is based on what you feel future prices will be for the next five years.

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The final thing I like to do is analyze the output for higher and lower prices crop by crop, especially for farms where Corn switches decisions on the first page from ARC-Co with FAPRI prices to PLC with USDA prices. It comes down to what the producer feels prices will be the next 5 years. I compare the ARC-Co vs. PLC prices for whichever decision the farmer makes regarding base reallocation. In this example, let’s say the farmer decides to not reallocate his/her acres. We then compare ARC-Co vs. PLC for both FAPRI and USDA prices for each crop. Besides the total payment over the length of the farm bill based on these prices, I also like to compare payments year by year with both options and look at probabilities of those payments based on the projected FAPRI and USDA prices. In this situation, PLC provides higher payments in both higher and lower price situations over the life of the farm bill.  ARC-Co provides slightly larger payments the first one or two years depending on price.  One thing to keep in mind: If FAPRI prices are correct, then the PLC payments for years 2015-2018 go to $0 because FAPRI is estimating prices above the $3.70 trigger price for corn. So why does the tool show a PLC payment for FAPRI prices? It is taking into account 500 scenarios at one time that all have a chance of occurring in the future and the probability of payment if prices are at, above, or below the predicted FAPRI price for each year.  Same for USDA prices.  So it’s important to always keep this in mind when analyzing the results.

Hopefully this post was helpful to you in understanding how to simplify your input into this tool, to understand the importance of accuracy, and to understand one way of analyzing data from the Texas A&M Decision tool!  You can view more information by checking out these YouTube videos.

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