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!
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.
Last week was enjoyable working with farmers on Farm Bill decisions. I’ve decided to work with producers on an individual basis. If you are interested in help looking at your potential options using the Texas A&M model or would like another set of eyes to make sure the data was inputted correctly, please call (402) 762-3644 and Deanna or Holli will get you scheduled for a time.
One caveat is that this model is only as good as the data you input into it and your decisions
are based on where you feel potential prices the next five years will be. You need your CC yields and base acres from FSA as well as production history since at least 2008 (2003 if you wish to run crop insurance tool). Requesting a copy of the FSA “eraser sheet” is a great tool to check on planted and crop production planted acres and to see if reallocated base jives with the computer program. The Texas A&M simulation at https://usda.afpc.tamu.edu/ isn’t difficult to run, but it can be confusing as to what number to input where. Begin by registering at the site by providing an email address and password. Then login and you will see the following screen.
If you do not want to look at crop insurance decision but wish to consider the first three decisions, then for counties such as Clay County with COMBINED irrigated and dryland county yields, completing the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) Yield Worksheet (CCC-859) from FSA with your combined irrigated and dryland yields for each FSA number will greatly aid you in inputting the data. For counties with any splits in irrigated and dryland yields, I recommend placing irrigated and dryland production separately on the top of the PLC Yield worksheet, and then combining production by crop towards the bottom of the worksheet. Regardless of if your county has the opportunity for a split irrigated/non-irrigated payment, all CC yields in Nebraska are combined by crop (regardless of irrigation or not), so FSA will want a combined yield by crop on their form.
EACH crop needs to be entered as a separate farm unit. I have created a fake account to walk you through a simulation.
For entering separate crop insurance tracts, the CC yield should remain the same for all dryland tracts under one FSA farm number (same for irrigated). However, you will have to split out base acres amongst the tracts and you need to make sure the acres inputted add up; please double check this!
For your yield update and base reallocation information: For some of you, the base reallocation acres in the tool have been slightly different than what you received from FSA office. That may be because risk management agency (RMA) acres were used and were different than the production acres FSA had on file. You need to use the FSA acres for planted acres when using this model if they differ from the RMA ones.
When running this model, on many farms PLC + SCO looks favorable for some crops. A word of caution, you can consider PLC but should not consider SCO in your decision if you have not broken everything out into crop insurance tracts and included 10 years of production history into the tool. So in the decision of reallocating base acres or not, in the final summary section that gives you total numbers, anytime PLC+SCO is shown for a particular crop and you have not included the proper crop insurance info, you need to re-calculate the final total by hand using PLC ONLY from the table above that area. It normally doesn’t change the outcome that the decision tool provides, but it can. I’m not saying that SCO shouldn’t be considered, what I’m saying is that the numbers provided in the tool are not accurate if you have not inputted the data in the way needed to look at crop insurance decisions.
Some of you have questioned why PLC even lists a payment when prices are inputted higher than the benchmark price of $3.70 for corn, etc. The Texas A&M tool is giving you essentially a bell curve of 500 random outputs with the distribution of that curve around the particular price you input for each crop. So with every given price you input, there’s a certain probability that the price will be at, above, or below that particular price. That’s essentially what the red, green, yellow bars are showing you on the analysis. So you’re assessing where you feel prices will be, what decision will allow you to best sleep at night, the potential of spreading out risk with several farm numbers by choosing different options, etc. You can also view the YouTube videos from Texas A&M with more information!