By R. Brent Young – Colorado State University Regional Extension Specialist, Agriculture & Business Management
The Agricultural Act of 2018 provides farmers and ranchers with a unique opportunity to custom design the Title 1 Commodity Programs and Title 11 Crop Insurance Programs to meet the needs of their individual operations. Growers will be able to update Price Loss Coverage (PLC) yields, choose between three different commodity programs, and consider the addition of the supplemental crop insurance product.
In order to help producers navigate through this process and to arrive at the best decision for their particular operation, the USDA has awarded funding to two land grant university lead coalitions who have developed Internet based, nation-wide farm bill decision aids. These decision aids were developed solely to provide information so producers can better understand the economic implications of their choices under the 2018 Farm Bill.
One of the tools was developed by the National Coalition for Producer Education (NCPE), led by the University of Illinois. This tool can be accessed on the Internet at the following URL: https://fd-tools.ncsa.illinois.edu/. In order to use this tool you will need your PLC yields for each Farm Service Agency (FSA) farm (this information can be secured
at your local FSA office).
This decision tool is very user friendly and can be operated on smart phones, tablets or personal computers. Most producers who operate one to three FSA farms with up to 4 covered commodities will find that this tool will meet their needs. Producers who have more complex operations that include several FSA farms in different counties or states may find the second tool developed by National Association of Agriculture and Food Policy (NAAFP), led by Texas A&M University to be a better choice. This tool can be found online at https://www.afpc.tamu.edu/tools/farm/farmbill/2018/.
This tool requires producers to submit the same data as the NCPE version but has the capability of producing a more detailed analysis. Producers that input planted acreage and yield data for program crops from 2013-2017 (crop insurance data or elevator settlement sheets) will also be able to determine if they may update their PLC yields.
To paraphrase an old television commercial “The Agricultural Act of 2018 is not your father’s Farm Bill”. The NCPE and NAAFP tools are available to help you navigate through the process.