WILLMAR -- Included in the 2008 farm bill was a new optional program that was designed to protect farmers against revenue losses that resulted from low prices, poor crops or a combination of both.
The first year that the Average Crop Revenue Election program was offered to farmers was 2009. Farmers that elected to participate in the program that year are now receiving the first payments ever issued under this unique program.
In order to receive a payment under the Average Crop Revenue Election program, revenue "triggers" for a commodity must be met on both a state and farm basis.
To determine if the state trigger was met, USDA used the 2009 state average yield of the specific crop, along with the crop's national average price during the 2009 marketing year.
The marketing year for 2009 small grain crops was June 1, 2009, to May 31, 2010. For 2009 corn and soybeans, the marketing year was Sept. 1, 2009, to Aug. 31, 2010.
In Minnesota, the only 2009 crops that met the state trigger were wheat, oats, barley and dry peas. Therefore, the only Minnesota producers that qualify for a revenue payment are those that planted wheat, oats, barley or dry peas in 2009, assuming that the farm trigger was also met for the crop.
All states bordering Minnesota also met the state triggers for wheat, oats and barley, except North Dakota, which did not meet the state trigger for wheat.
The only bordering state that met the state trigger for corn was North Dakota. No bordering states met the trigger for soybeans.
According to USDA, an estimated $420 million in 2009-crop Average Crop Revenue Election program payments will be issued. Crops receiving payments include wheat, corn, barley, dry peas, grain sorghum, lentils, oats, peanuts, soybeans and upland cotton.
Of the $420 million in payments, about 70 percent is expected to be issued to wheat producers and 23 percent to corn producers. About 80 percent is expected to be issued to producers in Oklahoma, Washington, Illinois, South Dakota, Idaho and North Dakota.
Pope County soybean disaster program sign-up ends Dec. 9
In late October, officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it was authorizing up to $550 million in disaster assistance payments to rice, upland cotton, sweet potatoes and soybean producers that suffered losses because of excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009.
Applications are being accepted at local Farm Service Agency offices through Dec. 9.
To qualify for a payment under the Crop Assistance Program, producers must have had a qualifying loss in a county that received a secretarial disaster declaration due to excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009.
Pope County is the only designated county in west central Minnesota that is considered eligible for the Crop Assistance Program. To qualify, land must be physically located in Pope County. Producers will need to apply at the Farm Service Agency office that administers the land in Pope County.
Farmers who certify that they had a 5 percent or greater loss on soybeans due to excess moisture or related conditions in 2009 will receive a predetermined payment of $15.62 per acre.
For a quantity loss, producers must be able to provide documentation to verify a 5 percent or greater production loss from the Pope County 2009 average soybean yield of 33 bushels per acre, or the farm's actual production history used for crop insurance purposes.
Quality losses can also qualify producers for assistance. To qualify for a quality loss due to excess moisture, the soybean moisture content at time of harvest must have averaged 15.1 percent or more.
Per-acre payment rates will be prorated to assure that the total payments issued do not exceed the $550 million allocated for the program. Therefore, producers will initially receive 75 percent of their calculated payment at time of application. Once sign-up is complete, they will receive an additional payment up to 25 percent.
Scientists sequence the turkey genome
Scientists from USDA's Agricultural Research Service and their university colleagues have sequenced the majority of the genome of the domesticated turkey, creating the first-ever turkey genome map.
The information gained from these genetic studies will help geneticists develop improved commercial breeds that will meet the demands of consumers. Turkey producers will also benefit by being able to raise bigger and meatier turkeys.
Turkey is the fourth most popular meat in the United States, with nearly 6 billion pounds produced annually. Americans consume about 17.6 pounds of turkey per capita annually.
Nelson is executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Kandiyohi County.