Farm Bill Strategies

January - March 2003

Steven Johnson , farm and agricultural business management field specialist

Situation
The 2002 Farm Bill was signed into law by President Bush on May 13, 2002. Producers and landowners felt the impact of the new six-year federal legislation immediately nationwide with the changes in the 2002 crop loan rates. In addition, sign-up would be required later in the year for the new commodity program at the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices.

For the first time since 1986, producers and landowners could choose to update base acres and yields on their farms. These decisions would then determine direct and counter-cyclical payments provided annually through the 2007 crop production year.

Response
Within one week of the Farm Bill being signed, state and field farm management specialists attended a national training event. Within three weeks a statewide in-service was held. Partnerships with the USDA, FSA, as well as the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation were formed.

An Iowa State University Extension Web site was created along with an excel spreadsheet to help analyze each farm's base and yield decisions. Local FSA and Farm Bureau offices were contacted regarding a partnership in conducting county and area meetings and workshops statewide.

Impact
“Farm Bill Strategies” meetings and workshops took place across Iowa from June through December 2002. In addition, print and electronic media provided statewide coverage. Articles and newsletters appeared in national magazines and Web sites promoting Iowa State University Extension's Web site and featured extensive response to the new Farm Bill.

More than 20,000 individuals attended more than 250 meetings and workshops. Across Iowa Steve Johnson conducted 75 different presentations both publicly and privately attended by more than 7,500 individuals. Steve also represented the ISU Extension in a statewide radio call-in show “Implementing the Farm Bill”. Steve posted more than 40 responses to Farm Bill related questions to the @gOnline Farm Business discussion groups sponsored by Successful Farming magazine. @gOnline editors created an “Ask the Expert” section regarding Steve's responses.

In December, Steve taught an exemplary Base & Yield Analysis Workshop in a computer lab setting in partnership with Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC). A total of 35 participants attended one of the workshops offered at four different campuses. 29 participants completed a written evaluation of the workshop they attended. These respondents indicated the average benefit the workshop contributed to their farming operation was $1,403.

Page last updated: July 7, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu