Farm Bill Analyzer Assistance

Patrick J. Derdzinski, Butler County Extension Education Director
Craig Chase, ISU Extension Farm Management Specialist

Situation
The 2002 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act had provisions for three different types of payments for selected farm commodities. A new provision included the counter cyclical payment for which several decisions had to be made: update base acres or not, create a new soybean base and/or shift base acres from other crops into the soybean base, and use old or updated program yields. These options complicated the decision-making process for farmers in selecting the best counter cyclical options for their operation.

Response
The need to help farmers understand the farm bill and select program options for their cropping operation was identified, and a series of programs and workshops were organized including one on one individual consultations. In the fall of 2002, a meeting to explain the farm bill was organized by Craig Chase, ISU Extension farm management specialist, Patrick Derdzinski, Butler County extension Director, and Dennis Eberle, Farm Service Agency county director. One hundred and eighty farmers and spouses attended this informational meeting on the new farm bill. During the winter of 2002-03, 65 farmers were provided individual assistance through two days (6 sessions) of computer workshops and one-on-one consultations. Dennis Eberle and Patrick Derdzinski also held six weekly scheduled programs that helped 35 farmers review the farm bill and understand the different decisions to be made.

Impact
Evaluations were sent to 65 individuals who received one-on-one consultation. Sixteen farmers returned the evaluation of which 12 estimated the economic impact per acre from the consultations. The 12 farmers estimated the consultations had a total economic impact of $47,434 on 5,903 acres for an average of $8.00 per acre. Some farmers commented on changes they made in their decisions or operation such as, "Signed up the forms differently," "changed the option," "Use better book keeping," and "updated all yield and acreage figures."

Page last updated: July 8, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu