Home / News / Policy news / The ACRE tally's in: Fewer than 1 in 10 farms enrolled

The ACRE tally's in: Fewer than 1 in 10 farms enrolled

Agriculture.com Staff 10/21/2009 @ 12:28pm

On Tuesday, USDA released its preliminary count of farms enrolled in commodity programs for 2009 crops. Out of about 1.7 million farms eligible for the Direct and Countercyclical Program, about 8% enrolled in the new Average Crop Revenue Election program, or ACRE. Those 128,000 farms accounted for nearly 13% of the base acres in both programs.

According to USDA's press release, of the 22 different crops eligible for enrollment, corn had the highest number of base acres enrolled, followed by wheat and soybeans, and producers mainly planted these three crops. The states with the largest number of base acres enrolled are Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota.

One farm owner who signed up was Ohio State University Agricultural Economist Carl Zulauf. Zulauf wrote an early version of the program that eventually became ACRE. The concept of a revenue-based commodity program had strong support from the National Corn Growers Association and American Farmland Trust when Congress was drafting the 2008 farm bill.

Before the signup for ACRE for this year's crop ended in mid-August, Zulauf didn't tip his hand. He wanted to be an unbiased source of information on ACRE, he told Agriculture Online in an e-mail message. This fall, Zulauf did make public his own decision to sign up for ACRE and he explained his reasoning (Read more).

"As the developer of many of the central concepts in the new ACRE farm program, you might assume I would obviously elect ACRE for my corn-soybean-wheat farm in Northwest Ohio," Zulauf says. "I strongly believe that ACRE is a farm program for 21st century instead of 20th century farming. However, like everyone else, I needed to decide if ACRE fit the needs of my farm. It was not a given that I would choose ACRE."

"I did end up choosing ACRE, but not because I expected it to pay more," he adds. "Instead, ACRE offered me (1) different, yet complementary, revenue risk protection than crop insurance, and (2) better risk management for corn, soybeans, and wheat than traditional farm programs."

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On Tuesday, USDA released its preliminary count of farms enrolled in commodity programs for 2009 crops. Out of about 1.7 million farms eligible for the Direct and Countercyclical Program, about 8% enrolled in the new Average Crop Revenue Election program, or ACRE. Those 128,000 farms accounted for nearly 13% of the base acres in both programs.

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