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U.S. Senator agonizes over ACRE decision, too

Agriculture.com Staff 07/22/2009 @ 11:22am

As the August 14 deadline nears for this year's chance to enroll in the new farm program, ACRE (Average Crop Revenue Election), you're not alone if you’re undecided.

The vast majority of U.S. farmers eligible for the program haven't signed up. U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and his son Robin also haven’t decided whether to enroll the family’s farm into ACRE, Grassley said Tuesday.

"We talked about it on Saturday and we don't know what to do," he told Agriculture Online during his weekly telephone press conference with ag reporters. "We're still looking at it."

Grassley said he suggested several sources to his son for advice, including Farm Bureau and Extension.

There is no shortage of information if you're looking for it.

Kansas State University ag economist Art Barnaby will hold a webinar on ACRE on August 4. Click here for more information.

In an e-mail message Tuesday, Barnaby also recommended a National Corn Growers Association paper that farmers can use to explain ACRE to their landlords.

"While this is a corn example, Oklahoma wheat producers who are expect[ing] the maximum ACRE payment may be able to use the paper to explain ACRE to their landlords," Barnaby writes. "Also with the decline in prices, many ACRE models are starting to show potential corn ACRE payments of $100 or more per acre. NASS will release a new price on July 30 and their first yield estimate on August 12. This will give corn, grain sorghum and soybean producers more information to make their final ACRE decision. The August 12 NASS yield report could be a game changer in some states."

The National Agricultural Statistics Service report at the end of this month (July 31 on the NASS website), will give you the average price for corn and soybeans for the first 11 months of the 2008 marketing year. Add that to the 2007 price and you’ll have a pretty good idea of the price component of the ACRE revenue guarantee. On August 12, the NASS estimate of the 2009 corn crop will be factored into the WASDE (World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate) that will include a projection of prices during the 2009 marketing year that starts September 1.

That actual NASS average price for corn for the 2009 crop, which no one knows at this point, will be used to determine whether farmers enrolled in ACRE will get payments sometime in the fall of 2010. A lot could happen to change prices -- continued cool weather and an early frost might bump them up. Some growers worry about inflation taking off. But NASS price projections are often close to the mark and Extension experts are pointing to a strong likelihood of an ACRE payment.

Even using the July WASDE report and futures prices indicating a 2009 corn price of $3.25, Michigan State University ag economist Jim Hilker sees a good chance for ACRE corn payments in that state.

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