Last week we hosted a workshop to discuss and review the ACRE program of the 2008 Farm Bill. For those of you who were not able to participate, here are some highlights that could be of assistance to you as you make your decision.

USDA has extended the sign-up deadline from June 1 to August 14, 2009, for both the Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) and the forthcoming Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program.

You are encouraged to enroll in the DCP Program now and, if after studying the ACRE Program you find that it will benefit your farm operation you can modify your enrollment.

The ACRE program, authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, provides eligible producers a state-level revenue guarantee, based on the 5-year state Olympic average yield and the 2-year national average price. ACRE payments are made when both state and farm-level triggers are met. By participating in ACRE, producers elect to forgo counter-cyclical payments, receive a 20-percent reduction in direct payments and a 30-percent reduction in loan rates.

The decision to elect ACRE binds the farm to the program through the 2012 crop year, the last crop year covered by the 2008 Act. You can choose not to sign up for ACRE now and do so in another crop year like 2010 if you so desire.

ACRE is a complex program for which a new software decision tool has been developed by The Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University to help producers make informed decisions. The computer program asks for 10 years of crop yields, if available, which gives a better answer on the probability of payments under ACRE. The decision to enroll in ACRE is made on a farm-by-farm basis. In other words, producers must make a decision on each individual FSA farm number.

As such, this decision aid is designed to help producers analyze one farm at a time. To compare potential payments between the ACRE and DCP, you will be asked to provide some basic information on the farm you are analyzing.

Here is a brief list of information you will need to input into the decision software.

FSA Number, Total Cropland Acres, List by crop - Base Acres, DP Yield, CCP Yield List of crops and expected planting acres from 2009 - 2012 Historical planted acre yields from 1999- 2008 for crops you expect to plant through 2012 Average yield expected for each crop grown 2009-2012 Average crop insurance premium per acre Expected average national prices for each crop grown 2008-2012

This tool is designed to allow you to establish a unique username and password so you may save the basic farm data and return to analyze various acreage, price and yield scenarios.

This Internet based software decision tool can be found at the following Web address: http://www.afpc.tamu.edu.

If you need more information about this tool you may contact your local County Extension Office.