Producers should make plans to join us for the 2014 Farm Bill Forum on Monday, April 7thin Robstown, Texas at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds. This will be the second to last of a series of such forums being offered. The 2014 Farm Bill contains significant changes to the farm safety net that include new options for producers. It will be important for growers and owners of agricultural real estate to educate themselves on all the facts in order to make informed risk management decisions that best suit their operation. As an initial look at these new provisions, the Ag and Food Policy Center, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and the Southwest Council of Agribusiness have teamed up to put together an info session to give those involved in the agriculture industry insight on some of the changes headed their way.

The bill is estimated to remove $14.3 billion from commodity programs and $4 billion from conservation, for 2014 through 2023 and replace it with a $5.7 billion increase in crop insurance programs relative to baseline funding. For 2014, producers must choose between Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC). Cotton growers will also have a choice of a new insurance product, stacked income protection plan (STAX) with or without crop insurance or a supplemental coverage option (SCO) with crop insurance.

The farm bill forum will begin with a breakfast reception during registration from 8 - 9am. We will then start the program at 9 am with welcome and special introductions and continue with Dr. Joe Outlaw, Director of the Texas A&M Agricultural and Food Policy Center. He will be presenting “Commodity Title Overview of the Agricultural Act of 2014”. Following Dr. Outlaw’s presentation we’ll dedicate an hour to answering direct questions from the audience by Dr. Outlaw and other regional farm policy experts. This will be followed by Tom Sell with Combest, Sell and Associates who will speak on “Perspectives of the 2014 Farm Bill”. The session will conclude by noon. There is no fee and no need to RSVP for this program. Anyone with questions regarding this educational session should contact the Nueces County Extension Office at 361.767.5223.

Also, on March 27th forage producers will have the opportunity to attend the Grass Grower’s Gathering to be held at the Johnny Calderon Building, 710 E. Main, Robstown, TX. In addition to weed control, produces will also have an opportunity to learn about fertility management, forage selection options, assessing forage value, and dealing with forage production risk. Pesticide applicators will also be eligible for CEUs by participating in the program. For more information on the Grass Grower’s Gathering please contact us at the number above.

Individuals with disabilities, who require an auxiliary aid, service or accommodation in order to participate in any of the mentioned activities, are encouraged to contact the County Extension Office eight days before all programs for assistance. Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.