Average Crop Revenue Election, or ACRE, is a new optional revenue base program that is part of the 2008 farm bill. The new farm bill officially is called the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 and is in effect until 2012. Enrollment in the optional ACRE program begins with the 2009 crop year and is by FSA farm number. Once enrolled in the ACRE program, you are enrolled for the duration of the 2008 Act. If a farmer decides not to enroll in the program in 2009 a decision can made to enroll in 2010, 2011 or 2012. The cost of the program is a 20 percent loss in direct payments, the elimination of the counter-cyclical payments and a 30 percent reduction in loan rates.
The decision to enroll will be a difficult one to make. To assist with this decision the NDSU Extension Service will have available a spreadsheet that will help calculate the potential profitability of the program. The Ward County Extension office will assist farmers with this spreadsheet in the office or farmers can access the program on the NDSU Farm Management Web site. In addition workshops will be held later this winter that will demonstrate the worksheet.
A state revenue trigger and a farm revenue trigger must be met for an ACRE payment to take place. The difficult part for the farmer is that before they sign up for the program they must determine what farm and state yields will be used in the calculations for the period 2009-2012. In addition they must determine the National Average Market price to use in the formula for that same timeframe.
All the regulations for the ACRE program have not been finalized at this point. It appears that signup will began after the first of the year. Our spreadsheet will be completed after all regulations have been finalized.
This is an important program and farmers will need to put some thought and time into deciding if they should participate. Information on the ACRE program is available at the Extension office.
Mike Rose serves as North Dakota State University Extension Service agent for Ward County.