USDA revises oilseed base in farm bill

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WASHINGTON – The USDA revised how it will establish oilseed bases under the new direct and counter-cyclical program contained in the 2002 farm bill.

The department found that the previous calculation used to determine oilseed bases when oilseeds were added to an existing 2002 Production Flexibility Contract resulted in unintended disparities in the amount of oilseed bases that could be credited to farms.

This was particularly true for farms that planted oilseeds in a 100 percent year to year corn/soybean rotation when compared to farms that plant in a 50/50 corn/soybean rotation on the same farm.

When signing up for direct and counter-cyclical program crops, producers had the option to select one of five base options. These options include retaining the 2002 PFC contract acres as the base, updating all bases on the farm using 1998-01 plantings, and three options that allow a producer to add oilseeds to existing PFC acres.

The current announcement could provide producers additional oilseed bases under the latter three options, resulting in a more accurate reflection of current cropping practices.

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is modifying its computer software to reflect these changes. Producers will be allowed to use the old formula so they can receive program benefits immediately.

USDA will accept updated base decisions using the new formula until April 1, 2003, with any additional payments to follow soon thereafter.

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