April's Ag Advice by April Borders Sign up for the new farm bill is just around the corner, April 1. Many of you are still trying to work through all the papers and trying to figure out which option to choose. Which option should you choose? Do you use old bases or updates? Are you making the correct decisions? There are still lots of questions to be answered so that you can make the decisions that will be the best for your farming operation.
I recently spoke with Keith Zanter from FSA and he said that only about 7 percent of our farmers have signed up. He is encouraging everyone to start early. There is a lot of paperwork that has to be done and it is time consuming but you want to make sure that it is done right. He also said that the more organized you are the better you will be and the quicker the process will go.
In an effort to help the farmers work towards making this decision the USDA is encouraging producers to access the Texas A&M Farm Bill Calculator. This is the program that they have officially accepted. It is a web-based spreadsheet to help you evaluate the different options that are available in the new farm bill. The program is called the Base & Yield Update Option Analyzer (BYA.) It is built to include every state and every county so South Dakota producers will be able to use this spreadsheet to calculate for our specific county.
The BYA tool is available online at: http://www.fsa.usda .gov/pas/farmbill/tools.asp
Even though this calculator is available for your use, it can still seem complicated and complex. Don't let it intimidate you. It is fairly detailed but once you work in the program for a while it is fairly simple to operate. It will provide you with a printout of your options. These print outs are definitely detailed but once you look it over enough, it will make sense. Al May, Extension Economist � SDSU has written a tip sheet for using the USDA Farm Bill Calculator. If you would like a copy of this feel free to contact me.
Even though there are help aids available to use, sometimes we still need a little more help. In order to help you make these decisions, the South 2 Field Education Unit will be sponsoring a seminar called "Pricing for Profit." This seminar will be offered on Thursday, Jan. 16 at the First Lutheran Church in Lennox and again on Thursday, Jan. 23 at the Yankton County Extension Center. The program both days will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Al May from SDSU will be conducting the seminar. He will discuss the farm bill and its implications for profitability. He will also highlight old and new crop pricing strategies and storage. These seminars are open to the public and are free of charge. The Cooperative Extension Service of South Dakota State University and the South 2 Field Education Unit are sponsoring these seminars.
For more information, contact the Extension Office at 677-7111.
Jan. 7-9, Farm Show � Vermillion
Jan. 14, Manure Management Training � Huron, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 15, Crop Production Decisions 2003 � Vermillion, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 16, Pricing for Profit � Lennox � 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jan. 23 Swine Ventilation Clinic � Irene, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 23, Pricing for Profit � Yankton, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jan. 28, Southeast Farms Annual Meeting.
Jan. 31, Commercial Applicator Re-certification � Yankton.