Making a Decision on the Farm Bill: One Farmer’s Reactions in Illinois

Even though the Farm Bill deadline has come and gone, it really didn’t have much influence on my planning. I updated my yields, which we haven’t been able to do for a long time, and I took most of the industry professionals and universities’ opinions.  The vast majority of economists believe that the ARC-County level was the best option for most individuals. We don’t raise a lot of wheat, so that helped narrow it down some more. We updated some base acres and moved some things around to get a more accurate representation of what we’re doing.

But in the end, it’s a safety net — it’s for a disaster. Everybody was sure we were going to get a payment for 2014, until the yields came in. Historically, yield for my county was 147 bushels on corn, and our county average came in at 187. As a county, we had the best yields we’ve ever had in 2014. Some people were disappointed that there were no payments (typically the people who hadn’t sold any grain or didn’t have crop insurance toward the end of the season), but that’s not what the program was designed for. It was designed as a safety net.

Personally, I hope we never get a payment from the bill, because if we never get a payment, that means we had good yields and good price. And that’s the best a person can have and all you can ask for.