A decision aid tool will be introduced to farmers participating in five West Texas farm bill programs in Sept. and Oct.

The sessions will help producers make decisions on farm bill options, said an AgriLife Extension economist.

“This farm bill sign-up has lots of  ‘moving parts’  that require producers to process quite a bit of data in order to make rational decisions,” said Bill Thompson. “Our commodity groups and industry associations have done an excellent job of explaining the programs and the options in front of us, but now it’s time to learn to work through the intricacies.”

All the programs are set from 9 a.m. to noon at the following dates and locations:

– Sept. 23, Garden City, Glasscock County AgriLife Extension meeting room, 117 S.   Myrl St.

– Sept. 24, San Angelo, Tom Green County 4-H Center, 3168, North U.S. Highway 67.

– Oct. 6, Stamford, Stamford High School Auditorium, 507 S. Orient, St.

– Oct. 7, Fort Stockton, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Center, 1618 Airport Dr.

– Oct. 8, Fort Hancock, Community Building, 562 Knox Ave., 562 Knox Ave.

Thompson said the meetings will recap both the programs available to producers, including Price Loss Coverage, or PLC, and Agricultural Risk Coverage, or ARC. They also will cover any base and yield update options available that can illustrate the data needed to complete the decision-making process.  

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“Though the new farm bill addressing cotton won’t be in place until 2015, almost all farms will still need to enroll acreage into one of these two coverage areas,” Thompson said. “We will also have a short discussion of the disaster and conservation programs available.”

Thompson said an online decision aid developed by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center of the agricultural economics department at Texas A&M University, College Station is available to producers. The decision aid simplifies the analysis needed to choose between the PLC and ARC coverages.

“A significant emphasis was placed on crop insurance by Congress, so this decision aid will help producers identify optimal and viable insurance coverage levels to provide as much of a crop loss safety net as possible.”

Thompson expects many questions to arise during the meetings, so he’s allotted ample time for discussion.

For more information, contact Thompson at 325-653-4576, w-thompson@tamu.edu.