The Agriculture Act of 2014 provides farmers with a safety net, but they’ll have to do a bit more preparation to take advantage of new programs, and, as with any change as sweeping as the alterations to farm policy included in this law, a few glitches are emerging as signup opportunities approach.

“Farmers will have to think about the options,” says Joe Outlaw, Texas AgriLife Extension Economist and Co-Director of the Texas A&M Agriculture and Food Policy Center, College Station.

“But producers have plenty of time to gather the information necessary to make decisions,” Outlaw said during the recent Big Country Wheat Conference in Abilene. “No reason to panic.”

He cautioned farmers to make informed decisions, however. “Decisions farmers make on Title I options will last for the life of the farm bill. Also, don’t base decisions on expected payments for this year.”

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He says farmers will separate into two kinds of producers as they explore possibilities in the new farm program. “They will either want to get the maximum government payment or they will want to manage business risk,” he said. “We will offer assistance to both.”
 But it is important that growers decide which category they fall in and then choose the best program to meet those goals.