A new tool is now available via the World Wide Web that can assist farmers in evaluating base acreage and farm program yield choices.

The 2002 farm bill includes several major changes in the mechanisms the federal government uses to support U.S. farmers. One of the most important is the one-time opportunity crop farmers are being given to update base acreage and payment yields used for calculating farm program benefits.

The decision is complicated by the number of choices available to producers, who will have three options, or methods. they can choose in updating base acreage and four options on yields. That quickly gets to be more than most people can analyze using pencil and paper.

To help farmers and landowners evaluate which updating options are best for them, they can access the free Base and Yield Analyzer program via the Web at: http://agecoext.tamu.edu/2002fb/ and http://www.afpc.tamu.edu.

The program has been developed by Texas Cooperative Extension faculty and economists with the Agricultural Food and Policy Center at Texas A&M University. It is offered as part of a Web site that serves as a one-stop source for farm bill information, as well as featuring an online question and answer forum.

Slide presentations about the 2002 farm bill and a link that lists regional and county farm bill Extension educational meetings offered in Texas are also available.

“We've put together a comprehensive set of material so producers and other interested parties can gather information on the questions they have concerning the new farm bill,” said Dr. Joe Outlaw, Extension policy economist, who teamed with Agricultural and Food Policy Center economist Dr. James Richardson in developing the Base and Yield Analyzer.

“We've been working on this (Base and Yield Analyzer) for about six to eight months,” Richardson said.

‘As the farm programs evolved in the House and Senate, we stayed up with it pretty much step by step. After the farm bill was passed, the Agricultural and Food Policy Center worked with the Farm Service Agency to interpret the rules and regulations related to base and payment yield updating,” Richardson said.

“Farm Service Agency has checked the Base and Yield Analyzer and decided our program will be the software they endorse and use in their county offices.”

The software allows producers to enter their own information for 1998-2001 planted acres and proven yields, as well as current base acres and farm program yields the Farm Service Agency has for each of their farms. The Base and Yield Analyzer will then analyze their options and provide comparisons for each base and yield update option.