- the Secretary's estimate of the wheat acreage we needed in the nation
- the total of basic allotments
- the farm's basic wheat allotment.
So, to revert back to the permanent legislation in 1985 and 1990 meant that we needed to carry the farm's basic allotment, as recorded in 1977, forward (i.e., "reconstitute it" for FSA types). But that's assuming something, that the way USDA had done allotments in the past was the only way to go. And assumptions, as I often say, get you in trouble. Looking at the permanent legislation in the 1938 act you might not have to reconstitute the basic allotments at all. Of course, it would take some lawyering, but the USDA lawyers are known for invention (witness the 1983 Payment-in-Kind program).
Anyhow, I'm no longer an expert, just an old kibitzer. I still think it's all a game of poker and USDA is trying to run a bluff. Of course, the best bluff is when you aren't. (Thomas Schelling famously observed of the game of "chicken" (the way teenagers in the 1950's got their thrills, two cars driving straight at each other, seeing who would swerve first)--you could win it if you could toss the steering wheel of your car out the window.