Thursday, September 29, 2011

ARRM Bill S 1626

Farm Policy has the text of the Brown/Thune/Lugar/Durbin   bill establishing the Aggregrate Risk and Revenue Management Program. Given the prominence of the co-sponsors, it's got to be taken seriously.  See this for a diagram of the calculations.

I'm too far away from current law to comment reliably, but I didn't see the commodity-specific determination as all that specific in the bill's language.  I do wonder about WTO compliance, because the program is tied to planted acreage and seems to discourage switching to new crops. That was a prime selling point for "Freedom to Farm", which became the direct payment program.

In terms of administration, I surely hope FSA and RMA have merged into one entity, because I don't see how it can be effectively administered otherwise.  Assuming FSA writes the checks, they need the RMA APH and insurance premium amounts, plus the planted acreage and the actual production.  I shudder at the complexities.  I also wonder how MIDAS would plan to handle it.


Anonymous said...

No merging of agencies. Will be another administrative migraine for years to come following the likes of SURE!

Bill Harshaw said...

There's already the initiative for a unified acreage report (that's not quite the term being used). Maybe I should have said that RMA and FSA would need to be accessing and updating one database. That might be doable while keeping the two agencies separate. Or it might be a fiasco, I don't know. The confluence of the various IT initiatives with the prospects for a major, if not revolutionary, change in farm programs disturbs me.

Worse case: the new farm bill moves all major expenditures to crop insurance, meaning chopping FSA to a fraction of its current size, upsetting all MIDAS plans, creating a major education job with farmers.... The only good thing in sight is the end of daylight saving.