Monday, March 26, 2012

Options in the New Farm Bill

Farm Policy reports House Ag leaders are talking of "options" in the new farm bill.  I'm not quite clear on whether it's different strokes for different commodities, or offering choices for the same commodity.  

This sounds like bad news for FSA managers, IT types, and field staff:  the problems of explaining programs to farmers and of implementing software, regulations, and manuals for programs grow as the number of programs grows.  And I'd guess the relationship is not arithmetic, but more geometric.  Part of the problem is that each new program distracts from the previous: if you do A for program X, are you going to do A for program Y, or maybe you should do A1 or maybe A2?  So maintaining a focus becomes very hard.

If you combine more options with the possibility of more cutbacks in staff and/or government shutdowns you've got problems.

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