USDA officials are still trying to figure out how to obtain the data needed for the new Average Crop Revenue Election program and which years to base the program on. However, on Monday, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner told reporters that the program would be in place for 2009 crops including fall-seeded 2009 crops.
Connor acknowledged that there are several challenges ahead in implementing the program. One of the biggest is collecting each farmer's average yield data, state yields and other data.
"That's going to involve a whole new set of data points for the producers coming in and for our offices to manage that we have not had to do in the past," Conner says.
The Farm Service Agency is already having problems keeping up with current programs with outdated computer systems. Conner says USDA has requested additional funds from Congress to implement the 2008 Farm Bill.
If USDA does not receive the additional funds, Conner says there may be some glitches and timing issues but says they will get the job done. According to Conner, officials hope to finalize the details such as which crop years the program will be based on before Congress recesses at the end of the month.
"I'm not going to say absolutely that the trigger will be pulled during that, but we are going to have a lot of discussions on it," Conner says. "It's our hope to get a lot of these core decisions made and out there during the month of September."