Federal base acre decision ‘big win’

The recent decision by USDA to reinstate the base acres on all federal lands is a big win for many of Mississippi’s farm families according to the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation.

“We are extremely pleased by the recent USDA decision to rescind the ruling of Dec. 23, 2008, which terminated base acreage on federal lands,” said David Waide, Farm Bureau president.

“President Bush’s ruling essentially removed the safety net for many farm families in Mississippi who lease federal land. That action was an administrative change, not based on any statutory requirement in the 2008 farm bill approved by the Congress. We saw this move by the outgoing Bush administration as a breach in the contract with America’s farmers.”

The December rule stated that beginning with the 2009 crop year, producers who leased federal land would no longer be eligible for safety net payments which had been authorized under the 2008 farm bill. It was effective immediately and left many producers to face their lenders with no safety net coverage for the crop production on that land.

“Without the help and support from Rep. Travis Childers and Sen. Thad Cochran, we feel like this rule would not have been overturned,” said Waide. “We contacted their offices immediately when we discovered the impact this ruling had on Mississippi farmers. Their involvement ultimately led to a very positive outcome on this unfair decision. We cannot thank them enough for their role in reversing this decision.”

The provision impacted 34 states, including Mississippi, and represented more than $5.5 million per year in lost direct payments, as well as an unknown amount of counter-cyclical payments.

TAGS: Legislative
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