The new farm bill will increase support payments to Arkansas producers this year by more than $254 million over the 1996 farm bill, according to Eric Wailes, University of Arkansas agricultural economist.
Quoted in an article written by Fred Miller of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, Wailes said the big benefit for farmers is that counter-cyclical payments — those made when market prices fall below commodity target prices — are committed into law.
In the past Congress had to come back with emergency payments when crop prices fell, but there was no guarantee.
Farmers also will see higher direct payments, based on set prices for wheat, corn, grain sorghum, upland cotton, rice, soybeans and certain other crops.
Wailes estimated that total payments to Arkansas farmers this year would have been $474.03 million under the old 1996 farm bill, not counting emergency payments Congress may or may not have authorized. He estimates the 2002 bill will provide $728.89 million this year.
New payment limits, which cap the amount of payments farms can receive, will also cost Arkansas producers more under the new bill, Wailes said. Under the old bill, limits would have cost single-owner Arkansas farms $55.03 million. The same farms will lose $178.3 million under the 2002 bill, according to Wailes.