A Look at Impacts of a Mandatory Base Acre Update

As we reported in the last update, the National Corn Growers Association recently voted to support a mandatory base acre update in the next farm bill.  No other major commodity group has taken this position to date, though some groups support either a voluntary base acre update or adding crop base on acres with a recent planting history.

To help illustrate the potential impacts of a mandatory base acre update, the Senate Agriculture Committee Republican staff recently published an analysis showing state and county level impacts.  The below map estimates the changes in farm program payments per state based on enrolled base acres for FY 2024 to 2033.  Based on this analysis, 34 states would lose approximately $3.0 billion while 16 states would gain approximately $1.1 billion, with a net loss in farm program support of $1.9 billion.

At the county level, the impacts are even more disparate as some counties within states would see significant negative impacts while neighboring counties could see a positive outcome, even if the state overall may benefit.  This further highlights the very granular, mixed impacts of a mandatory base update among counties, and individual farms within the county, based on crop mix and crop rotations.  The below map highlights the county level impacts across the country, with 1,598 counties estimated to lose $4.4 billion in farm program payments while 1,298 counties are estimated to gain $2.5 billion in payments. 246 counties would see no change.

At this time, leaders and members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are continuing to hold listening sessions and meetings with producers and other farm bill stakeholders around the country to collect input for developing the next farm bill.  Congress will return in early September with a full plate of issues to address, including funding the government by October 1 when the new fiscal year begins.  Congressional leaders have indicated their intention to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR or short-term funding measure) through early December to allow time to continue work on the full year funding bills that are still pending.  It is against this backdrop that the Agriculture Committees will continue their work to draft a new farm bill that needs to be in place by the end of 2023.  If a farm bill reauthorization is not completed by early next year, an extension of some length will be necessary – with the key question being whether it is a short-term extension to allow time to complete the new farm bill, or a one-year extension if a new bill cannot be in place by early spring when planting begins and farm program sign-up deadlines approach in March.