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Tobacco farmers prepare for 2013

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Tobacco producers who utilize crop insurance need to talk to their insurance provider as they make plans for their 2013 crop. Dr. Bob Pearce has advised that federal crop insurance guidelines will have a significant change for next year. The following statement appears in the “Special Provisions of Insurance 2013 and Succeeding Years for Burley Tobacco”: “Tobacco will not be insurable on any acreage planted to tobacco in the two previous crop years.”
The logic behind this is rotating crops helps keep under control diseases and pests, which could limit yields. Federal crop insurance does not want to pay for declining yields as a result of management practices that could cause disease and pest issues. The challenge for many smaller farmers, however, may be that they may not have sufficient area to rotate crops to every other year.
There are also provisions, which could limit insurability on the first year for land that has not been cropped (other than hay, pasture) for the three previous seasons. In many cases the crop would be insurable at a percentage of the county yield, but a lot of documentation may be required. Please contact your insurance provider as soon as possible so you do not get into a position of having an un-insurable crop.
Dr. Corey Walters from the Department of Agriculture Economics at the University of Kentucky sent us the following information regarding ACRE Program payments for this crop year.
“Low Kentucky corn yields have opened up prospects for a corn ACRE payment. If factors influencing ACRE payments were to end right now the Kentucky ACRE payment would come in at $69.37 per acre. However, size of the corn ACRE payment will not be known until the end of August 2013, when the 2012/13 marketing year ends. Additionally, ACRE payments will be made in the fall of 2013. Here are a couple things to remember about ACRE payments. First, for a payment to be made, the farm (or FSA number) must also suffer a loss. If you had good yields on a FSA number, i.e., irrigation as an example, an ACRE payment may not be available. Second, farm payments depend upon how the farm stacks up to Kentucky five-year historical yield or 139 bushels per acre (BPA). For example, if your farm had a five-year average of 165 BPA you would receive an acre payment of $82.34 (69.37*(165/139)) per acre. The size of the ACRE payment will depend upon Kentucky average corn yield and national average price. Currently, Kentucky average corn yield has remained steady at 68 BPA.  That leaves national average price to determine the size of the ACRE payment. Declines in national average price increase ACRE payments. For example, a $0.20 change in national average price changes ACRE payments by $13.60.” As always, good records will help as you try to use this program to recover from last year’s drought.
The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture will hold its 2013 Winter Wheat Meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 9 a.m., Central Time at the James E. Bruce Convention Center in Hopkinsville. Topics to be discussed include research results on row widths and variety testing, weed, insect and fungus control, and others. Because of high grain prices we have had many farmers convert land from grazing to crops, and many more considering doing so. This meeting will be a good opportunity to gain additional knowledge about growing wheat. The event is free and includes lunch. I will be unable to attend, however, if anyone is interested in attending please contact me at the extension office and I will get you additional information and have you registered for the event.
I will not be able to attend the wheat meeting because I will be at the American Forage and Grasslands Council Annual Meeting in Covington on Jan. 6-8. Although we have had a significant increase in the number of acres planted in grain crops in the past few years Marion County is still predominantly a livestock raising area and forages are our primary crop, so I decided to attend this meeting instead of the wheat meeting. The conference has many interesting topics but the most interesting to me is a session devoted to extended grazing systems with a goal of grazing 300 days per year. Kentucky has a climate where this is feasible and it has been talked about a lot but not many farmers have successfully implemented such a system. The savings from needing less hay can be significant if these systems can work in our area. There are many other sessions covering topics such as alternative forages and new improved varieties of non-toxic endophyte infected fescue. If anyone is interested in attending this conference please call me or go to the American Forage and Grassland Council’s website at www.afgc.org for more information.
I’d like to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season! Merry Christmas to all!

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