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Farm Bill Workshops Underway

By Jean Paul McDonald,

The 2014 U.S farm bill is being rolled out, and it’s bringing changes for farmers and ranchers - especially dairy and grain producers. To help adjust to some of these changes, farmers are encouraged to participate in a series of workshops that are being held in their home states.

Attending the education workshops will help prepare American farmers to make informed decisions about participating in farm bill programs. The purpose of the workshops are to provide producers with a better understanding of the new programs, and what decisions they’ll need to make for their farming business.

Changes for grain farmers: farmers will have to choose between obtaining agriculture risk coverage or price loss coverage income support programs. One program is based on revenue, while the other one is based on commodity price. Previously, grain farmers got direct payments, regardless of yield or price of acreage. The biggest change for dairy farmers is the new insurance program.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture has already announced that it plans to host its farm bill workshops through the month of August. The cost to participate is $10, which also covers lunch. More information about the workshops can be found on the University of Maryland Extension office website at

Workshops are sponsored by: the Missouri Department of Conservation Private Land Services, Quail Forever, Natural Resource Conservation Services, Farm Service Agency and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

The farm bill is a five-year piece of legislation that deals with food and farm programs. The bill passed the U.S. House and Senate in February 2014. President Barack Obama signed it into law Feb. 7, 2014. The previous farm bill was signed in 2008 and expired in 2012. The 2014 bill expires in 2018.

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