Farmers to get chance for Farm Bill input

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 29, 2002

Farmers will soon have to decide how they want to participate in the new federal Farm Bill.

To help them, the University of Minnesota Extension Service has set up a spreadsheet on its Web site to help farmers decided if they want to update their base acres and yields.

"This spreadsheet is more comprehensive than some earlier spread sheets," said Kevin Klair of the extension service. "However, it still doesn't accommodate all the potential crops a producer may need to evaluate. It also doesn't help answer questions about how to verify past yields."

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With the free spreadsheet, farmers can determine what will work best for them.

"There are over 100,000 people who have to make a decision on this ," Klair said.

Every farm is different so every decision will be different, he said.

"There aren't many easy thumb rules for these decisions," Klair said.

To let farmers know about the service, the extension service has put up posters in every county in Minnesota.

Each county is also holding Farm Bill trainings sessions in August to give farmers information about the bill.

Spreadsheets on paper will be given out at those meetings.

The schedule for those meeting will also be on the extension service Web site once counties decide when to hold them.

The federal Farm Bill was approved by President George W. Bush May 13. Because of it, farm operations will have to make decisions during the sign-up for the covered crop programs this fall.

The sign-up dates have not been set, but will probably be in September, Klair said.

To use the spreadsheet visit the extension service's Farm Bill Web site at

Cari Quam can be reached at 4343-2235 or by e-mail at