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Modifications to the Illinois Farm Bill Decision Tool

Below are listed changes from one version to the next of the Illinois Farm Bill Decision Tool. All modifications apply to all later versions. For example, modifications resulting in version 2.0 also apply to 3.0 and higher versions


Modifications from version 1.0 to version 2.0

1. The calculation for determining the current base acres for soybeans in cell C17 has been changed due to a better understanding of the farm bill regulations. The updated or current base acres for soybeans are not the simple 4-year average of actual planted soybean acres. The calculation for determining the number of soybean acres for each year is the lesser of actual planted acres of soybeans or total program crops planted less the total program crop bases.

For example, if you have a 100 acre farm with a 55 acre corn base and you plant 40 acres of corn and 60 acres of soybeans, the number of acres of soybeans to be used for that year in establishing your soybean acreage base is limited to 45 acres (100 - 55 = 45) instead of 60 acres.

This procedure in essence could limit a farm that has planted 100 percent to program crops (including soybeans) the last 4 years to something less than 100 percent if you decide not to update base acres. This will depend on the crop rotation for the farm the last 4 years.

(Remember - the above discussion ONLY affects those farms that would not be updating base acres, but using current program bases and determining a soybean base.)


2. In cell C16, the program now calculates the maximum number of acres you can shift to soybeans. If you shift too many acres, you will get a warning message. It is our understanding that in shifting acres to soybeans, you can shift up to actual 4 year average of planted soybean acres.


3. In the "Detail of Updating Alternative" at the bottom of the spreadsheet, you can toggle between the national target prices and loan rates for the 2002 - 2003 crop years and the 2004 - 2007 crop years. This will easily let you see what payments maybe when target prices and loan rates change for the 2004 crop year.


Modifications from version 2.0 to version 3.0

1. Previous versions used yield plugs based on each years' county yields. For example, the plug yield for 1998 equaled 75 percent of the 1998 average county yield. The actual procedure is to calculate a weighted average county yield for 1998 through 2001. The plug is based on the average yield for 1998 through 2001.


2. In cell c11, the tool calculates current base acres for soybeans. In version 2.0, soybean base acres for a given year could be less than zero when a farm's total program acres are less than the corn base. In these cases, soybean base should equal zero. This error has been corrected.


3. Previous versions of the tool calculated 1998-2001 average yields reported in cells c39 through e39 as a simple average of yearly yields. The correct procedure is to weight yields by acres. This has been corrected.


4. Acres have been rounded to tenths in calculations.


5. Yields have been rounded to the nearest bushel.

 

Modifications from version 3.0 to version 4.0

1. The format of the spreadsheet was changed. Output in version 4.0 matches the five acre options that will be presented to farmers by Farm Service Agency.

2. An input section was added for total acres, CRP, and double crop soybeans. Inputs in this section are used to determine the maximum base acres that a farm can have.

3. Help sections were added.

(Calculations in version 4.0 will not differ from version 3.0 unless maximum base acres are exceeded. The previous version did not check to see if base acre calculations resulted in more acres than the maximum.)

 

Modifications from version 4.0 to version 5.0

The Farm Service Agency introduced a new method of calcualating base soybean acres. The method is described here. This method was incorporated into 5.0.

 

Modifications from version 5.0 to version 5.1

1. An error in the calculation of grain sorghum acres under option 3 was corrected.

2. County average yields were updated to those used by FSA.

Modifications form version 5.1 to version 5.3

1. A rounding error was corrected.

2. An error in calculating soybean base under option 3 when oats base was included was corrected.


Modifications form version 5.3 to version 5.4

An error in the calculation of base acres under option 3 was corrected.

 

Modifications form version 5.4 to version 5.5

1. A button to clear data was added.

2. The output of the model was reformatted.

3. The direct payment rate on sorghum was changed from $.34 to $.35 per bu.


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