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Conservation Reserve SignUp Opens

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enroll at your local FSA

USDA's Conservation Reserve Program signup opens December 9 & closes February 28, 2020. There are currently 22 million acres in the program with room for 27 million. This map shows how acres enrolled decreased nearly 13 million from 2007 to 2016.



FSA has updated soil rental rates for CRP. Rates are statutorily prorated at 90 percent for continuous signup and 85 percent for general signup.

Use this link to download an Excel spreadsheet from USDA with the county rates.

MFP Payments and 2020 Cash Rents

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MFP payments have had impacts on land rental rates. Moreover, uncertainty about the continuation of MFP in 2020 presents issues in setting cash rental rates. Given this uncertainty, we present the idea of setting cash rents at appropriate levels given the price and yield environment, likely lower than 2019 cash rent rates, with contingencies for cases in which MFP payments occur. By doing this, base cash rent is set at a level that allows the farmer to generate profits and leaves open the option for both parties to benefit if MFP payments occur in 2020.

by Gary Schniteky, ILLINOIS Extension
link to farmdocDaily article

Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments have served as a significant source of revenue on grain farms in 2018 and 2019. Without MFP payments, average farmer returns would be negative in 2019, and far below any level since consistent records began in 2000. Without MFP payments, 2020 returns are projected to be negative. It is unknown at this time if MFP payments will o…

WILLAg IFES Post

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2019 was a truly historic and in many ways unbelievable year for Illinois agriculture. The ongoing trade war with China and the on- and off-again efforts to reach an agreement dominated headlines much of the year. As if this wasn’t enough uncertainty for one year, Illinois was hit by one of the wettest spring planting seasons on record. Looking forward, the story of Illinois agriculture will continue to be one of managing volatility and financial difficulties. The stress of a prolonged period of low corn, soybean, and wheat prices, was amplified for producers experiencing low yields this year due to poor planting and summer growing season weather. Producers and landowners continue to face a series of difficult management challenges as they grapple with adjusting to this highly volatile economic environment. What is the prospect for a recovery in grain prices? Should cash rents be lower? And if so, how much? How much will government programs offset some of the financial stress? The mem…

Register for the Illinois Farm Economic Summits

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Projected Net Incomes on Illinois Grain Farms in 2019 and 2020

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by Gary Schnitkey, ILLINOIS Extension

Due to lower corn and soybean yields, 2019 net farm incomes on Illinois grain farms are projected to decline more than $80,000 per farm from 2018 levels. The low yields are partially offset by higher corn and soybean prices and higher MFP payments in 2019 as compared to 2018. Incomes in 2020 are projected to be negative if yields are at trend levels and Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments do not occur.

Historic Net Incomes on Illinois Grain Farms
Figure 1 shows average yearly net incomes on grain farms enrolled in Illinois Farm Business Farm Management (FBFM). These net incomes are averages across all grain farms in Illinois. Size, tenure relationships, and financial structures vary across these farms. Many farms are below 1,000 tillable acres, and some farms have over 8,000 acres. Over time, the size of farms has grown. In 2018, the average number of tillable acres was around 1,500 acres.



As can be seen in Figure 1, there are three distinc…

Adding the Costs of Conservation to a Farm Lease

Farmers and landowners alike are wanting to try more conservation practices. Todd Gleason reports the timing and amount of nitrogen applications along with the use of cover crops can all be written into a farm lease.

farmdoc farm lease page link

(1) Soil Health and Conservation Addendum

The Soil Health and Conservation Addendum is for a landowner who seeks to reach clear understanding with the farm-tenant about practices on the land under lease. The addendum is a fillable pdf and the parties can negotiate the specific provisions to include in the addendum, memorializing the agreement by selecting the specific provisions. The provisions and fillable pdf are designed to be additive: each selected provision will be incorporated in the lease agreement.
Included among the provisions that can be selected are those for tillage practices and cover crop practices. There are also specific provisions pertaining to other conservation efforts that may be present on the farmland, such as ditches, ve…

Tidbits from the ILLINOIS Fam Tax School

Farmers generally try to get their taxes in order before the end of the year. This season they may need to consider MFP and Prevented Plantings payments and how to best make charitable contributions. The tax implications of the MFP payments are that the money is taxable in the year it is received. One-half of the MFP payment has already been or will be delivered shortly. It is expected 25% will be delivered in a second check in November. And if needed the third check, another 25% of the total, is likely to come in January. The first two checks are taxable in 2019, and the final portion would be taxable in 2020. Another payment farmers may not be used to dealing with involves the Prevented Planting portion of crop insurance says Bob Rhea, “Those payments are either taxable when received, or under certain circumstances, could be delayed until 2020 the year after the disaster occurred. So, they should visit with their tax professional as they determine, especially as we near year end, wh…

Have Soybean Prices Put in a Low

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The price of soybeans may have put in a seasonal low but there are a lot of factors at play. Todd Gleason has more on what farmers should do with University of Illinois Agricultural economist Todd Hubbs.

September 16, 2019
by Todd Hubbs, University of Illinois

Last week’s price rally in the soybean market relied on the prospects of easing trade tensions with China. The potential for soybean prices to maintain recent momentum depends on developments in trade negotiations and production prospects for both the U.S. and South America.



USDA’s September soybean production forecast came in at 3.633 billion bushels, down 47 million bushels from the August forecast. Yield per harvested acre fell by 0.6 bushels per acre to 47.9 from the August forecast of 48.5. Compared to the August forecast, yield prospects for the top ten states in soybean acreage increased in Missouri and Kansas. Yield prospects declined in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana, and South Dakota. North Dakota, Nebraska, and Ohi…