Weekly workshops help farmers learn Farm Bill

Thursday, December 19, 2002

A series of free weekly workshops being held at the Arrowhead AEA building in Storm Lake are helping county farmers and producers learn the ins and outs of the new changes in program benefits brought on by the 2002 Farm Bill.

Landowners must now make base and yield decisions for years 2002 through 2007 by April 1, 2003, and new records must be kept and decisions must be made regarding direct and counter-cyclical farm programs due to the Farm Bill.

Rex Wittrock, the executive director of the Buena Vista County Farm Service Agency, helps lead the sessions along with ISU Extension farm management specialist Tom Olsen, and Wittrock said he has been happy with the sizes of the workshop audiences.

"We have had about 30 there every week, so we have really been pleased with the turnout," Wittrock said. "We're trying to inform as many of the 1,800 farm operators, farm owners and producers in Buena Vista County as possible about the new changes in the Farm Bill, and these workshops are helping do that."

Each of the weekly sessions have the goal of helping teach farmers how to write yield reports, calculate current and future bases and yields, keep records of the history of their planted acres and learn about new direct and counter-cyclical payment options.

The meetings began on Oct. 22 and will continue until April 1, the deadline for sign-up decisions by farmers and producers. Each Tuesday morning meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will last approximately one hour.

"We really see the difference in the farmers that attend the workshops," Wittrock said. "They seem to be more familiar with the options that are available when it comes time to sign up, and it is always a good thing to see people who are more familiar with their options when it comes to sign-up time."