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Mandatory Base Acre Update Creates “Winners and Losers”

For more than 20 years and the last four farm bills, farm program payments were based on a farm’s historical planted acreage, or base acres, and not on actual plantings each year.

Several agricultural groups and stakeholders are pushing for an update to base acres in the next farm bill. However, Senate Ag Committee Republicans released a report saying a mandatory base acre update would force farmers to update their farm’s base acres to reflect a more recent snapshot of their planting history. The economic effects would be significant and are conservatively estimated to result in an overall loss of $2 billion to farmers and rural communities because of a decline in farm program benefits in fiscal years 2024 to 2033.

“Few in agriculture would benefit from a base acre update,” the report says. “It would create winners and losers and would certainly complicate efforts to pass a farm bill.”

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