New Opportunity for Producers with Generic Base Acres

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Producers with Generic Base Acres Can Now Make Updates with FSA

Application period for elections on generic base acres is now open through December 7, 2018.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), has opened the application period for elections to be made on generic base acres.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 designated Seed Cotton as a program crop and eliminated generic base acres and the base allocation process. Now, producers with generic base will have a one-time opportunity to allocate those generic base acres to program crop base acres (including the new seed cotton base) and make the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) selections on the seed cotton base. Farm owners will also have the opportunity to update payment yields for seed cotton.

The options for reallocation of generic base are:

  • 80% of generic base is allocated to seed cotton base and 20% is allocated as unassigned base—with no payments possible on unassigned base (default).
  • New seed cotton base will equal the average cotton acres (planted or prevented) from 2009-2012, not to exceed the generic base total.
  • Generic base is allocated in proportion to average planted and prevented planted crops from 2009-2012 (must be program crops).

Producers must make the ARC or PLC election on all farms with new seed cotton base. If the election is not made by December 7, PLC will be the default election.

The FSA has halted approval of all ARC/PLC 861 contracts on farms with generic base. They must be updated with new base acres, programs, and yields before the approval will happen.

 Farm owners will have two options to update PLC payment yields for seed cotton:

  • Multiply the existing upland cotton Counter-Cyclical yield by 2.4 (default)
  • 90% of the average yield of planted upland cotton for years 2008-2012

Should producers not choose PLC, there is still an opportunity to update to maximum yields.

While the planted and prevented planted history was sent out to producers by FSA, many producers have reported that they have not received letters. Producers can request that history from the FSA to help make decisions.

K·Coe Isom’s Farm Program Services can help producers with this election process in order to make the best decisions for their individual operations. Should you have questions regarding these elections, please reach out to our Farm Program Services team.

Matthew Farrell
Matthew demonstrates his passion for agriculture as he provides crop insurance, farm-program services, and farm financial management for producers. Fascinated with the impact of commodity markets and government on farming operations, Matthew keeps close watch on how they affect the farmers he serves.
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2 thoughts on “New Opportunity for Producers with Generic Base Acres”

  1. Dan Schuller

    This looks like it is only for cotton, I have some rice acres i would like to get in the program. If i get in to cotton can i then switch to rice?


    1. K·Coe Editoral

      Great question! You are correct, this one-time election is only for Generic Base, which was ‘old Cotton Base’ prior to the 2014 Farm Bill. We do not anticipate this election to be available again any time soon. The opportunity to change base acres with the FSA is a rare occurrence. The 2014 Farm Bill allowed established base acres to be reallocated to new crops based on actual plantings. It does not look like that option will be available again in this upcoming Farm Bill, but will not know for sure until we see the final language. The new bill should provide the ability to change crop programs (ARC-Co or PLC) on each farm—but again, the language is not yet finalized. If you have any other FSA or Crop Program questions, contact K·Coe Isom’s Farm Program Services lead: Matthew Farrell at


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