We have gotten numerous questions regarding the base reallocation election available to owners and we are summarizing these in a Q & A format:
Q. Can I increase my base acres?
A. No. You cannot increase or decrease your base acres. Those total acres are set; however, you are allowed to reallocate those acres from your old base (by covered crop) to a new base (by covered crop).
Q. What if I planted more acres than I had base acres?
A. That is OK. All it does is adjust your percentage based upon total covered acres planted. For example, if you had 500 corn base acres and 500 soybean base acres and you planted on average 800 corn acres and 400 soybean acres over 2009-2012, you can either keep the 500 of each or update to 667 corn base acres and 333 soybean base acres.
Q. What if I did not plant any covered crop for that year?
A. Those years are ignored in calculating your averages. For example, if you planted 400 acres to corn in 2009, 2010, and 2011 and no acres in 2012, your average is 400, not 300.
Q. What if I planted less acres on average than my base acres?
A. This is similar to when you plant more acres. All it does is affect your fractions for the periods involved. For example, suppose you had the 500 corn and soybean base acres. In each year you planted 300 acres of corn and soybeans and planted the rest to non-covered crops such as hay, vegetables, etc. your base would remain the same since the percentage has not changed.
Q. What happens if I do not want to reallocate acres?
A. You are not required to reallocate base acres. You can simply leave as is.
Q. When should I reallocate?
A. Normally, you will reallocate base acres if you think the new base will provide more payments during the life of the farm bill. For example, it is highly likely that corn will pay substantially more than soybeans over the life of the bill. If your reallocation would increase corn base acres and reduce soybean base acres, then it would pay to reallocate base acres.