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Conference Name 2008 Farm Bill Program Education using the Early Adopter Model

Steven Johnson


The Food, Conservation and Energy of Act of 2008 and related education on the Commodity Title brought great challenges. Those producers and landowners deemed "at risk" of commodity crop production were introduced to new programs titled SUpplemental REvenue (SURE)and Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE). In addition, new payment limitation and adjusted gross income forms were required in order to participate in the 2009 Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program (DCP).

Iowa State University Extension met the challenge with a strong working relationship with both State and County Farm Service Agency offices and their staff. Beginning in July of 2008, a comprehensive educational program plan began following national training with the use of e-mail, conference calls, dedicated web sites, web casts, webinars and on-line publications and decision tools.

This Early Adopter Model was a "work in progress" and fine-tuned from the experiences gained during the 2002 Farm Program education. A cohesive message regarding the framework on the new Farm Program allowed for late summer messages on both SURE and ACRE programs. A series of timely webcasts, webinars, website information including FAQs complimented the many changes in these FSA programs.

The need for large-scale public meetings in the late winter were still welcome, but greatly enhanced by new electronic dissemination methods utilized.

As a result, valuable "lessons learned" and "opportunities" were provided during 2008 and early 2009. Examples include the need for an FSA-Extension partnership, a team approach, expanded use of graphics as a part of training, sequenced training events and multiple methods of program delivery.