Economic Research Report No. (ERR-72) 49 pp

April 2009

Economic Aspects of Revenue-Based Commodity Support

Interest in revenue-based commodity support is evident in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill), which gives eligible producers the option of participating in the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program in return for reductions and eliminations of payments under more traditional programs. This report examines how the uncertainty in U.S. domestic commodity support payments for corn may differ between traditional-style approaches (defined as price-based payments plus yield-based disaster payments) to support and two revenue-based support scenarios. Variability around the total expected annual payment was found to be lower under revenue-based support, as was the probability of high payments. These results suggest potential advantages to this type of support, both in terms of lower budgetary uncertainty for the Federal Government and in better ensuring that agricultural support outlays stay below a certain ceiling. In addition, the volatility of corn revenue was found to be lower in almost all corn producing counties under the revenue-based alternatives than under the traditional price-based approaches.

Keywords: Domestic commodity support, revenue-based support, marketing loan benefits, countercyclical payments, disaster assistance, Federal crop insurance

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