Well, we’ve written several times about the money cotton and rice growers receive from the feds. And given those dollar figures, we’ve been thinking it would sure be nice to get our hands on good-sized cotton and rice farm, sit on the porch, drink some iced tea, and cash checks. Finally, we’ve discovered a suitable chunk of land, and if we could just get a little help with the down payment we should be good to go.
Our future home is a mere 27,787 acres (plus or minus, but who’s counting?). Located in Gilbert, Louisiana- Franklin and Tensas Parish. There wasn’t much in the way of pictures on the realtor's website, and we don’t really have time to visit, but when we read that the property included “manager’s homes, shops, and tenant houses” we figured we’d be able to find at least one house on the property we liked. Or maybe we could move to a different house every month, keep things interesting.
The real estate agent has helpfully listed the number of cotton, rice, and corn “base acres” in the farm. Those are based on our historical production and determine the farm program checks we’ll receive from 2 of the 3 big farm programs.
Here’s what we’ve got:
- Cotton base of 3,229 Acres
- Rice base of 6,838 Acres
- Corn base of 2,009 Acres
Using our national averages, we’ve done some rough calculations on what we can receive in direct payments. Direct payments are paid regardless of production or price. Which means we don’t have to do a darn thing to get this money and we’ll get it no matter what the actual crop price is- we can get this money just sitting on the porch and drinking sweet tea. These are just approximate numbers, but it’s important to know so we can maximize our iced-tea time. By the by, direct payments are paid on 85% of base acres.
Cotton- $109,786 (3,229 * .85 * $40)
Rice- $557,980 (6,838 * .85 * $96)
Corn- $51,229 (2,009 * .85 * $30)
Remember, those direct payment dollar figures are only averages, so our actual payments would vary slightly. But it’s good to know our farm will receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $720,000 every year for doing nothing!
But we might- and I stress might- decide that we would like to farm. Or maybe let someone else farm and pay us for the privilege. So we need to run some numbers on total government payments (including direct payments). For a very rough estimate, let’s take a gander at what we can expect from the feds when we actually do farm.
From 2003-2006, per harvested acre, rice has averaged $270 in government payments.
- Cotton, $213
- Corn, $66
Now the acres here are not just “base” acres. This is actual acres harvested. So we can calculate for all 23,000 acres of cropland. According to our listing, we have about 12,000 acres that’ll work great for rice, and we’re feeling an urge to plant 7,000 acres of cotton and 4,000 of corn.
What do we get here?
- Rice- $3,240,000
- Cotton- $1,491,000
- Corn- $264,000
- Total- $4,995,000
Every year. Life is good. Once we find enough cash for the down payment--- and set up some paper partnerships to avoid those pesky payment limits--- we’re out of here.