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Farmers may still enroll for a workshop today, Friday, designed to facilitate discussion about the 2014 Farm Bill, and give crop growers information about which federal agriculture programs might best benefit their operations.

The bill includes changes to provisions such as insurance and a direct payment option based on acreage grown, said Ben Beale, senior agent with the University of Maryland Extension.

“In times of drought or disaster,” Beale said, “federal provisions can be very important to farmers.”

About 50 people so far are expected to attend the event, Beale said. Registration is required, and is open until this morning for the 2014 Farm Bill Workshop, hosted by the University of Maryland Extension office. Call 301-475-4484. The event is planned for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the St. Mary’s Agricultural Services Center, 26737 Radio Station Way in Leonardtown. If attendance is not possible, questions also may be directed to the Farm Service Agency at 301-475-8431.

Friday’s agenda includes an overview of new farm bill programs, legal issues and understanding the decision-making process — a session for farmers focusing on commodity crops. Topics are subject to change.

This fall, farmers are going to have to make choices about the programs they will select for enrollment through the legislation, which rolls out about every five years, Beale said. But, he said, “you only get one chance when the farm bill comes out to make your elections.”

nclark@somdnews.com