Sign-up begins for several farm bill, disaster programs

Sign-up begins for several farm bill, disaster programs Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman is reminding refarmers and ranchers that Oct. 1 is an important, initial sign-up date for several programs authorized under the 2002 Farm Bill, as well as a disaster assistance program established to help livestock producers suffering from this year's severe drought.

"October 1 is an important date for producers eligible to participate in these programs," said Veneman. "As of today, producers can sign up so that program benefits can be provided in a timely and efficient manner."

Direct and

Counter-cyclical Program

A major feature of the new law allows producers with the option of updating historical average bases and crop yields to determine program benefits. Sign-up begins Oct. 1 for the direct and counter-cyclical program for crop years 2002 and 2003.

The 2002 Farm Bill provides for payments to be made to eligible producers of covered commodities and peanuts for the 2002 through 2007 crop years. Direct and counter cyclical payments are made to producers with established crop bases and payment yields.

Payment rates for direct payments are established by the 2002 Farm Bill and are issued regardless of market prices. Producers also are eligible for counter-cyclical payments, but payments are issued only if effective prices are less than the target prices set in the 2002 Farm Bill.

The effective price is equal to the higher of the average loan rate or national average market price received by producers, plus the direct payment rate.

Livestock

Compensation Program

Sign-up for the Livestock Compensation Program, for cattle, sheep, goats and buffalo producers in counties that have received primary disaster designation due to drought in 2001 and/or 2002 also begins Oct. 1.

Approximately $752 million is being made available for this program which will assist livestock producers who have been impacted by severe drought conditions and have very limited risk management tools available.

Sign-up for other Farm Bill programs, such as the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program, began on Aug. 13.

For more information on these and other programs, please contact your local USDA Service Center or FSA office. Specific information, including press releases and fact sheets, can be obtained on USDA's Web site at http://www.usda.gov/.

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