Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer on Wednesday announced the sign-up for direct and counter cyclical payment programs under the new Farm Bill. This follows the announcement on June 12 of 2008 marketing loan rates.
"Sign-up for the '08 direct and counter cyclical payment program is now open. When producers sign up for the DCP they will immediately be eligible for a 22% advance on their direct payment", Schafer says. "We expect these advanced payments will amount to $1 billion over the next few months. And checks will start going out in early July to those who sign up right away for the program. Overall, we expect 1.5 million producers to participate in this program, and because of the delayed passage of this year's farm bill, the late fee that normally applies to sign-ups after June 1st will not be charged this year."
Schafer says the rules for the program are very similar to 2007 rules. Producers won't need to file new farm operating plans unless they have had changes in operations that would affect their eligibility, and adjusted gross income compliance certification of record will carry forward this year.
One change from last year that is being instituted immediately is the elimination of payments to producers with less than 10 base acres.
"I am pleased that we are off to a fast start here," Schafer says. "We are going to work hard to keep the pace in the months ahead."