USDA SAYS CROP LOSS PAYMENTS ARE ON THE WAY
"WASHINGTON, D.C.," Compensation for 2000 crop year losses are arriving to pay off last season's loans and secure final arrangements for a
new crop year already underway in many parts of the country. In previous
years, producer payments had not arrived until April 2000 and as late as
June in 1999. Producers began in January making applications for last
season's weather-related crop losses, while incoming USDA management worked
through a paperwork backlog left behind from September. House Agriculture
Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-Texas) praised new Agriculture Secretary
Ann Veneman for accelerating the process to get payments to producers.
"Secretary Veneman inherited an approval process 54 days ago that
was far from complete, yet made good on her promise to provide leadership
and support so USDA personnel may now deliver on payments due producers for
last year's crop losses," said Combest. "The producer's ability to complete
financial arrangements is important to moving forward with field
preparations so that loans are secured, seed and input costs are paid, and
rural communities can begin the cycle of a new growing season."
County offices of USDA's Farm Service Agency received authority
Friday to make producer payments, and in cases of pre-arranged electronic
deposits, directly to the producer's bank account. Producers who suffered
at least a 35 percent production loss in the 2000 crop year may be eligible
for signup that has continued since January 18.
Ag Chairman Combest noted that producers and their lenders could rely on
payment equaling 100 percent of the eligible production loss determined by
FSA. Congress provided "such sums as may be necessary" without a pro-rate
factor imposed in previous years that would have limited payment based on
the total number of eligible applicants.