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Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686

Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman reminds farmers and ranchers that Oct. 1 is the beginning of an important, initial sign-up 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.   "As of today, producers can sign up so that program benefits can be provided in a timely and efficient manner," Veneman said Tuesday.

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 began Oct. 1, 2002, 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.  

2000 Apple Market Loss Assistance Program: Sign-up Begins Oct. 1  

Sign-up for the 2000 Apple Market Loss Assistance Program (AMLAP-III) begins Oct. 1 and continues until Nov. 8,2002. AMLAP-III will provide about $94 million to eligible growers for their 2000-crop apple production. These AMLAP-III payments will help offset economic losses due to low prices in the U.S. apple market. Growers can receive a payment per pound for their 2000-crop apple production, and they will be paid on a maximum of five million pounds per separate apple operation.   To receive cash payments, eligible apple producers must: (1) have produced and harvested apples during the 2000-crop year; and (2) apply for cash payments during the application period for each apple operation.   Sign-up for other Farm Bill programs, such as the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program and the Peanut Quota Buyout Program (QBOP) began on Aug. 13 and on Sept. 3 respectively.   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 website at http://www.usda.gov/.  

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