FAQ: Which USDA farm programs are available in the farm bill extension for 2013?
Answer: When the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, or ATRA, was signed into law in early January, it continued some but not all of the USDA programs administered by the Commodity Credit Corporation through the Farm Service Agency. Programs that were extended include the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program, or DCP, along with the Average Crop Revenue Election, or ACRE program. ATRA also extended the USDA price support programs; Marketing Assistance Loans, Loan Deficiency Payments and the MILC program.
Beth Grabau, public information and outreach specialist with Iowa FSA state office in Des Moines, provides the following answers to questions about the farm program extension for 2013. For details contact your local FSA office or go to www.fsa.usda.gov/ia.
QUESTION: What’s the deadline for signing up for the DCP program for 2013? I’ve been enrolled in ACRE in the past, what affect does the USDA farm bill extension for 2013 have on that option of the USDA program?
Answer: Beginning February 19 of this year producers could begin either signing up online using the eDCP automated website or they can visit an FSA office to complete their 2013 DCP/ACRE contract.
As producers begin considering shares for 2013 DCP contracts, they are reminded that:
* All producers planting on DCP base acres must be identified on the DCP/ACRE enrollment contact and receive a proportionate share of DCP/ACRE payment for the farm.
* Changes in ownership, producers or the crop share arrangement on the FSA farm made after enrolling in DCP/ACRE must be reported to your local FSA offices.
* Changes to 2013 DCP/ACRE enrollment contacts cannot be made after September 30, 2013.
Producers can also elect the ACRE option since all farms previously electing ACRE are no longer required to stay in ACRE. The 2013 ACRE program provisions are unchanged from 2012, except that all eligible participants in 2013 may choose to enroll in ACRE for the 2013 crop year. This means eligible producers who were elected and enrolled in ACRE in 2012 may enroll in DCP in 2013 or may re-enroll in ACRE in 2013. The ACRE sign-up period will end on June 3, 2013.
The 2008 Farm Bill states that no 2013 advance direct payments for DCP and ACRE are to be issued. Direct payments at rates established by statute are expected to be made in October 2013.
QUESTION: I use commodity loans, what is their status?
Answer: Marketing Assistance Loans, or MALs, and Loan Deficiency Payments, or LDPs, have been extended with the ATRA Act that was signed into law in January. These commodity loan programs provide financing and marketing assistance for wheat, rice, feed grains, soybeans and other oilseeds, peanuts, pulse crops, cotton, honey and wool. Assistance is available to eligible producers beginning with harvest or shearing season and extending through the program year.
MALs provide producers interim financing at or after harvest to help meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are typically at harvesttime lows. A producer who’s eligible to obtain a loan, but agrees to forgo the loan, may obtain an LDP if such payments are available.
QUESTION: I’ve heard the MILC program is an automatic extension. What do I need to do for the MILC program at this time?
Answer: This program is an automatic extension. On February 5, MILC payments were starting to be made for operations that provided FSA offices with their September 2012 marketings. Since contracts have been automatically extended, there is no need for producers to re-enroll into this program. To qualify, producers must submit monthly production evidence. MILC compensates dairy producers when domestic milk prices fall below a specified level. Eligible dairy producers can apply for program benefits anytime through September 30, 2013.
To maintain eligibility, MILC participants must notify the FSA office of any operation changes, such as a change in producer’s shares, address or bank information. For dairy producers to receive a MILC payment, they must meet adjusted gross income requirements by completing a "CCC-933 AGI Certification and Consent to Disclosure of Tax Information."
New dairy producers wanting to enroll in MILC must fill out a "CCC-580 Milk Income Loss Contract" and select a start-month for which CCC will begin issuing payments to the dairy operation. Current dairies participating in MILC can make changes to their start-month with certain restrictions.