USDA payments going out to farmers

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has announced the start of distribution of USDA Conservation Reserve Program annual rental payments to participants across the country. The USDA also will distribute 2013 direct payments and 2012 Average Crop Revenue Election program payments beginning Thursday, Oct. 24. Payments originally were scheduled to be issued earlier in the month, but were delayed by several weeks due to the lapse in federal funding.

“Farmers, ranchers and rural landowners across the country count on USDA programs and the payment delays due to the shutdown were an unnecessary burden,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “We have prioritized making these scheduled payments without any further delay and Farm Service Agency staff have worked hard to get this assistance out the door as quickly as possible.”

Producers will receive payments on almost 700,000 CRP contracts on 390,000 farms covering 26.8 million acres. In exchange for a yearly rental payment provided by USDA on contracts ranging from 10 to 15 years, farmers and ranchers enrolled in CRP agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant grasses or trees that will improve water quality and improve waterfowl and wildlife habitat.

The CRP reduced runoff and leaching of nitrogen and phosphorus into waterways by an estimated 605 million pounds and 121 million pounds, respectively, in 2012, and soil erosion reductions totaling 308 million tons in 2012.

“Participation in these programs is a great example of how farmers continue to be good stewards of their land and water resources,” said Matthew J. Lohr, VDACS commissioner, “and I am very pleased that USDA has made funding them a priority after the recent shutdown.”

Direct payments for 2013 for the DCP and ACRE programs are being made to the more than 1.7 million farms enrolled in the Farm Service Agency’s programs. Producers with base acres of certain commodities are eligible for DCP payments. ACRE payments for 2012-crop barley, corn, grain sorghum, lentils, oats, peanuts, dry peas, soybeans and wheat are scheduled to be released October 24 and contingent upon national average market prices and yields in each state.

The 2008 Farm Bill, extended by the American Tax Payer Relief Act of 2012, provides authority to enroll land in DCP, ACRE and CRP through Sept. 30; however, no legislation has been enacted to reauthorize or extend this authority.  Effective Oct. 1, FSA does not have legislative authority to approve or process applications for these programs.

For more information on CRP, DCP and ACRE, producers should contact their local FSA office or visit FSA’s website at