Signup begins for new Farm Bill program
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Signup began Tuesday for the new Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program for crop years 2002 and 2003. The new program is one of the major changes that came out of the 2002 Farm Bill and is designed to assist farmers whenever commodity prices decline. Producers should wait until they receive their base option notice from their local Farm Service Agency county office before they contact the FSA office to sign up. The base option notice should be mailed within the next two weeks. Under the projected countercyclical program payment rates announced by FSA last week for 2002-crop wheat, feed grains and oilseeds, producers with wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, soybean and other oilseeds base acreage will not receive a first partial countercyclical payment. "Producers are eligible for countercyclical payments only if effective prices are less than the target prices set in the 2002 Farm Bill," said Randy Johnson, FSA state executive director. "Based on projection, the 2002 effective prices exceed the respective target prices. Grain and oilseed rates are zero because reduced production of those crops around the world has led to declining inventory levels and sharply higher U.S. farm prices. Expected farm prices for the 2002 crops are now above the levels that would trigger countercyclical payments." After countercyclical payment rates are re-estimated in January, a countercyclical payment may be issued to producers.