USDA has started distributing Conservation Reserve Program rental payments and the agency will begin distributing 2013 direct payments and 2012 Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program payments on Oct. 24. The direct payments will be reduced due to the sequester but USDA has not said how much that reduction will be, although other sequester-related reductions have been 5.1%. Payments were originally scheduled to be issued earlier this month, but the government shutdown through Oct. 16 delayed their release.
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.
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 beginning Oct. 24 and contingent upon national average market prices and yields in each state. ACRE payments for large chickpeas, small chickpeas, canola, crambe, flaxseed, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower, sesame, and sunflowers are scheduled to be made in early December and for long grain rice and medium and short grain rice in early February 2014 when the final 2012-13 market year average price data becomes available.
For more information on CRP, DCP and ACRE, producers should contact their local FSA office or visit FSA's website.