USDA Restarts Making MILC, SURE Payments; To Resume Continuous CRP Signup

May 8, 2013 03:09 AM

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MILC, SURE and other payments restart today; continuous signup for CRP resumes May 13

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

The suspension of processing payments under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) and Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) programs has been lifted as of today (May 8) and USDA has also now lifted their suspension on enrolling acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) under the continuous signup effort which will restart May 13.


Payments were halted as the sequester situation unfolded in March as USDA was contemplating having to reduce those payments by a certain percentage. However, USDA instead opted to make an 8.5 percent reduction in direct payments instead of reducing SURE and other payments as some of the payments have already been made.

Sources advise that payments under SURE and other programs that had been delayed due to the sequester are now reauthorized as of today.


The software used to make MILC payments was taken offline March 1 as the sequester effectively halted the payment process, according to USDA. But as of today, May 8, County FSA offices are again authorized to begin making payments under the program.

The following are the FY 2013 MILC payment rates for the contract periods of October 2012 through March 2013.


MILC Payment Rate

October 2012


November 2012


December 2012


January 2013


February 2013


March 2013


In addition, USDA noted that the prompt payment interest rule applies, meaning that county offices have 60 calendar days to issue payment from the latter of the date all production evidence and supporting documentation is received, or the date the final MILC payment rate adjusted for feed costs is known and made available.


The continuous signup under the program was not authorized for FY 2013 and USDA had limited activity under the program to only those adjustments that did not result in new outlays of funds.

As of May 13, USDA has now authorized County FSA offices to begin taking continuous CRP applications and to make any changes to other CRP contracts that would result in an obligation of new funds.

For CRP continuous signup the authority to enroll includes offer acceptance and contract approval for all conservation initiatives offered under the continuous signup, including the following:

  • Highly Erodible Land Initiative

  • Longleaf Pine Initiative

  • Wetland Restoration Initiative

  • Upland Bird Habitat Buffer Initiative

  • Duck Nesting Habitat Initiative

  • Pollinator Initiative

A general CRP signup is on tap May 20 through June 14.

Comments:  There have been several questions raised on the SURE in recent weeks about when the payments would restart and that situation now appears to be resolved – they are now authorized to be paid. As for the continuous CRP signup, some had speculated that the lack of authorization was potentially linked to a desire by USDA to see how many acres would be offered during the general signup this month, while others linked it to the sequester uncertainty. It now appears the latter was the case.


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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