The director of the Barry County Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced the start of sign-ups for two USDA programs.
Brian Blount reminds area producers that sign-up for the Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC) began on Dec. 22, 2008, and will continue through the program's expiration date on Sept. 30, 2012.
The 2008 Farm Bill reauthorizes the MILC Program, which operates similarly to the counter-cyclical payment program for crops, and makes three key changes in program operation.
Under the 2008 Act, the MILC payment rate and the per-operation poundage limit are modified, depending on when the milk is produced.
In addition, a "feed cost adjuster," is introduced over the life of the 2008 Act, which adjusts the $16.94 per hundredweight (cwt.) benchmark price upward depending on the cost of feed rations.
When available, MILC payments are based on a payment rate percentage that is multiplied by the difference between a now-flexible target ($16.94 per cwt. or higher) and the specific month's Boston Class I price of milk.
USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) issues MILC payments on an operation-by-operation basis up to a maximum of 2.4 million pounds of milk produced and marketed (about 120 cows) from Oct. 1, 2007, through Sept. 30, 2008.
The production limit per operation increases to 2.985 million pounds (about 145 cows) for each fiscal year from Oct. 1, 2008, through Aug. 31, 2012. The production limitation reverts back to the original limit of 2.4 million pounds per fiscal year in Sept. 2012.
Beginning with fiscal year 2009 marketings, which started Oct. 1, 2008, the 2008 Act made changes to the provisions for payment eligibility to add an adjusted gross income (AGI) limit. If the individual or entity has annual non-farm AGI for the relevant base period greater than $500,000, the individual or entity is not eligible for MILC benefits.
During the sign-up application period, participating dairy operations must select the month of the fiscal year to start receiving payments for eligible production.
Producers submitting a contract application within 30 days of the beginning of the application period can select any preceding month as the start month. Producers submitting contract applications after Jan. 21 will not have that option.
Eligible dairy producers are those who commercially produce milk in the United States. To receive program approval, producers must enter into a MILC contract with CCC and provide monthly milk marketing data.
Barry County farmers are also reminded about enrolling for the 2009 Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment (DCP) program for farms. Ernollment for that program began on Dec. 22, 2008, and continues through June 1, 2009.
Producers can enroll using the eDCP automated website; however, producers can also visit the Barry County FSA office to complete their 2009 DCP contract.
USDA computes DCP program payments using base acres and payment yields established for each farm. Eligible producers receive direct payments at established rates regardless of market prices. For 2009, producers may request to receive advance direct payments based on 22 percent of the direct payment for each commodity associated with the farm.
Counter-cyclical payment rates vary depending on market prices and are issued only when the effective price for a commodity is set below its target price.
Area producers can enroll for both the MILC and DCP programs at the Barry County FSA Office, which is located at 76 Main St. in Cassville. For more information, call the office at 847-2111, extension 2. Information can also be accessed at www.fsa.usda.gov.