USDA Honors Commitment, Rice Farmers to Receive Payments in November

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 27, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Waldrip, 870.295.8454, lauren@noblestrat.com
USDA Honors Commitment, Rice Farmers to 
Receive Payments in November
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that nearly 1 million farmers will receive safety-net payments from the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs beginning next month. Established as part of the 2014 Farm Bill, this new program ensures producers are protected from marketplace events resulting in unexpected drops in crop prices and revenues.
The 2014 Farm Bill eliminated previous direct payments and outlined new ARC and PLC provisions. This transition has not worked as well for rice growers as it has for other commodities. The timing of the transition meant that 2014 crop year payments would not be made until late 2015. Combined with the drop in commodity prices, producers have had to repay production costs twice and obtain financing at least once by the end of the 2015 season.
These concerns were outlined in a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack from USA Rice Federation Chairman Dow Brantley and USA Rice Producers’ Group Chairman John Owen in January 2015. The letter also proposed that both long and medium grain rice prices be determined based on the final prices respectively for the calendar year and payments be made in October – consistent with other covered commodities. Secretary Vilsak responded positively to the request, agreeing to accelerate the payments.
“This new safety-net payment program made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill will benefit rice farmers who have been impacted by unpredicted market forces,” said USA Rice Chairman Dow Brantley. “While the need for these payments is unfortunate, the timely manner in which USDA is dealing with them is welcome.”
The ARC/PLC programs allow producers to continue production for the market by making payments on a percentage of historical base production. Ninety-nine percent of long grain rice farms and 94 percent of medium grain rice farms elected the PLC option. For more payment data and other program information visit www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc.