As of Monday (Oct. 21), the USDA is again making Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) annual rental payments.

According to a press release, the agency “also will distribute 2013 direct payments and 2012 Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program payments beginning Oct. 24. Payments originally were scheduled to be issued earlier in the month, but were delayed by several weeks due to the lapse in federal funding.”

According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, “Farmers, ranchers and rural landowners across the country count on USDA programs and the payment delays due to the shutdown were an unnecessary burden. USDA has prioritized making these scheduled payments without any further delay and Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff have worked hard to get this assistance out the door as quickly as possible.”

More on the situation here.

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. CRP reduced runoff and leaching of nitrogen and phosphorus into waterways by an estimated 605 million pounds and 121 million pounds, respectively, in 2012, and soil erosion reductions totaling 308 million tons in 2012.

Direct payments for 2013 for the DCP and ACRE programs are being made to the more than 1.7 million farms enrolled in FSA 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.

USDA noted that the extension of the 2008 farm bill earlier this year provided the agency authority to enroll land in DCP, ACREand CRP through Sept. 30, 2013. With the expiration of the extension and no current farm bill, however, “no legislation has been enacted to reauthorize or extend this authority. Effective Oct. 1, 2013, FSA does not have legislative authority to approve or process applications for these programs.”

For more on the programs, see here.

News of the CRP payments again being distributed was greeted with thanks by the National Cotton Council.

“The U.S. cotton industry is very grateful for USDA’s timeliness on these distributions, which had been scheduled to be issued earlier in the month, but were delayed due to the lapse in federal funding,” said NCC Chairman Jimmy Dodson.“This will facilitate orderly crop marketing as well as the availability of working capital as the peak harvest season approaches.”

Ag news delivered daily to your inbox: Subscribe to Delta Farm Press Daily.