USA Rice Federation Chairman Jamie Warshaw and USA Rice Producers’ Group Chairman Tommy Hoskyn this week urged Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer “to issue the rules and regulations for the new Supplemental Revenue (disaster) Assistance Payments Program (SURE) as quickly as possible so producers in impacted areas have the opportunity to sign up for assistance that this new disaster aid program may provide.

“The requirements of the SURE program also make it critical that the disaster declarations are issued so that producers in impacted areas are eligible to participate in this program,” they said.

Warshaw and Hoskyn said rice producers and their 2008 crops have been hit by severe weather, with hurricane and tropical storm Gustav devastating parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

Rice is under water or lodged in many fields, they noted. Some producers face a total of a portion of their crop.

They also said harvesting downed rice from waterlogged fields and drying it will increase fuel costs “on top of an already very costly planting and growing season.”