Because it restructured the national loan rates, the new farm bill required USDA to make changes in county loan rates for all of the 2002 crops. USDA also updated the terminal markets used by the Commodity Credit Corp. to establish posted county prices or PCPs. The latter are used for redeeming marketing loans.

“The new county loan rate structure, which provides upward changes in most areas, reflects the most comprehensive adjustments in more than 15 years,” the USDA’s Farm Service Agency said in a press release.

“The changes are intended to reduce cumulative market distortions and loan deficiency payment (LDP) disparities that have emerged over the years. Some of the existing county loan rates trace to 1985and no longer reflects the geographic pattern of market prices.”

FSA said the exception is soybean loan rates, which generally have been adjusted annually, thus avoiding significant distortions and disparities among local areas.

“This restructuring is consistent with guidance provided by House/Senate Conferees for the 2002 Act and their expectation that the Secretary of Agriculture would utilize the generally upward changes in national loan rates to revise county loan rates,” the press release said.

The Agriculture Department’s announcement included:

  • National loan rates for the 2002 wheat crops differentiated by each of five classes of wheat: hard amber durum; hard red spring; hard red winter; soft red winter; and soft white wheat. County loan rates are being updated to reflect recent market price relationships among counties.
  • Corn, grain sorghum, barley, and oats county loan rates are each being updated to reflect recent market price relationships among counties.
  • Corn, grain sorghum, and barley terminal markets and differentials (used to calculate alternative loan repayment rates) also are being updated.
  • National loan rates for the 2002 crops of oilseeds are being differentiated by each of seven different oilseed types: oil-type sunflower seed; other-type sunflower seed; flaxseed; canola; rapeseed; safflower; and mustard seed. County loan rates are being updated to reflect recent market price relationships among counties.
  • The 2002-crop national loan rates for “other oilseeds” are based on five-year average price relationships among the oilseeds, and are production weighted to equal the statutorily mandated “other oilseed” loan rate of $0.096 per pound.
  • The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act mandated new loan programs for peanuts and pulses (dry peas, lentils and chickpeas). The loan rates for these crops will be announced in the near future.

    Further information on the county loan rates is available from Terry Hickenbotham, USDA-FSA-EPAS, Stop 0508, Room 3745, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-0508; via phone at (202) 720-3451; via e-mail at > e-mail: terry_hickenbotham@wdc.usda.gov; or via fax at (202) 690-2186.

    Copies of the rate schedules are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/psd/loanrate.htm or from Thomas Fink, USDA-FSA-PSD, Stop 0512, Room 4089A, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-0512; via phone at (202) 720-8701; via e-mail at> e-mail: tom_fink@wdc.usda.gov; or via fax at (202) 690﷓3307.

    e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com