The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 allows farmers to update their acreage bases and update their program yields for the calculation of its new counter-cyclical payments. The letters will tell farmers what records FSA has on their current acreages.

“The 2002 Farm Bill gives farmers several options for establishing or updating bases,” said Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman in a press release issued by USDA today. “We are asking producers to review and update their information now so payments can be issued promptly this fall.”

The secretary said the FSA letters include a Summary Acreage History Report showing the acreage of covered commodities reported to FSA. Included will be planted acres or acres prevented from being planted for 1998 through 2001.

If the information is correct, producers do not need to take any action. If the information is wrong, producers will need to provide verifiable documentation of acreage and yields to their local FSA office by Aug. 31. Verifiable documentation may include seed receipts, production records and crop insurance records.

The new farm bill provides for direct and counter-cyclical payments to be made to eligible producers of covered commodity crops for the 2002 through 2007 crops, Veneman noted. Covered commodities include wheat, corn, sorghum, barley, oats, upland cotton, rice, soybeans, sunflower seeds, canola, flaxseed, mustard, safflower, and rapeseed.

Producers who have questions should contact their local USDA Service Center or county FSA office.

Information about 2002 Farm Bill issues is available at www.usda.gov.

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