WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman is reminding producers that they have until Tuesday to complete sign-up for the 2004-crop Direct and Counter-cyclical Payments and avoid a late application fee.

The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 requires that producers sign annual contracts through 2007 to participate in the DCP program. Sign up for the 2004 DCP began on Oct. 1, 2003 and continues through June 1.

"I encourage producers who want to participate in the 2004 Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment program to sign up at their local Farm Service Agency office before June 1," said Veneman. Since the program began in October 2002, USDA has issued more than $11 billion in DCP payments to producers, including $2 billion in 2004 direct payments.

Regulations prescribe a $100 late fee for sign up after June 1, 2004. To avoid the late fee, producers must contact their local FSA office prior to the June 1 deadline. Producers will not be able to sign up for 2004 DCP payments after Sept. 30, 2004.

Producers may opt out of participating in the program any year if they choose. Any farm enrolled in the 2004 DCP, however, will retain eligibility for the 2005 and subsequent DCP programs.

Producers may access the relevant DCP enrollment forms on the FSA website and then submit them to their local service center. USDA also encourages producers to access their individual Customer Statement on the USDA website, where they can gain program information and payment history through one online source at http://customerstatement.usda.gov/.

In order to insure personal identity, producers must first register online for a USDA eAuthentication Account by creating a user ID and password and confirming their e-mail. The final step requires visiting a local USDA Service Center to complete the eAuthentication process.

2004 rates and schedules

Both direct and counter-cyclical payments are computed using the base acres and payment yields established for each farm last spring, which are effective through 2007. Producers receive direct payments at rates established by statute regardless of market prices, while counter-cyclical payment rates vary depending on market prices.

The following are the 2004 crop year direct payment rates and maximum potential counter-cyclical rates:

Commodity Unit Direct($/unit) MaximumCounter-cyclical($/unit)
Barley Bushel 0.24 0.15
Corn Bushel 0.28 0.40
Grain Sorghum Bushel 0.35 0.27
Oats Bushel 0.024 0.086
Other Oilseeds Pound 0.0080 0.00
Peanuts Ton 36.00 104.00
Rice Hundredweight 2.35 1.65
Soybeans Bushel 0.44 0.36
Upland Cotton Pound 0.0667 0.1373
Wheat Bushel 0.52 0.65

Schedule of payments for the 2004 DCP:

  • Began December 2003: 50 percent advance direct payment.
  • October 2004: 50 percent final direct payment.
  • October 2004: first advance counter-cyclical payment (up to 35 percent of projected payment).
  • February 2005: second advance counter-cyclical payment (up to 70 percent of projected payment less first advance).
  • Dates vary by crop (in general, 30 days following the end of the marketing year): final counter-cyclical payment (100 percent of actual payment, less any advances received).

    More information on DCP is available at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices and on FSA's Web site at: www.fsa.usda.gov.

    e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com