Rice growers who lost acreage in 2022 are eligible for federal assistance
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency is making $250 million available to rice growers who lost production acreage in 2022. USDA on May 8 began sending prefilled applications to rice producers who may want to seek aid. Funds are provided through the new Rice Production Program, which will consider assistance to farmers based on 2022 planted and “prevented planted” rice acreage. Growers who derive 75% or more of their average adjusted gross income from farming can qualify for payments of up to $250,000.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin sending prefilled applications to rice producers the week of May 8 for the new Rice Production Program (RPP), which will provide up to $250 million in assistance to rice farmers based on 2022 planted and prevented planted acres.
On Dec. 29, 2022, President Biden signed into law H.R. 2617, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, which provided the authority and funding for USDA to make payments to rice producers based on data already on file with USDA, including planted acres and acres prevented from being planted.
“USDA is streamlining the application process for rice producers by mailing a pre-filled application to eligible producers,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This approach will result in significant time savings for both farmers and USDA employees, helping to ensure the swift delivery of program benefits to producers and further our goal of better serving farmers.”
How to Apply
FSA is mailing pre-filled applications to producers using information on file with USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) or FSA, as reported by rice producers through their crop insurance agents or FSA county offices.
To apply for assistance through the RPP, producers must return their completed FSA-174, Rice Production Program Application, to their recording FSA county office by close of business on Monday, July 10, 2023. Applications may be submitted either in person, by mail, email, or facsimile.
Producers who reported eligible rice to FSA by the acreage reporting deadline but do not receive a pre-filled application may still apply by visiting their local FSA office and completing the application by Monday, July 10, 2023. Producers who filed late or modified 2022 rice acreage reports will not be eligible for RPP.
FSA will make an initial payment to eligible producers at a reduced payment rate of one cent per pound. If funds remain at the end of the application period, a second payment, not to exceed one cent per pound may be issued to eligible producers. To be eligible, a producer must have reported to FSA a share interest in eligible rice.
As directed by the omnibus legislation, FSA will calculate payments by multiplying the:
- Payment rate;
- Individual average actual production history (APH) as reported to RMA or the FSA-established yield; and
- Amount of certified rice acres determined by the number of planted acres and acres that were prevented from being planted.
If applicable, a prevented planted factor of 60% will be applied.
The payment limitation for the program is set by statute and is higher if the farmer’s average adjusted gross farm income (income from activities related to farming, ranching or forestry) is more than 75% of their average adjusted gross income (AGI). Specifically, a person or legal entity with an average adjusted gross farm income of less than 75% of their average AGI cannot receive, directly or indirectly, more than $125,000 in payments. Farmers who derive 75% or more of their average AGI from farming qualify for a $250,000 payment limit. AGI is based on the three taxable years preceding the most immediately preceding complete tax year.
Rice farmers may visit their local county office to submit the appropriate form and certification (FSA-510, Request for an Exception to the $125,000 Payment Limitation for Certain Programs), if they qualify for and want to seek the higher payment limit.