Release No. 0049.12
Isabel Benemelis (202) 720-7809
WASHINGTON, May 18, 2012 - Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Bruce Nelson today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has begun issuing approximately $1.996 million in fiscal year 2011 payments through a program that assists farmers and producers outside the contiguous continental United States who paid to transport either an agricultural commodity or an input used to produce an agricultural commodity. In addition, FSA announced that the sign-up period for this fiscal year's program begins on July 23, 2012.
"This program will partially compensate U.S. farmers and ranchers outside the contiguous continental United States who are at a competitive disadvantage when they move their products to market," Nelson said.
Authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, the Reimbursement Transportation Cost Payment Program for Geographically Disadvantaged Farms and Ranchers (RTCP) provides payments intended to offset a portion of the costs of transporting agricultural inputs and products over long distances. The program assists farmers and ranchers in Alaska, Hawaii and insular areas, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands of the United States, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Republic of Palau.
RTCP benefits are calculated based on the amount of costs incurred by the producer for transportation of the agricultural commodity or inputs during a fiscal year, subject to an $8,000 per producer cap per fiscal year. Fiscal year 2011 payments to geographically disadvantaged farmers and ranchers began May 3, 2012. Total claims exceeded available funding, therefore a payment factor will be applied to program payments.
Sign-up for fiscal year 2012 will begin on July 23, 2012, and end on Sept. 10, 2012. Applicants must file their RTCP application for benefits, in their administrative county FSA office no later than Sept. 10, 2012. Applicants will have until Nov. 5, 2012, to provide supporting documentation of actual costs of transporting agricultural inputs and commodities in fiscal year 2012 to the FSA county office.
The Obama Administration, with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's leadership, has worked tirelessly to strengthen rural America, implement the Farm Bill, maintain a strong farm safety net, and create opportunities for America's farmers and ranchers. U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing one of its most productive periods in American history thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of our producers. A strong farm safety net is important to sustain the success of American agriculture. For example, USDA's crop insurance program insures 264 million acres, 1.14 million policies, and $110 billion worth of liability on about 500,000 farms. And in response to tighter financial markets, USDA has expanded the availability of farm credit, helping struggling farmers refinance loans. In the past 3 years, USDA provided 103,000 loans to family farmers totaling $14.6 billion. Over 50 percent of the loans went to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
For more information on the RTCP program, farmers and ranchers in the eligible areas can visit their local FSA county office or http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pricesupport
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).