The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 authorized the Reimbursement Transportation Cost Payment Program for Geographically Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (RTCP) to provide assistance to geographically disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The program reimburses producers for a portion of the transportation cost for transporting their agricultural commodity, or inputs used to produce an agricultural commodity.
RTCP is subject to appropriated funding. The 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill authorized $2.6 million for fiscal year 2010. The Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 authorized $1.996 million for fiscal year 2011. The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012 authorized $1.996 million for fiscal year 2012.
Producers eligible for RTCP include geographically disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in Hawaii and Alaska or an insular area. This includes farmers and ranchers from the following areas:
- Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
- Federated States of Micronesia
- Republic of the Marshall Islands
- Virgin Islands of the United States
The following agricultural commodities are eligible for the RTCP Program:
- Horticulture, including trees
- Insects, or products thereof
- Livestock, including elk, reindeer, bison, horses and deer.
To be eligible for RTCP program benefits, producers must:
- Be a geographically disadvantaged farmer or rancher producing, marketing, and transporting an agricultural commodity, in an approved area;
- Submit an application during the specified period applicable for each fiscal year;
- Provide proof of the amount of costs incurred for the transportation of the agricultural commodity or input;
- Comply with conservation and wetland protection requirements on all their land;
- Have an average non-farm income that does not exceed $500,000 and;
- Be a citizen or a legal resident alien of the United States in accordance with 7 CFR Part 1400 for foreign persons.
Note: Commercial fishermen are not eligible for RTCP program benefits.
RTCP payments will be:
- Calculated based on the amount of costs incurred by the producer for transportation of the agricultural commodity or inputs during a fiscal year and multiplied by the applicable percentage of allowance (COLAs) for the applicable fiscal year in the applicable area;
- Example - A producer incurred transportation costs in Hawaii for fiscal year 2012 totaling $15,000. The fiscal year 2012 percentage of allowance in Maui County, Hawaii, is 25 percent. $15,000 x 25 percent = $ 3,750.
- Subject to an $8,000 per producer cap per fiscal year and;
- Subject to a payment factor if the funding availability is exceeded in a fiscal year.
Types of transportation rates used to determine reimbursable amounts are as follows:
- Actual - rate is based on the actual transportation costs incurred by the applicant and must be determined, in all cases, from verifiable records. No other type of transportation rate is permitted under this option for the same request.
- Fixed - rate is established by FSA State Committee (STC) with Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs (DAFP) concurrence and reflects transportation rates applicable to certain agricultural commodities or inputs used to produce the agricultural commodity.
- Set - rate is established by the STC with DAFP concurrence and reflects a percent of the total cost used to represent the transportation cost incurred. This rate will only be used if the inputs do not have an established fixed rate or if a breakdown of the transportation costs is not available.
Applicants who have certified their costs, and either a fixed or set transportation rate is used to determine the reimbursable amounts, are subject to a compliance spot check to provide verifiable proof that the transportation of the agricultural commodities or inputs occurred for the applicable fiscal year.
FY 2010 Sign-Up Period (RTCP-I)
Sign-up for fiscal year 2010 began on Aug. 2, 2010, and ended on Sept. 10, 2010. Since RTCP benefits are based on transportation costs incurred during a fiscal year, producers had until Nov. 4, 2010, to provide supporting documentation of their actual transportation costs to replace any certified amounts for fiscal year 2010.
FY 2011 Sign-Up Period (RTCP- II)
Sign-up for fiscal year 2011 began on July 25, 2011, and ended on Sept. 9, 2011. Since RTCP benefits are based on transportation costs incurred during a fiscal year, producers had until Nov. 4, 2011, to provide supporting documentation of their actual transportation costs to replace any certified amounts for fiscal year 2011.
FY 2012 Sign-Up Period (RTCP-III)
Sign-up for fiscal year 2012 will begin on July 23, 2012, and end on Sept. 10, 2012. Since RTCP benefits are based on transportation costs incurred during a fiscal year, producers will have until Nov. 5, 2012, to provide supporting documentation of their actual transportation costs to replace any certified amounts for fiscal year 2012.
Where to File an Application
Applicants must file an application for benefits at the FSA Service Center that maintains the farm records for their business. Applicants located in the insular areas of the Pacific Basin must file an application for benefits directly with the Hawaii State and Pacific Basin Office. Applications and other documents required for RTCP program participation may be obtained by calling toll free 1-866-794-1079.
Applicants in the insular areas of the Pacific Basin may submit completed program documents during the announced sign-up period to the following address:
Hawaii State and Pacific Basin
Farm Service Agency Office
737 Bishop Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
For more information about FSA programs contact the closest FSA office or visit online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all of its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, genetic information, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).
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).
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.