Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced the program on Friday. She noted that growers earlier had received $75 million for a series of crop losses and low market prices under the Apple Market Loss Assistance Program II.

“Over the past six months, the measures we have taken have been designed to ensure that all producers we serve are well informed and can utilize these new programs to their best economic advantage,” said Veneman. “This program provides assistance to apple producers throughout the country.”

Apple growers will receive payments of 0.0134386 cents per pound for their 2000-crop apple production. They will be paid on a maximum of 5 million pounds for each apple operation.

To receive payments, eligible growers must: (1) have produced and harvested apples during the 2000-crop year; and (2) have applied for cash payments during the application period for each apple operation. AMLAP-III sign-up began Oct. 1, 2002, and ended Nov. 8, 2002.

Veneman said that since early November, USDA has made nearly $75 million in payments to apple growers under AMLAP-II, the second phase of AMLAP. Sign-up for that program began Apr. 29, 2002, and ended Sept. 26, 2002.

For more information on AMLAP and other USDA Farm Service Agency programs, contact your local USDA Service Center or county Farm Service Agency office. Further information on AMLAP is available from FSA’s Web site at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/psd/SP.htm.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com