The USDA has announced that enrollment for 2013 farm programs, including Direct Payments, will begin Feb. 19.

"It is vitally important that our farmers, and lenders alike, know that Congress and the (Obama) administration intend to keep the commitment made with the one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill,” said Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. 

(Lucas insists Direct Payments will be made as authorized in the farm bill extension. For details, click here).

“Short of a five-year bill, this extension provides certainty for the 2013 crop year. 

"Looking ahead, it is equally important that our farmers and ranchers be able to plan for the long-term. As we renew efforts to complete a five-year comprehensive farm bill, I pledge to work with (Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack), my House and Senate colleagues, and all interested parties to advance a fiscally responsible, reform-minded, and balanced farm bill this year. My goal remains, as ever before, to complete our work and ensure our investment in American agriculture."

Administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), the extended programs include, among others: the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payment Program (DCP), the Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE), and the Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC).

FSA is preparing the following actions:

• FSA will begin sign-ups for DCP and ACRE for the 2013 crops on Feb. 19, 2013.

The DCP sign-up period will end on Aug. 2, 2013; the ACRE sign-up period will end on June 3, 2013.

• The 2013 DCP and ACRE program provisions are unchanged from 2012, except that all eligible participants in 2013 may choose to enroll in either DCP or ACRE for the 2013 crop year.

This means that eligible producers who were enrolled in ACRE in 2012 may elect to enroll in DCP in 2013 or may re-enroll in ACRE in 2013 (and vice versa).

• All dairy producers’ MILC contracts are automatically extended to Sept. 30, 2013.

Eligible producers therefore do not need to re-enroll in MILC. Specific details regarding certain modifications to MILC will be released soon.

FSA will provide producers with information on program requirements, updates and signups as the information becomes available.

Any additional details will be posted on FSA’s website (see here www.fsa.usda.gov).