The signup period for the peanut quota buyout has been extended.

USDA announced that the deadline will be extended until Jan. 15, 2003.

To date, more than $900 million of an estimated $1.3 billion has been paid to producers.

Generally, to be eligible for the buyout, a person must have owned 2001 basic quota as of May 13, 2002. Those eligible have the option of getting 11 cents per pound in five equal installments or a lump sum of 55 cents a pound.

Peanut quota holders on record in local Farm Service Agency offices were notified of their potential eligibility. The signup began Sept. 13 and was scheduled to end Nov. 22.

The 2002 farm bill made significant changes to the peanut program by replacing the peanut quota system with direct and counter-cyclical payments to eligible peanut producers.