Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the new regulations for the Marketing Assistance Loans (MAL) and Loan Deficiency Payment (LDP) programs have been implemented in accordance with the 2008 Farm Bill.
"The sheep industry has been anxious for these Farm Service Agency (FSA) regulations to be published for the 2009 wool program as applications have been stacking up at county offices since early January," stated Glen Fisher (Texas), president of the American Sheep Industry Association. "The program was re-authorized in the Farm Bill; however, regulations were necessary for actual processing and payment for 2009 wools."
MAL and LDP provide financing and marketing assistance for wheat, rice, feed grains, soybeans, other oilseeds, peanuts, pulse crops, honey, wool and mohair. This assistance is available to eligible producers beginning with harvest or shearing season and extending through the program year.
The 2008 Farm Bill included several changes to MAL provisions. The 2008 crop year MAL and LDP benefits were subject to a limit of $75,000 per person. Starting with the 2009 crop year, these benefits will no longer be subject to a payment limit.
The amendments in this rule also allow producers to store collateral in federally- and state-licensed warehouses that do not have a Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) storage agreement, which may reduce redundant licensing costs for warehouse operators while allowing producers a greater choice of warehouses.
As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) efforts to streamline the loan process, the CCC will no longer adjust loan rates on warehouse-stored loans by premiums and discounts at loan-making time. Loan rates will be adjusted by premiums and discounts only at loan settlement if the commodity is either farm-stored delivered or warehouse-stored forfeited. This change starts with the 2009 crop year and does not apply to peanuts.
"Producers who are considering applying for either a marketing loan or a loan deficiency payment should confirm the program procedures with their local FSA office before the wool leaves the farm," concluded Fisher.
More information is available at your county FSA office or by visiting www.fsa.usda.gov.