Michael Sweatt, executive director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Parker, Palo Pinto, Hood, and Somervell counties, recently announced that USDA has extended the sign-up deadline from June 1 to Aug. 14 for both the Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) and the forthcoming Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program. This action extends the sign-up deadline by 10 weeks to give producers ample time to decide whether to participate in ACRE or remain in DCP.

“Extending the sign-up deadline for both these programs ensure that America’s farmers have enough information and time needed to determine if ACRE is the right program for their operational needs,” said Sweatt. “The DCP and ACRE programs play a critical role in the farm safety net and it is vital that we act to support the hard work of the farmers we depend on.”

Sign-up for ACRE is expected to start in late April, with an official sign-up announcement to be made in the coming weeks. Producers can elect ACRE at their FSA county office after the sign-up period commences. The original June 1 deadline may have forced producers to rush their decision, which is why this extension gives producers more time to make an informed decision about staying with DCP for 2009 or participating in ACRE for crop year 2009 and beyond through 2012.

The ACRE program, authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, provides eligible producers a state-level revenue guarantee, based on the 5-year state Olympic average yield and the 2-year national average price. ACRE payments are made when both state and farm-level triggers are met. By participating in ACRE, producers elect to forgo counter-cyclical payments, receive a 20-percent reduction in direct payments and a 30-percent reduction in loan rates. The decision to elect ACRE binds the farm to the program through the 2012 crop year, the last crop year covered by the 2008 Act.

For more information about ACRE, DCP and other price support programs, please visit your local USDA Service Center or your local FSA county office. You can also obtain information on-line at http://www.fsa.usda.gov.

Meetings have been scheduled to discuss the changes and regulations of the 2008 Farm Bill.

Representatives from the local Farm Service Agency and the Texas Agri-life

Extension service will be on hand to discuss payment eligibility and payment limitations, adjusted gross income, Direct and Counter-Cyclical (DCP and CCP) program, Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE), Supplemental Disaster Assistance Program (SURE), Livestock Forage Program (LFP), Non-Insured Assistance Program (NAP), Farm Loan Programs and the upcoming county committee elections

Somervell County Producers will hold a meeting April 30 at 2 p.m. in the Somervell Agri Life office, 1405 Texas Drive, Glen Rose. Please plan to attend. For additional information please call Michael S. Sweatt, County Executive Director, Parker Palo Pinto Hood Somervell Farm Service Agency, at 817-594-4672.