Ag Policy Blog

USDA Shares Details on Aid Program for Rice Farmers

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
Connect with Chris:
USDA will roll out the Rice Production Program sometime this spring. The department released some details of the program on Tuesday. Rice farmers who draw more than 75% of their income from agriculture and forestry could be eligible for higher payment limits under the program. (DTN file photo)

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- USDA on Tuesday released details alerting rice farmers to get read for an ad-hoc payment program, the Rice Production Program.

The department has $250 million to help rice farmers, but enrollment for the payment program will start "later this spring." The department released some details so farmers can be prepared for the signup, "which will include a pre-filled application in an effort to simplify and streamline the application process."

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated USDA will use the same approach it has began to take with other disaster programs by using data from the Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency to help provide rice farmers with an initial payment and then follow up with a final payment after the application period closes.

"I appreciate Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman's assistance bringing together rice farmers from across the country to provide input on how to expedite and simplify the process," Vilsack said of the senator from Arkansas.

The rice program and funding were part of the omnibus spending bill approved by Congress at the end of 2022 and signed into law by President Joe Biden.

Production in 2022 totaled 160 million cwt, down 16% from the 2021 total. Planted area for 2021 was estimated at 2.22 million acres, down 12% from 2021. Area harvested, at 2.17 million acres, was down 13% from the previous crop year. Arkansas is the dominant state for rice production and acreage, followed by Louisiana, California, Missouri, Texas and Mississippi in 2022.

Boozman added the ad-hoc program to the spending bill because rice farmers faced higher expenses in 2022 like other farmers, but rice prices did not rise similar to other commodities such as corn, soybeans and wheat.

While full details of the program and the application form will not be ready until USDA posts a funding notice in the Federal Register, USDA stated farmers can prepare for the signup, especially if they qualify for a higher payment limit.

A person or legal entity with gross farm income below 75% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) would have maximum payments capped at $125,000. "AGI is based on the three taxable years preceding the most immediately preceding complete tax year.

Farmers who receive more than 75% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) from faming ranching or forestry can receive a higher payment under the program with a maximum payment of $250,000.

Rice farmers who qualify and want to seek the higher payment limit can visit their local USDA service centers to fill out the form and certification on AGI, which is FSA-510, Request for an Exception to the $125,000 Payment Limitation for Certain Programs.

Farmers will still have a chance to fill out the AGI form during signup as well. The form should be filled out for the 2022 crop year.

Once USDA makes its official notice, FSA will mail prefilled applications to producers using information on filed with FSA and RMA (crop insurance data). That information as reported by rice producers will help streamline the application process will reduce paperwork involved. More information will be provided when FSA announces the signup period in the coming weeks.

The Rice Production Program payment formula was detailed in the omnibus legislation. The payment rate will be based on average actual production history (APH) or county yield and the amount of certified rice acres "determined by the number of planted acres and acres that were prevented from being planted." FSA plans to issue an initial payment to eligible farmers soon after applications are returned and a final payment after the sign-up has closed.

Watch for more details on the Rice Production Program in the coming weeks.

Chris Clayton can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN


To comment, please Log In or Join our Community .