WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for moving forward with the implementation process of the Rice Production Program (RPP) and shared details on how farmers can seek relief.
“Last year was a difficult one for rice farmers. Soaring input costs took a toll on family farms across the nation, but as documented by two separate studies out of Texas A&M University, hit rice producers extremely hard. That is why we included relief in the form of a one-time payment to rice producers for the 2022 crop year in the omnibus bill last December. I am pleased that USDA is moving forward with the implementation of this program as it provides much-needed relief from record-high rice production costs in 2022. Despite the economic headwinds rice producers worked to ensure consumers continue to have access to healthy, domestically grown food,” said Boozman.
A Texas A&M University study that looked specifically at the increase in fertilizer prices across an array of commodities, found rice farms would be hit hardest by rising costs. A second study conducted by the university focused solely on the impact of rising input costs found that, based on representative farms, two thirds of rice farms would have failed to breakeven in 2022. Record-high rice production costs in 2022 contributed to the lowest rice acreage in nearly 40 years.
Given these factors, Boozman ensured rice farmers would receive financial assistance through the inclusion of $250 million in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 to provide a one-time payment to rice producers for the 2022 crop year. USDA established the RPP to carry out this authority.
Below are answers to questions on how the program will be administered.
How will qualifying rice producers be notified?
Rice producers who have an acreage report on file with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for 2022 will receive prefilled applications in the mail the week of May 8, 2023. This will indicate their expected initial payment amount. After the initial payment, USDA may issue a second round of payments if additional funding remains.
How much time do producers have to return the prefilled applications?
Producers will have 60 days to return the prefilled applications from today’s Notice of Funding Availability’s publication date.
If a producer believes he or she qualifies but did not receive a prefilled application, what should they do?
Producers who believe they qualify but did not receive a prefilled application are encouraged to contact their Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office as FSA offices will be able to assist in determining all eligible producers.
How is the payment amount calculated?
The initial payment amount shall be obtained by multiplying the following:??
the 1 cent per pound payment rate,?
the producer's actual production history yield for 2022 or the national average yield determined by the secretary, and?
the producer's certified rice acres for 2022, both planted and prevented from being planted (a 60 percent prevented plant factor may apply).??
Are there different payment rates for different rice varieties?
The payment rate is the same across all rice varieties.
Is there a payment limit??
Payments are limited to $125,000 per producer – or $250,000 if more than 75% of the producer’s average adjusted gross farm income comes from agriculture. The rice assistance payment will not count towards any other program payment limit.?