Ag Chairman Notes USDA Efforts to Speed Farmer Payments
(January 25, 2001)
USDA paperwork for 2000 crop year payments for producers should have been completed by Christmas, but new USDA management will move through the backlog while producers complete signups that began one week ago.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-Texas) noted that a Bush Administration freeze on last-minute Clinton regulations do not apply to the emergency rules for financial assistance to producers approved through the House Agriculture Committee last fall. In addition, the Chairman noted the focus on producer benefits by new Bush Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman during her Senate confirmation hearings.
"USDA Secretary Veneman publicly pledged to accelerate the pace under her new management of the Department, with a clear recognition of the critical need for producers to have payment in hand very soon," said Combest.
New USDA management is working through the Clinton Administration paperwork backlog from September when the Clinton Administration pushed last minute regulations, rather than completing the paperwork authorizing the producer payments.
Signup by eligible producers began January 18 for 2000 crop year payments authorized last fall by Congress through the House Agriculture Committee.