USDA is using a stream-lined application process for a $250 million assistance program for rice producers. 

USDA will use pre-filled applications as it was done with recent Emergency Relief Program sign-ups. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said the approach “will help us provide an initial payment more quickly with a final payment after the application period has closed.”

The Farm Service Agency plans to mail pre-filled applications to producers, using existing FSA and Risk Management Agency data.

In a Tuesday release, USDA also said it's possible many producers may qualify for an exemption from existing $125,000 payment limits. Under the law, that limit can be increased if agriculture production income accounts for more than 75% of a farmer’s adjusted gross income; in such cases, producers would be eligible for a $250,000 payment limit, but would be required to fill out the necessary paperwork through their FSA office.

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The program was funded in the omnibus spending package passed in December. USDA plans to announce full program details later this year.

Initial payments are expected soon after applications are filed later this spring, with final payments coming after signup closes.

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