American farmers and ranchers outside the 48 contiguous United States that experience high transportation costs will soon see relief through funding authorized through the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).
"The Obama Administration believes farm programs should provide the stability and predictability agricultural producers need," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "American producers outside the contiguous States often have to take extraordinary measures to transport needed items to their farms and ranches, and then experience substantial costs when they transport their farm output to markets. This program will provide relief to eligible producers who are at a competitive disadvantage."
Vilsack said recent rising fuel costs have made this competitive disadvantage worse. The payments announced today through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) are intended to offset a portion of the costs of transporting agricultural inputs and products over long distances.
The Reimbursement Transportation Cost Payment Program for Geographically Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (RTCP) assists farmers and ranchers in Alaska, Hawaii, and areas including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Republic of Palau who paid to transport either an agricultural commodity or an input used to produce an agricultural commodity.
The Agricultural, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (2010 Agricultural Appropriations Bill) provided $2.6 million for this Farm Bill program in fiscal year 2010.
Sign-up for RTCP will begin on Aug. 2, 2010, and end on Sept. 10, 2010. Applicants must file their RTCP application for benefits at with their local FSA county office no later than Sept. 10, 2010, and applicants also will have until Nov. 1, 2010, to provide supporting documentation of actual costs of transporting agricultural inputs and commodities in fiscal year 2010 to the FSA county office.
For more information on the new RTCP program, farmers and ranchers in the eligible areas can visit their local FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov/pricesupport.