Approximately 255 million base acres on about 1.7 million farms were enrolled for 2009 in the Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) and in the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program.

And USDA will issue nearly $4 billion in 2009 final direct payments to eligible producers on approved contracts. Producers have already received advance payments of approximately $900 million.

“The sign-up numbers demonstrate that producers value having the option of two programs from which to choose the greatest benefit to their individual farming operation,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I also want to remind all producers that 2010 sign-up for DCP and ACRE has already started and the deadline is June 1, 2010.”

Producers who signed up their farm under DCP are eligible for direct payments, counter-cyclical payments and marketing assistance commodity loans.

The optional ACRE program, added under the 2008 farm bill, is an alternative revenue-based safety net to the price-based safety net provided by counter-cyclical payments for crop years 2009 through 2012.

Producers participating in the ACRE program are also eligible for direct payments and marketing assistance loans, but direct payments are reduced by 20 percent and the loan rate is reduced by 30 percent with respect to covered commodities and peanuts on a farm.

“I commend Secretary Vilsack and the administration on efficiently implementing and enrolling producers in the new ACRE program,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, former chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry. “We included ACRE in the 2008 farm bill so that crop producers would have a new farm program option to protect them against shortfalls in crop revenue and I am pleased that there has been strong interest in the program among producers across the country.

“Looking ahead, I encourage farmers to carefully examine their farm safety options, including ACRE, and I look forward to reports from those farmers who did sign up for ACRE.”

“Farmers in Ohio and across our nation need protection against fluctuating prices and uncertain yields,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. “I fought hard to ensure that farmers have a strong safety net, and I’m pleased by the number of farms participating in ACRE this year.”

This was the first year of the ACRE program and approximately 8 percent of the total number of farms enrolled in the 2009 DCP and ACRE programs elected to participate in ACRE, representing nearly 13 percent of the base acres.

Of the 22 different crops eligible for enrollment, corn had the highest number of base acres enrolled, followed by wheat and soybeans, and producers mainly planted these three crops.

The states with the largest number of base acres enrolled are Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota.

Producers can speak to representatives at their local land grant universities and USDA Farm Service Agency county offices to get more information on the benefits of electing ACRE for the remainder of the 2008 farm bill.

Tables showing the number of farms and base acres enrolled for each commodity by state can be found at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/dcp.