USA Rice Federation leaders have strongly urged USDA to amend its interim final rule for the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 in time for the 2009 crop year to conform to congressional intent and to limit it to “that which is necessary to implement the specific statutory changes …”

USA Rice Federation Chairman Jamie Warshaw and USA Rice Producers' Group Chairman Tommy Hoskyn said they “are gravely concerned with those aspects (of the rule) that are outside or otherwise in contravention of statutory mandate and congressional intent, including but not limited to the new regulatory construction regarding actively engaged requirements, spousal qualification, and constraints on financing.”

Though USDA has said the interim final rule is effective for the 2009 crop year and that it would consider public statements only for the 2010 and subsequent crop years, USA Rice is recommending that the department also make specific changes for 2009.

Producers and others involved with commodity programs are urged to send comments to USDA by March 29.

USA Rice has asked rice-state senators to cosign a letter to USDA by Sens. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., outlining their concerns about the interim final rule.

Comments may be submitted to USDA by:

  • E-mail: Salomon.Ramirez@wdc.usda.gov.

  • Fax: (202) 690?2130.

  • Mail: Salomon Ramirez, Director, Production, Emergencies and Compliance Division, FSA, USDA, Stop 0517, Room 4752, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, D.C., 20250?0517.

  • Hand delivery or courier: deliver to the above mailing address.

  • Federal eRulemaking portal: Go to www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.