USDA expands pilot Internet payment system

The Agriculture Department is expanding a pilot that allows farmers and ranchers to request and receive loan deficiency payments online, USDA Secretary Ann Veneman said today.

The addition of 29 counties means one county in every state participates in the e-LDP program. The original pilot has been available in 21 counties since May 2002.

'This program saves America's farmers and ranchers time, energy and money,' Veneman said.

Producers can apply for and receive loan deficiency payments online from home or office. Participating farmers no longer have to travel to USDA Service Centers to receive their benefits.

To participate in the e-pilot, producers must meet the eligibility requirements for marketing assistance loans and traditional LDPs.

Producers of crops, including peanuts, rice, soybeans, corn and wheat, may participate in the program.

A loan deficiency payment is the difference between the loan rate at a given location and the market price for the applicable commodity.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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