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Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Commodity Credit Corporation

7 CFR Part 1421

RIN 0560-AG72

2002 Farm Bill Regulations--Marketing Assistance Loans and Loan Deficiency Payments for Peanuts, Pulse Crops, Wheat, Feed Grains, Soybeans and Other Oilseeds

AGENCY: Commodity Credit Corporation, USDA.
ACTION: Final Rule.
SUMMARY: This final rule implements a portion of Title I of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (the 2002 Act) relating to the farm commodity price support programs of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). The 2002 Act authorizes Marketing Assistance Loans and Loan Deficiency Payments (LDP) for peanuts, wool, mohair, pulse crops (lentils, small chickpeas, dry peas), wheat, feed grains, soybeans and other oilseeds. Peanuts, wool, mohair and pulse crops, have not been eligible for these programs prior to enactment of this law and this rule adds these new commodities. Other provisions of the 2002 Act will be implemented under separate rules. The intended effect of this rule is to implement legislative requirements, add new crops to those eligible for assistance and increase the number of farm operators who may receive FSA and CCC program benefits.
DATES: October 8, 2002.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Grady Bilberry, Director, Price Support Division, FSA/USDA, STOP 0512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20250-0512; telephone (202) 720-7901; facsimile (202) 690-3307; e-mail:Grady_Bilberry@wdc.usda.gov.Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact the USDA Target Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Notice and Comment

Section 1601(c) of the 2002 Act requires that the regulations necessary to implement Title I of the 2002 Act are to be promulgated without regard to the notice and comment provisions of 5 U.S.C. 553 or the Statement of Policy of the Secretary of Agriculture effective July 24, 1971, (36 FR 13804) relating to notices of proposed rulemaking and public participation in rulemaking. These regulations are thus issued as final.

Executive Order 12866

This final rule is economically significant according to Executive Order 12866 and has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). A cost-benefit assessment of the changes made by this rule was completed and is summarized after the background section.

Federal Assistance Programs

The title and number of the Federal assistance program in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance to which this final rule applies is 10.051—Commodity Loans and Loan Deficiency Payments.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act is not applicable to this rule because the Office of the Secretary, FSA and CCC are not required by 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking for the subject matter of this rule.

Environmental Review

An environmental assessment is being completed to consider the potential impacts of this proposed action on the human environment in accordance with the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321et seq., the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and FSA's regulations for compliance with NEPA, 7 CFR part 799. Section 1601 of the 2002 Act mandated that these regulations be promulgated no later than 90 days after the law's enactment. Further, this rule affects a large number of agricultural producers who are dependent upon its provisions for income support and need to know of its details as soon as possible because it has a profound effect on their planting and marketing decisions. Thus, FSA and CCC are attempting to satisfy both the Congressional mandate and their public missions by publishing this rule now, while continuing a good faith effort to comply with NEPA in as timely a fashion as possible, given the above-mentioned statutory and mission requirements. A copy of the draft environmental assessment will be made available for public review and comment upon request.

Executive Order 12778

The final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12778. This rule preempts State laws that are inconsistent with its provisions. This rule is not retroactive. Before any judicial action may be brought regarding this rule, all administrative remedies must be exhausted.

Executive Order 12372

This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372, which requires consultation with State and local officials. See the notice related to 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V, published at 48 FR 29115 (June 24, 1983).

Unfunded Mandates

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) does not apply to this rule because the Office of the Secretary, FSA and CCC are not required by 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking about the subject matter of this rule. Further, this rule imposes no unfunded mandates, as define in UMRA, on any local, State, or tribal government or the private sector.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

Section 1601(c) of the 2002 Act requires that the regulations necessary to implement Title I of the 2002 Act must be issued within 90 days of enactment and that such regulations shall be issued without regard to the notice and comment provisions of 5 U.S.C. 553. Section 1601(c) also requires that the Secretary use the authority in section 808 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121) (SBREFA), which allows an agency to forgo SBREFA's usual 60-day Congressional Review delay of the effective date of a major regulation if the agency finds that there is a good cause to do so. These regulations affect the planting and marketing decisions of an extraordinarily large number of agricultural producers. Accordingly, this rule is effective upon the date of filing for public inspection by the Office of theFederal Register.

Paperwork Reduction Act

Section 1601(c) of the 2002 Act provides that the promulgation of regulations and the administration of Title I of the 2002 Act shall be made without regard to chapter 5 of title 44 of the United States Code (the Paperwork Reduction Act). Accordingly, these regulations and the forms, and other information collection activities needed to administer the program authorized by these regulations, are not subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Government Paperwork Elimination Act

FSA is committed to compliance with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) and the Freedom to E-File Act, which require Government agencies in general, and FSA in particular, to provide the public the option of submitting information or transacting business electronically to the maximum extent possible. The forms and other information collection activities required for participation in the program are not yet fully implemented for the public to conduct business with FSA electronically.

Currently, however, loan application forms are available electronically through the USDA eForms website for downloading. The regulation is available at FSA's Price Support Division internet site. Applications may be submitted at the FSA county offices, by mail or by FAX. At this time, electronic submission is not available. Full development of electronic submission is underway.

Background

The 2002 Act provides for Marketing Assistance Loans and Loan Deficiency Payments (LDP's) for the 2002 through 2007 crop years. Marketing Assistance Loans and Loan Deficiency Payments are intended to: (1) Minimize potential loan forfeitures; (2) subsequent government accumulation of stocks; (3) minimize the cost incurred by the Federal Government in storing the commodity and; (4) allow a commodity produced in the United States to be marketed freely and competitively both domestically and internationally.

Producers of commodities that are eligible for loans can request marketing assistance loans or LDP's on their harvested commodities. Eligible producers request loans and LDP's on or before the final loan availability date for the applicable commodity. Marketing assistance loans are 9-month loans. Producers may repay the loan at a rate that is less than the original loan rate plus interest when market prices are below the commodity loan rates, which are established by law. Marketing assistance loans accomplish two objectives. First they provide producers with interim financing by providing money for continued farming operations while not requiring the crop to be marketed during a period which commonly coincides with a producer's peak labor demands. Second, they facilitate the orderly marketing and distribution of loan eligible commodities throughout the year, since it gives the producer another option beyond sale of the crop whenever funds may be needed.

As an alternative to a marketing assistance loan, a producer may obtain an LDP on their crop. An LDP is available to a producer who, although eligible to obtain a marketing assistance loan, agrees to forgo a marketing assistance loan for the commodity in return for an LDP. The payment is the established loan rate for the applicable loan commodity less the repayment rate multiplied by the eligible quantity of the commodity. The specific material changes made to the marketing assistance loan and LDP programs by the 2002 Act being implemented in this rule are as follows:

Loan Commodities Eligible

The previous law that authorized FSA and CCC to make marketing assistance loans was the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (the 1996 Act). The 1996 Act limited marketing assistance loans to wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, cotton and rice. The specific oilseeds were eligible for marketing assistance loans, including sunflower, flaxseed, canola, rapeseed, safflower seed, mustard seed, crambe, and sesame seed.

The 2002 Act also authorizes marketing assistance loans for wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, cotton and rice. However, using the 2002 Act authority, USDA announced that loan eligible oilseeds for the 2002 crop year will be sunflower, flaxseed, canola, rapeseed, safflower seed and mustard seed. Thus, crambe and sesame seed are NOT eligible loan commodities for the marketing assistance loan and LDP programs.

More significantly, the 2002 Act extended eligibility for marketing assistance loans and LDP's to peanuts, wool, mohair, honey, small chickpeas, lentils, and dry peas. The 2002 Act refers to these new loan commodities as “first time” loan commodities in section 1205(f)(1). The revisions necessary to incorporate these new commodities into the programs covered by 7 CFR part 1421 are made throughout this rule, and several major crop specific revisions are discussed below. Conforming changes are being made to other CCC regulations in distinct final rules as a result of these expanded commodity provisions of the 2002 Act.

Other Eligibility Requirements for Producers

The 2002 Act also added conditions for a producer to receive a marketing assistance loan or LDP. The major requirement added is that producers must report all cropland on the applicable farm in which the eligible loan commodity is produced. Another restriction is that the producer must be in compliance with all wetland conservation requirements and other applicable conservation programs.

Another change that affects both the crop and producer who may be eligible is that program eligibility is no longer linked to “contract” commodities. The term “contract” commodities refers to provisions in the 1996 Act authorizing marketing assistance loans to eligible producers who produced commodities on a farm covered by a Production Flexibility Contract (PFC). The 2002 Act terminated the PFC program and authorizes marketing assistance loans to eligible producers of any eligible loan commodity produced on a farm for the 2002 through 2007 crop years covered. Thus, farms are not required to be covered by a PFC to be eligible. This relaxed requirement also applies to 2001-crop marketing assistance loans. Thus, commodities produced in 2001 on a farm not covered by a PFC are eligible for LDP's.

Beneficial Interest

As used in this rule beneficial interest in a commodity, means that all of the following remain with the producer: (1) Control of the commodity; (2) risk of loss; (3) title to the commodity. Beneficial interest requirements remain unchanged for most loan commodities, and, typically, all producers must retain beneficial interest in the commodity offered as collateral for a marketing assistance loan or LDP. However, the 2002 Act provides special treatment for 2001-crop and the “first time” loan commodities. Producers who lost “beneficial interest” in an eligible 2001 commodity before applying for a loan or LDP on that crop, may be eligible. Furthermore, producers of 2002-crop wool, mohair, honey, dry peas, lentils, and small chickpeas who lost beneficial interest in the 2002 crop prior to publication of the regulations are also eligible for LDP's. Likewise, producers of 2002 crop peanuts who before applying for a loan or LDP lost beneficial interest in a 2002 crop of peanuts are eligible for LDP's. Producers must request the LDP on or before the applicable final loan availability date which is January 31, 2003, for peanuts. For those LDP requests submitted after beneficial interest has been lost, the LDP rate will be based on the date it was lost. The exemptions provided in the 2002 Act are limited to those specified here. Beneficial interest must be maintained in order to receive a loan or an LDP in 2003 and subsequent crop years.

Hay, Silage and Unshorn Pelts

The 1996 Act authorized marketing assistance loans or LDP's for hay or silage. However, the 2002 Act, limits hay or silage and unshorn pelts derived from lambs to being eligible for an LDP only.

Warehouse Licensing Requirements

Eligible loan commodities offered as collateral for marketing assistance loans must be stored in an on-farm storage structure or warehouse approved by CCC. As the programs were administered under the 1996 Act, unlicensed storage facilities were not approved for storing collateral for a marketing assistance loan. The 2002 Act authorizes loan commodities serving as marketing assistance loan collateral to be stored in unlicensed warehouses if the producer redeems the marketing assistance loan immediately with a commodity certificate.

Treatment of First Time Loan Commodities

The 2002 Act directed USDA to make “first time” loan commodities available for marketing assistance loans and LDP's. Thus, for the first time, wool, mohair, honey, peanuts, lentils, small chickpeas and dry peas are eligible for the marketing assistance loan and LDP programs. As with all of the currently eligible loan commodities these loans are nonrecourse. Thus, producers may deliver the commodity pledged or repay the loan at the alternative repayment rate, a rate less than principal plus accrued interest. If such loans were, on the other hand, recourse loans, they would have to be repaid with principal plus interest, and the collateral could not be delivered or forfeited.

Wool and Mohair

The National Wool Act (Wool) Act has served as the basis for the FSA and CCC wool and mohair price support programs from 1955 to 1995. Public Law 103-130 enacted in November, 1993, was passed by Congress especially to phase out the USDA Wool Act programs over the 1994 and 1995 marketing years. However, subsequent legislation provided that the Secretary make recourse loans for mohair produced in 1999 and 2000. Under the recourse loans, producers had to repay marketing assistance loans at principal plus interest and commodities pledged as collateral for recourse loans could not be delivered or forfeited to settle a outstanding loan. The 2002 Act provides for wool and mohair nonrecourse loans. Thus, now, producers who offer wool or mohair as collateral to secure a nonrecourse loan may repay their loan at the alternative repayment rate or forfeit the wool or mohair to satisfy the loan, just like other eligible commodities.

Peanuts

The 2002 Act made profound changes to the FSA and CCC peanut program. Under title III of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, USDA administered a two-tiered price support program for peanuts. Eligible producers were limited to an established quota for domestic marketing. The old program limited the producers ability to market peanuts domestically and the old peanut price support program designated and authorized three area Marketing Associations to manage the commercial marketing of peanuts grown in the U.S. This program was terminated by the 2002 Act, which now extends the marketing assistance loan and LDP program coverage to peanuts for the 2002 through 2007 crops. The 2002 Act provides producers with the responsibility for and flexibility of marketing their own peanuts. Producers will be more involved in the orderly marketing of their peanuts. The 2002 Act revokes the authority of the Marketing Associations to manage and sell peanuts on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation. Producers may request marketing assistance loans from FSA. USDA will pay storage, and associated costs, according to this rule, for marketing assistance loan peanuts.

National Loan and Repayment Rates

Congress announced the national loan rates for the 2002 through 2007 crop years for the eligible loan commodities. The loan rates specified by 2002 Act are as follows:

2002-03 crop year 2004-07 crop year Wheat $2.80/bu. $2.75/bu. Corn 1.98/bu. 1.95/bu. Grain sorghum 1.98/bu. 1.95/bu. Barley 1.88/bu. 1.85/bu. Oats 1.35/bu. 1.33/bu. Rice 6.50/cwt. 6.50/cwt. Soybeans 5.00/bu. 5.00/bu. Other oilseeds 0.096/lb 0.093/lb Peanuts 355/ton 355/ton Graded wool 1.00/lb 1.00/lb Nongraded wool 0.40/lb 0.40/lb Mohair 4.20/lb 4.20/lb Small chickpeas 7.56/cwt. 7.43/cwt. Lentils 11.94/cwt. 11.72/cwt. Dry peas 6.33/cwt. 6.22/cwt.

The 2002 through 2007 crop year loans rates were increased for wheat, corn, grain sorghum, and oilseed from those provided in the 1996 Act.

In addition, the Secretary may differentiate other oilseed loan rates to reflect market price relationships among the different other oilseed types—an authority not provided in the 1996 Act. To the extent practicable, USDA will make adjustments to ensure “weight averaged” base county loan rates are consistent and reflect current market conditions. Also, the basis for adjustments to base county loan rates, will be used when determining alternative repayment rates for the applicable loan commodity, considering location and quality of the loan commodities. Beyond adjustments for market conditions, the Secretary may adjust repayment rate as necessary to minimize loan forfeitures, minimize the Federal Government-owned inventory of the commodities, minimize the storage costs incurred by the Federal Government domestically and internationally, and minimize discrepancies in marketing loan benefits between States and counties.

Payments In Lieu Of Loan Deficiency Payments For Grazed Acreage

The 2002 Act also provides a new payment program for producers who graze livestock on land that may otherwise be used to produce LDP eligible crops, also known as “graze-out” provisions. Producers who would be eligible for a wheat, barley, oats, or triticale LDP but instead use those planted crops to graze livestock will be eligible for LDP's if they agree to forgo harvesting of that acreage. The yield for the purposes of calculating the payment on graze-out wheat, barley and oats are those established for direct payments under the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payment Program (DCP) authorized by the 2002 Act (7 U.S.C. 7913). The payment yield for triticale is the farm's wheat payment yield for direct payments under the DCP. For farms where a program payment yield is unavailable, USDA will establish an appropriate payment yield considering the yields applicable to the commodity for at least three similar farms. The payment amount per commodity is the payment rate multiplied by the payment yield, multiplied by the number of acres grazed. Triticale will be based on the predominant class of wheat in the county. Graze-out acreage planted to this wheat, barley, oat, or triticale will not be eligible for an indemnity payment under the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1501et seq.) or a payment under the noninsured crop disaster assistance program under section 196 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7201note).

Cost/Benefit Assessment Summary

The changes made by the 2002 Act will have a significant impact on CCC and FSA funding and expenditures. The 2002 Act expands eligibility considerably for marketing assistance loans, loan deficiency payments and the price support programs governed by the regulations amended by this rule. Also, while the loan rate for soybeans is decreased, the rate for wheat, barley, and corn is increased, and other eligible crops are added, such as pulse crops, and peanuts. The net fiscal impact of the changes made by the 2002 Act and promulgated by this rule compared with continuing 1996 Act provisions will be to increase governmental outlays as shown in the Table 1.

Table 1.—Average Annual Change in Government Outlays by Program, Fiscal Years 2002-2007 [In million of dollars] Program Average1 Loan Rates for Covered Commodities2 859 Loan Deficiency-like Payments for Grazed—Wheat, Barley, Oats 12 Triticale 26 Pulse Crops3 18 Wool and Mohair 2 Honey 80 Peanuts 997 Total 1,994 1Average annual outlay change. 2Includes wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, upland cotton, rice, soybeans, and other oilseeds. 3Dry peas, lentils, and small chickpeas. Covered Commodities, Except Other Oilseeds

Outlays for marketing assistance loan and loan deficiency payments are projected to average about $4.1 billion during FY's 2002-2007. The outlays progressively decline during the period. Market prices for each commodity are estimated to increase in this period, eroding LDP rates and marketing loan benefits. For some crops, outlays disappear completely by 2007. Outlays for marketing assistance loans and LDP's are projected to be about $859 million higher per year than they were under the 1996 Act. The increase is mainly due to higher loan rates (except for rice). Soybean projected loan outlays decrease because soybean acreage is projected to shift to other crops, demand remain constant, soybean supplies decrease and prices increase, according to capitalist market forces. For rice, the loan rate is unchanged and projected loan outlays decline slightly.

Other Oilseeds Setting Differentiated National Loan Rates

Market prices vary substantially among the various types of other oilseeds (oil-type sunseed, other-type (confection) sunseed, flaxseed, canola, rapeseed, safflower, and mustard seed). The 1996 Act required that loan rates be set “individually” for the other oilseed types based on the all-sunflower seed price. The 2002 Act gives the Secretary the latitude necessary to differentiate other oilseed loan rates to reflect market price relationships among the different other oilseed types.

Setting loan rates to reflect market price relationships among the other oilseed types reduces past market distortions that have resulted from using a single loan rate for all the other (minor) oilseeds types. Loan rate-driven distortions occur during low-price periods when large LDP's for the lower-valued oilseeds (oil-type sunflower seed, canola, and flaxseed) have the undesirable effect of creating incentives to shift acreage away from the higher-valued oilseeds (confection sunflower seed and safflower).

Establishing differentiated other oilseed loan rates eliminates the incentive to shift acreage from higher-valued to lower-valued oilseeds. This is particularly important for sunseed where low prices and high oil-type sunseed LDP'S during recent years resulted in USDA setting 2000 and 2001 loan and loan repayment rates equal for oil-type and confection sunseed. (Confection repayment rates were not allowed to drop more than $3.00 per cwt. below loan rates, thus limiting confection LDP'S to $3.00 per cwt.). This change was necessary to maintain confection sunseed acreage as oil-type sunseed LDP'S raised relative per-acre returns to levels that discouraged confection planting.

The announced 2002 loan rates for oil-type and confection sunseed reflect a $2.95-per-cwt. spread at the national level. This spread is consistent with the spread that existed during the early 1990's before the loan program began to distort sunseed plantings and prices. It also establishes a guaranteed price spread that the sunseed industry indicates is critical to maintaining a balance of production between the sunseed types.

Differentiating other oilseed loan rates based on market price relationships is projected to cost less than setting all other oilseed loan rates at the same level over the 7-year life of the 2002 Act. Other oilseed loan program outlays are projected to average $24 million per year for crop years 2002-2007. Loan program outlays under the alternative of setting loan rates at the same level are projected to average $48 million per year.

The use of market-based loan rates is expected to reduce canola, flaxseed, and oil-type sunseed acreage and increase confection sunseed, mustardseed, and safflower acreage. This will bring acreage, production, and prices among the other oilseeds more in line with market demand. Planted acreage is expected to average about 250,000 acres lower for crop years 2003-2007 than it would be under a single loan rate. This represents a relatively small 5-percent annual reduction in total other oilseed acreage. Historically, other oilseed acreage has varied widely. Since 1995, plantings have ranged from 3.2 million acres in 1996 to 5.4 million acres in 1999

Designating Other Oilseeds Eligible for Loans and LDP

Crambe is not designated as an “other oilseed” under the 2002 Act, although it was loan-eligible under the 1996 Act for crop years 1999, 2000 and 2001. This change is expected to eliminate $367,000 in loan program outlays during the 2002-2007 crop years. Some of these savings will be offset as producers shift production into other covered commodities. Without the substantial level of price support provided to crambe during recent years, acreage is expected to continue to decline. Crambe plantings have declined from 42,000 acres in 1998 to an estimated 14,000 acres for 2002. Lack of designation as an other oilseed will eliminate the potential of an additional $1.3 million in projected direct payments to crambe producers during the life of the 2002 Act.

Sesame also is not designated as an other oilseed under the 2002 Act. It was designated as loan-eligible under the 1996 Act for crop years 2000 and 2001. Because of its relatively high price, sesame has not generated any loan program benefits and was not expected to under the 2002 Act, even if it were designated as loan-eligible. Lack of designation as an “other oilseed,” will eliminate the potential for a projected $210,000 in direct payments to sesame producers.

Wool and Mohair

USDA does not publish official wool or mohair supply-use-price projections. Private analysts and university researchers expect that sheep and lamb numbers in the United States will continue on a long-term downward trend. Falling domestic demand forlamb meat and strong competition from imports of foreign lamb will weigh on domestic production. Falling numbers of sheep and a focus on selection of sheep based on meat attributes are expected to result in falling wool production for the foreseeable future. However, tightening supplies of wool, both domestically and abroad, are expected to result in a slow rebound in wool prices from their current depressed levels. Consequently, wool program outlays are expected to decrease in subsequent years. Mohair production, prices and program outlays are expected to follow a similar path.

Wool program costs are expected to range from about $25 million in 2002 to $6.4 million in 2007. Mohair program costs are expected to range from about $3.6 million in 2002, to $2.0 million in 2007. Government outlays are expected to increase producer income about $28 million in the initial program year, declining steadily to about $8.4 million in 2007. Neither domestic use nor exports of wool and mohair are expected to be significantly impacted by the program.

Pulses (Dry Peas, Lentils, and Small Chickpeas)

The 2002 Act provides nonrecourse marketing assistance loans and loan deficiency payments to dry peas, lentils and small chickpeas for the first time. It is likely that the availability of these provisions will increase the supply for the 2002-2007 crops of dry peas and lentils resulting in a minor decrease in wheat production. Small chickpea production is expected to be unchanged due to planting flexibility provisions with no change in expected returns including program benefits. Producers of dry peas and lentils are expected to receive additional marketing loan/loan deficiency benefits of $156 million over the 2002-2007 period. Wheat producers will receive $374 million less in benefits (loan outlays—$15 million lower and counter-cyclical payments—$359 million lower) as the decline in acreage increases the market price of wheat which lowers its LDP and counter-cyclical payment rates. Hence, a net decrease of $218 million in program outlays is expected. Likewise, taxpayer burden will decrease by $218 million over the same period. Even though food use demand for dry peas and lentils is believed to be relatively price-inelastic, consumers are expected to gain $12 million in additional income over the program period due to lower expected prices. The cost savings for feed purchases to livestock producers is expected to total $13 million over the program period as increases in feed pea production reduce prices.

Loan Deficiency-like Payments for Grazed Acreage of Wheat, Barley, Oats, and Triticale

The 2002 Act makes wheat, barley, oats and triticale available for grazing LDP's if the commodity is grazed. It is assumed that the availability of grazing LDP's will not affect the supply, demand, and price of these commodities for the 2002-2007 crops. Thus, these commodities LDP rates will not be impacted. Producers are expected to receive grazing LDP's of $71 million over the 2002-2007 period, increasing projected total revenues the same amount. The additional grazing LDP's also increase program outlays and, therefore, taxpayer burden by $71 million over the same period. The consumer impact will be negligible because crop and livestock prices are expected to be unchanged. Thus, food prices will not change.

Peanuts

Under the previously existing USDA peanut program producers delivered the peanuts to a buying point where the peanuts were graded and a check was written based on the weight of the peanuts adjusted for grade and minus fees. Quota peanuts received $610 per ton and additional peanuts received a lower support rate ($132 in 2001). Contract additional peanuts for export received a price less than $610 but generally above the additional support price. The storage of loan collateral was paid by one of three Marketing Associations (Associations) authorized under the previous statute. The Associations managed the peanuts and any profits or loss were passed on to the producers of quota peanuts. Any losses incurred under the program were paid the following year by an assessment on producers.

The new 2002 Act peanut program requires producers to be more involved in the marketing process. They can apply for a market assistance loan and place the peanuts in storage, request a loan deficiency payment or sell the peanuts commercially. Peanuts placed under loan can be redeemed by the producer prior to loan maturity, and sold to commercial handlers. The loan will be repaid at a rate determined by the Secretary of Agriculture. If the peanuts are not redeemed they will be forfeited and become the property of CCC.

Producer income is not expected to decline significantly under the new program despite the gap between the $355 loan rate and the old $610 support price. Under the 2002 Act producers may receive funds from three sources other than the marketing loan or the loan deficiency payment. These include a direct payment of $36 per ton, compensation for lost quota at a rate of 11 cents per pound per year for 5 years, and a counter-cyclical payment equal to the difference between the market price (or market loan rate if it is higher) plus the direct payment of $36 per ton and the $495 target price. DCP is being promulgated under a rule to follow this one. Furthermore, all of the peanuts produced are eligible for the $355 per ton marketing assistance loan or an LDP. Under the old program the average price received by the producer was a blend of the $610 quota support for quota peanuts, the contract additional price and the support price for additional peanuts.

Total peanut production is expected to increase slightly under the new program. Consumers may pay slightly less for peanut products because of the projected lower peanut prices paid by manufacturers. However, because of the very inelastic price elasticity of demand for peanuts, this is expected to be insignificant.

Shellers and manufacturers will be paying significantly less for peanuts under the 2002 program. The actual price they pay will be determined by the market price of peanuts, which is expected to be significantly below the $610 support price under the old program.

The loan repayment rate established by the Secretary will to some degree influence the market price for peanuts. This price will be determined on a weekly basis after several factors are evaluated. These factors may include, but not be limited to, marketing loan activity, domestic commercial prices and price and sales activity in the Western Europe and other international peanut markets. The process will be evaluated on a continuous basis and refined, as better information becomes available.

It is likely that the supply of peanuts will meet the demand for domestic edible peanuts in the U.S. This market is relatively stable and grows at about the same rate as the general population. Any significant growth in the production of U.S. peanuts will be in the export sector. This market will depend on the world equilibrium market price of peanuts.

The cost of marketing loans will be the cost of handling and storing the peanuts during the 9-month loan period plus any loses incurred disposing of forfeited peanuts. The storage and handling costs have been estimated bythe Congressional Budget Office at $74 million during the 2002-2007 period. The cost of the loan deficiency portion of the program has been estimated at $406 million over the 2002-2007 period. Because food use demand for peanuts is extremely price inelastic, consumers are expected to gain little in additional income over the program period, but peanut prices are not expected to drop.

There are many aspects of the 2002 Act that make the cost of the program open-ended. There is no limit on the amount of peanuts that can be produced. The price of peanuts will be determined in the market place and the cost of the LDP and the counter-cyclical payments could be significantly above the $406 million if production increases and prices drop. U.S. peanuts are currently moving into international trade at about $200 per farmer stock short ton, well below the average loan rate of $355. Thus, while these estimates are valid based on what the Agency knows, the real economic effects of the new peanut program are very likely to vary.

For specific details or further information regarding the cost/benefit assessment contact Mr. Phil Sronce at 202-720-2711.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1421

Grains, Loan programs/agriculture, Price support programs, Reporting and record keeping requirements.

For the reasons set out in the preamble, 7 CFR part 1421 is amended as set forth below.

PART 1421—GRAINS AND SIMILARLY HANDLED COMMODITIES—MARKETING ASSISTANCE LOANS AND LOAN DEFICIENCY PAYMENTS FOR THE 2002 THROUGH 2007 CROP YEARS 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 1421 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 7231-7237 and 7931et seq.; 15 U.S.C. 714b, 714c.

2. The title of part 1421 is revised as set forth above. 3. Subpart—Loan and Loan Deficiency Payment Regulations for the 1996 Through 2002 Crops of Wheat, Feed Grains, Rice, Oilseeds, (Canola, Crambe, Flaxseed, Mustard Seed, Rapeseed, Safflower, Soybeans, and Sunflower Seed) and Farm-Stored Peanuts (§§ 1421.1-1421.32) is removed and Subparts A, B and C are added in its place as set forth below. 4. Subpart—Grazing Payments for 2001 Crop of Wheat, Barley, or Oats (§§ 1421.300-1421.307) is designated as Subpart D. 5. The subpart entitled Subpart—Regulations Governing the Wheat and Feed Grain Farmer-Owned Reserve Program for 1990 Through 1995 Crops (§ 1421.200) is removed. Subpart E—Standards for Approval of Warehouses for Grain, and Similarly Handled Commodities 6. Subpart—Standards for Approval of Warehouses for Grain, Rice, Dry Edible Beans and Seed (§§ 1421.5551-1421.5559) is designated as Subpart E and the heading is revised to read as set forth above. 7. For the convenience of the user, the table of contents for subparts A through E follows: Subpart A—General Sec. 1421.1 Applicability. 1421.2 Administration. 1421.3 Definitions. 1421.4 Eligible producers. 1421.5 Eligible commodities. 1421.6 Beneficial interest. 1421.7 Requesting marketing assistance loans and loan deficiency payments. 1421.8 Eligible quantity. 1421.9 Basic loan rates. 1421.10 Market rates. 1421.11 Spot checks. 1421.12 Production evidence. 1421.13 Handling payments and collections. 1421.14 Obtaining peanut loans. Subpart B—Marketing Assistance Loans 1421.100 Applicability. 1421.101 Maturity dates. 1421.102 Adjustment of basic loan rates. 1421.103 Approved storage. 1421.104 Marketing assistance loan making. 1421.105 Farm-stored marketing assistance loans. 1421.106 Warehouse-stored marketing assistance loan collateral. 1421.107 Warehouse receipts. 1421.108 Transfers and reconcentrations. 1421.109 Personal liability of the producer. 1421.110 Repayments. 1421.111 Commodity certificate exchanges. 1421.112 Loan settlement. 1421.113 Foreclosure. 1421.114 Recourse loans. Subpart C—Loan Deficiency Payments 1421.200 Applicability. 1421.201 Loan deficiency payment rate. 1421.202 Loan deficiency payment quantity. 1421.203 Personal liability of the producer. Subpart D—Grazing Payments for 2002-2007 Crop Years of Wheat, Barley, Oats and Triticale 1421.300 Applicability. 1421.301 Administration. 1421.302 Definitions. 1421.303 Eligible producer and eligible land. 1421.304 Time and method for application. 1421.305 Payment amount. 1421.306 Misrepresentation and scheme or device. 1421.307 Refunds; joint and several liability. Subpart E—Standards for Approval of Warehouses for Grain, and Similarly Handled Commodities 1421.5551 General statement and administration. 1421.5552 Basic standards. 1421.5553 Bonding requirements for net worth. 1421.5554 Examination of warehouses. 1421.5555 Exceptions. 1421.5556 Approval of warehouses, requests for reconsideration. 1421.5557 Exemption from requirements. 1421.5558 Contract and application and inspection fees. 1421.5559 OMB control numbers assigned pursuant to Paperwork Reduction Act. Authority:

7 U.S.C. 7231-7237 and 7931et seq.; 15 U.S.C. 714b, 714c.

8. The text of the new subparts A, B and C reads as follows: Subpart A—General
§ 1421.1 Applicability.

(a) The regulations of this subpart are applicable to the 2002 through 2007 crops of barley, small chickpeas, corn, grain sorghum, lentils, oats, dry peas, peanuts, rice, wheat, wool, mohair, oilseeds and other crops designated by Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). These regulations set forth the general provisions under which marketing assistance loans and loan deficiency payments (LDP) will be administered by the CCC. Additional terms and conditions are in the note and security agreement and the loan deficiency payment application that must be executed by a producer to receive marketing assistance loans and LDP's.

(b)(1) The basic loan rates, the schedule of premiums and discounts, and forms applicable to the marketing assistance and loan deficiency payment programs for the commodities specified in paragraph (a) of this section are available in Farm Service Agency (FSA) State and county offices. The forms for use in these programs will be prescribed by CCC.

(2) Loan deficiency payments shall be available for unshorn pelts, hay and silage.

(c) Marketing assistance loans and loan deficiency payments will not be available for any commodity produced on land owned or otherwise in the possession of the United States if such land is occupied without the consent of the United States.

(d) Producers who produced eligible loan commodities are eligible formarketing assistance loans or loan deficiency payments.

§ 1421.2 Administration.

(a) The marketing assistance loan and loan deficiency payment program shall be administered under the general supervision of the Executive Vice President, CCC and shall be carried out in the field by FSA State and county committees, respectively.

(b) State and county committees, and representatives and employees thereof, cannot modify or waive any requirement of this part, except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section.

(c) The State committee shall take any required action not taken by the county committee. The State committee shall also:

(1) For the 2001 crop year only, allow producers who violated the terms and conditions of the note and security agreement which resulted in the producer losing beneficial interest in the commodity before repaying the loan and the county committee determined the producer acted in good faith, to repay the loan at a rate that is the lesser of the loan plus interest; or the alternative repayment rate, as determined under § 1421.10, in effect on the date the beneficial interest was lost. In cases, where a locked-in repayment rate under § 1421.110 was applicable, the prescribed form is considered null and void.

(2) Correct or require correction of an action taken by a county committee that is not in compliance with this part; or

(3) Require a county committee to not take an action or implement a decision that is not under the regulations of this part.

(d) The Executive Vice President, CCC, or a designee, may determine any question arising under these programs, or reverse or modify a determination made by a State or county committee.

(e) The Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs, FSA, may authorize State and county committees to waive or modify deadlines and other program requirements in cases where lateness or failure to meet such other requirements does not adversely affect the operation of the marketing assistance loan and loan deficiency payment program.

(f) A representative of CCC may execute marketing assistance loan and loan deficiency payment applications and related documents only under the terms and conditions determined and announced by CCC. Any document not executed under such terms and conditions, including any purported execution before the date authorized by CCC, shall be null and void.

§ 1421.3 Definitions.

The definitions in this section apply for all purposes of program administration. Terms defined in part 718 of this title and parts 1412 and 1425 of this chapter also apply, except where they conflict with the definitions in this section.

Basic loan ratemeans the loan rate established by CCC for a commodity before any adjustment for premiums and discounts.

Chargesmeans all fees, costs, and expenses incurred in insuring, carrying, handling, storing, conditioning, and marketing the commodity tendered to CCC for loan. Charges also include any other expenses incurred by CCC in protecting CCC's or the producer's interest in such commodity.

Commodity certificate exchangemeans the exchange, as provided for in part 1401 of this chapter, of commodities pledged as collateral for a marketing assistance loan at a rate determined by CCC in the form of a commodity certificate bearing a dollar denomination. Such certificate may not be transferred or exchanged for the inventory of CCC.

Designated marketing associationmeans a marketing association or cooperative, approved by the Secretary, to issue marketing loan benefits on behalf of CCC for peanuts.

Field direct loan deficiency paymentmeans a loan deficiency payment issued to producers who:

(1) Will lose beneficial interest immediately at harvest or;

(2) Immediately feed the commodity during harvest.

High moisture commoditiesmeans corn and grain sorghum normally harvested and intended to be stored or marketed in a high moisture condition.

Incorrect certificationmeans the certifying of a quantity of a commodity for the purpose of obtaining a marketing assistance loan or a loan deficiency payment in excess of the quantity eligible for such marketing assistance loan or loan deficiency payment or the making of any fraudulent representation with respect to obtaining loans or loan deficiency payments.

Loan commoditiesmeans wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barely, oats, rice, soybeans, other oilseeds, peanuts, wool, mohair, dry peas, lentils, and small chickpeas and other crops designated by CCC.

Loan deficiency paymentmeans a payment received in lieu of a loan when the CCC-determined value is below the applicable county loan rate.

Mohairmeans the hair sheared from a live Angora goat. Mohair does not include pelts, or hides or mohair shorn from pelts or hides.

Oilseedsmeans any crop of sunflower seed, canola, rapeseed, safflower, flaxseed, mustard seed, and other oilseeds as determined and announced by CCC.

Other crops designated by CCCmeans with respect to eligibilities for benefits under this part:

(1) Those crops harvested as other than grain, such as silage, haulage, earlage;

(2) Specific crops designated for grazing; or

(3) As otherwise designated by CCC.

Pulse cropsmeans any crop of dry peas, lentils, and small chickpeas as defined by CCC.

Servicing agent bankmeans the bank designated as the financial institution for a CMA or a designated marketing association.

Small chickpeameans any chickpea that meets the definition of a chickpea according to the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) and falls below a 20/64th sieve.

Unauthorized dispositionmeans the conversion of any loan quantity pledged as collateral for a farm-stored loan without prior written authorization from the county committee.

Unauthorized removalmeans the movement of any farm-stored loan quantity from the storage structure in which the commodity was stored or structures that were designated when the loan was approved to any other storage structure, whether or not such structure is located on the producer's farm, without prior written authorization from the county committee.

Unshorn peltmeans the removed skin and attached wool from a slaughtered lamb that has never been shorn.

Warehouse receiptmeans a receipt containing the required information prescribed in this part and is:

(1) A pre-numbered, negotiable warehouse receipt issued under the authority of the U.S. Warehouse Act, a state licensing authority, or by an approved CCC warehouse in such format authorized and approved, in advance, by CCC;

(2) An electronic warehouse receipt issued by such warehouse recorded in a central filing system or system maintained in one or more locations which are approved by FSA to operate such system; or

(3) Other such acceptable evidence of title, as determined by CCC.

Woolmeans the fiber sheared from a live sheep.

§ 1421.4 Eligible producers.

(a) To be an eligible producer, the producer must:

(1) Be an individual, partnership, association, corporation, estate, trust, State or political subdivision or agency thereof, or other legal entity that produces an eligible commodity as a landowner, landlord, tenant, or sharecropper, or in the case of rice, furnishes land, labor, water, or equipment for a share of the rice crop. With respect to wool and mohair, the producer must own, other than through a security interest mortgage, or lien, the sheep and goats that produced the wool and mohair respectively for a period of not less than 30 days.

(2) Comply with all provision of this part and:

(i) 7 CFR part 12—Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation;

(ii) 7 CFR part 718—Provisions Applicable to Multiple Programs;

(iii) 7 CFR part 1400—Payment Limitation Payment Eligibility;

(iv) 7 CFR part 1403—Debt Settlement Policies and Procedures;

(v) 7 CFR part 1405—Loans, Purchases and Other Operations.

(3) Have made a acreage certification with respect to all the cropland on the farm.

(b) A receiver or trustee of an insolvent or bankrupt debtor's estate, an executor or an administrator of a deceased person's estate, a guardian of an estate of a ward or an incompetent person, and trustees of a trust shall be considered to represent the insolvent or bankrupt debtor, the deceased person, the ward or incompetent, and the beneficiaries of a trust, respectively. The production of the receiver, executor, administrator, guardian, or trustee shall be considered to be the production of the person or estate represented by the receiver, executor, administrator, guardian, or trustee. Marketing assistance loans and loan deficiency payment documents executed by any such person will be accepted by CCC only if they are legally valid and such person has the authority to sign the applicable documents.

(c) A minor who is otherwise an eligible producer is eligible to receive marketing assistance loans or loan deficiency payments only if the minor meets one of the following requirements:

(1) The right of majority has been conferred on the minor by court proceedings or by statute;

(2) A guardian has been appointed to manage the minor's property and the applicable marketing assistance loan or loan deficiency payment documents are signed by the guardian;

(3) Any note or loan deficiency payment program application signed by the minor is cosigned by a person determined by the county committee to be financially responsible; or

(4) A bond is furnished under which a surety guarantees to protect CCC from any loss incurred for which the minor would be liable had the minor been an adult.

(d) If more than one producer executes a note and security agreement with CCC, each such producer shall be jointly and severally liable for the violation of the terms and conditions of the note and the regulations in this part. Each such producer shall also remain liable for repayment of the entire marketing assistance loan amount until the loan is fully repaid without regard to such producer's claimed share in the commodity pledged as collateral for the loan. In addition, such producer may not amend the note and security agreement with respect to the producer's claimed share in such commodities, or loan proceeds, after execution of the note and security agreement by CCC.

(e)(1) The county committee may deny a producer a marketing assistance loan on farm-stored commodities if the producer has:

(i) Made a misrepresentation in connection with the marketing assistance loan or LDP program;

(ii) Previously not allowed a representative access to the site where commodities pledged as collateral for CCC loans were stored or otherwise failed to corporate in the settlement of a marketing assistance loan; or

(iii) Failed to adequately protect the interests of CCC in the commodity pledged as collateral for a farm-stored loan.

(2) A producer who is denied a farm-stored loan will be eligible to pledge a commodity as collateral for a warehouse-stored loan or provide some other form of financial assurance to obtain a farm-stored loan.

(f) A CMA may obtain a marketing assistance loan and loan deficiency payment on eligible production of a loan commodity on behalf of its members who are eligible to receive marketing assistance loans or loan deficiency payments with respect to a crop of a commodity. For purposes of this subpart, the term “producer” includes a CMA.

(g) In case of the death, incompetency, or disappearance of any producer who is entitled to the payment of any sum in settlement of a marketing assistance loan or loan deficiency payment, payment shall, upon proper application to the FSA county service center that disbursed the marketing assistance loan or loan deficiency payment, be made to the persons who would be entitled to such producer's payment under the regulations contained in part 707 of this title.

§ 1421.5 Eligible commodities.

(a) Commodities eligible to be pledged as collateral for a loan made under this part are:

(1) Barley, corn, grain sorghum, oats, canola, peanuts, soybeans, oilseeds, wheat, dry peas, lentils, small chickpeas, rice and other crops designated by CCC produced and mechanically harvested in the United States;

(2) Dual purpose sorghum varieties as determined by CCC; and

(3) Wool and mohair produced and shorn from live animals in the United States.