The Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced Production Flexibility Contract (PFC) payment rates for fiscal year 2002. County Executive Director, Bobby L. Schmidt said eligible producers in Texas received approximately $356 million under the program in 2001. For 2002, producers nationwide will share in total contract payments of approximately $4 billion. “The most popular FSA contract commodity grown in Texas is cotton followed by wheat,” said Schmidt. “The 2002 payment rate for cotton is 5.72 cents per bushel while wheat will receive 46.1 cents per bushel.” According to the National Agriculture Statistic Service, Texas farmers produced approximately 6 million acres of cotton and 5 million acres of wheat this year. Other contract commodities eligible for payment are corn, grain sorghum and oats at 26.1, 31.4 cents and 2.2 cents, respectively. Producer payments are based on a farm’s five-year historical planting average of contract commodities between 1991 and 1995 and an established crop yield. Producers may request to receive payments during any month from Oct. 2001 through Aug. 2002. They have the option of receiving two payments of 50 percent each or one payment at 100 percent. Operators who do not choose a payment option will receive a full payment next August as long as their contract is current. “FSA can not release payments to farmers unless all required signatures and forms are updated,” Schmidt said. “This means land owner signatures must be obtained for land rented on a year-to-year basis.” Payments can only be issued to producers who share in the risk of producing crops on a participating farm. Landowners or entities that cash-rent the land to the farmer, and have no risk in the crop cannot receive a share of the PFC payment. “Planting fruits and vegetables on contract acres is still prohibited,” Schmidt stated. Contract acres can be used for corn, hay, soybeans, small grains, oilseeds, pasture and even Christmas trees. There are no acreage limitations for contract commodities under the PFC program. Producers should contact the McCulloch County Farm Service Agency at (915) 597-1512, option 2 to receive additional PFC information or to make an appointment to sign up for 2002 PFC payments.