United States Department of Agriculture began distribution on Sept. 1 of $5.466 billion in emergency economic assistance approved by Congress. USDA will make payments in an amount equivalent to the 1999 Agriculture Market Transition Act (AMTA) payment rate (7.88 cents per pound) to eligible operators and owners who received a final fiscal year 2000 production flexibility (PFC) payment--also known as AMTA payment. Payments will be made automatically to eligible recipients who will not have to file additional forms or visit a Farm Service Agency office.

"With low crop prices and high fuel costs, many producers will not make back the cost of preparing, planting and delivering the work of an entire season," House Agriculture Committee Chairman Combest (R-TX) said following the USDA announcement. "September's additional transition payment delivers on our financial commitment to producers with a timely and meaningful result."

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