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Rice farmers returning 2003 overpayment
Most rice growers are being asked to repay the federal government 56 cents for every 100-pound sack of rice marketed for the 2003 harvest, a move that has some growers scrambling to make budget adjustments to make up for the shortfall.

Payments were made to rice growers in October 2003 as part of what is known as the counter-cyclical payment. The payment is part of a complex system of price support for rice growers.

Based on reports each month, prices for rice are calculated through the U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture. A target price is set and if the price is determined to be lower than the target, growers are given a counter cyclical payment.

Sometimes the final results are different than projections.

In November and December the prices were determined to be higher than anticipated, meaning the counter cyclical payments needed to be adjusted.

Most rice growers will repay that payment by having the 56 cents per hundred pound sack of rice deducted from their 2005 advance direct payment.

Chico rice grower Lance Tennis said 2003 was a very good year for rice growers. Unless growers spent the money on equipment or farm improvements, most should be OK, he said.

"People who are strong financially probably won't know the difference," Tennis said.

"There might be some folks trying to pay down a loan who could be inconvenienced," he said. He said most growers know that they can't really count on the counter cyclical payment, because it only occurs when prices are low.

Rice grower Ryan Schohr said the miscalculations are a budgeting frustration. He likened it to having the wrong withholding on a person's payroll check and ending up with a larger than expected amount due in taxes at the end of the year.

Janice Schoonhaven, supervisor for the Butte County Farm Services Agency, said there hasn't been an major adjustment to the counter cyclical payment since the 1990s.

Growers will have until March 31 to have the payment repaid.

Rice growers are also eligible for a loan at the time of harvest, which is repaid after the rice is marketed and a direct subsidy payment.
MGR Archive 13.2.2005
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Region Type Price  
Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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