ST. LOUIS -- The National Corn Growers Association applauded the USDA after the department released the rule to implement the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program. The program was authorized as part of the 2008 farm bill.

USDA Secretary Ed Schafer announced Friday that ACRE enrollment for the 2009 crop will begin in the spring. The two-year price average for the 2009 crop will be based on the 2007 and 2008 crop years. NCGA and other agriculture groups encouraged USDA to use prices from the most recent crop years to calculate the price component of the program.

"We are pleased to hear the announcement about the ACRE Program," NCGA President Bob Dickey said. "This is a very important piece of the 2008 farm bill to NCGA members, especially during a time of uncertainty and volatile commodity markets."

The ACRE program will provide a new, optional risk management tool for farmers. The program delivers payments to producers facing losses in crop revenue caused by adverse weather conditions and declining prices. Program participants accept a reduction in Loan Deficiency Program rates and a decrease of 20 percent in direct payments.

"Since enactment of the legislation, NCGA has worked closely with USDA on the 2008 farm bill," Dickey said. "On behalf of our nation's corn growers, I would like to extend our gratitude to Secretary Schafer and the employees at USDA for their thorough consideration of our members' views and concerns regarding ACRE. We are pleased with the outcome of the ACRE program and look forward to the implementation of the other farm bill programs."

According to the USDA, growers may immediately enroll in the Direct Counter-cyclical Payment (DCP) Program, elect to receive advance direct payments and then later modify their enrollment to include the ACRE program, or they may wait and elect to enroll in DCP and ACRE at the same time in Spring 2009.