WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The USDA today announced the 2006-crop loan rates for small chickpeas, dry peas and lentils on the earliest date the agency has ever announced loan rates for these commodities.



National loan rates required by statute



For the 2004 through 2007 crops, national rates by statute are $7.43 per hundredweight (cwt) for small chickpeas, $6.22 per cwt for dry peas and $11.72 per cwt for lentils.



Regional loan rates for dry peas and lentils



The 2006-crop dry pea regional loan rates more accurately reflect recent price relationships resulting from expanded price discovery efforts. The 2006-crop West Region dry pea loan rate is $6.63 per cwt; the East Region loan rate is $6.12 per cwt. These rates average to the national rate based on recent regional production shares.



The West Region includes the Palouse (Idaho, Oregon and Washington) and other states west of the Rocky Mountains (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah). The East Region includes Montana, North Dakota and all other states not in the West Region.



Due to expanding lentil production and more accurate pricing information, USDA established regional loan rates for the 2006 crop. The West Region lentil loan rate is $12.76 per cwt; the East Region loan rate is $11.36 per cwt. These rates average to the national rate based on recent regional production shares. The regions are defined the same for lentils as for dry peas.



National loan rates for small chickpeas



USDA determined that there is insufficient reliable market price discovery information to establish credible regional loan rates for small chickpeas. The national rate of $7.43 per cwt applies for all producing areas.



SOURCE: USDA news release.