WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The USDA today released three Public Service Announcements with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to remind producers that the sign-up deadline to elect the new Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program is Aug. 14.

"I encourage all producers to visit their local FSA office and land grant university representatives to evaluate and consider whether ACRE is right for your farm," Vilsack said. "ACRE provides producers an alternative to counter-cyclical payments and producers should make use of the opportunity to choose the option that better meets their needs."

ACRE provides a valuable new risk-management tool for producers. ACRE was created in the 2008 Farm Bill, and offers a revenue-based alternative to the traditional Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program (DCP). Producers may elect to participate in ACRE even if they have already received an advance DCP payment for 2009.

Numerous resources are available to help producers make an informed decision. FSA county office staff can answer many questions on program rules, application procedures and potential benefits. Experts at local land grant universities can assist with potential payment calculations. FSA has also launched an ACRE Web page, with educational information, including an electronic program payment calculator, located at www.fsa.usda.gov/dcp.

Commodities eligible for ACRE are wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, upland cotton, long grain rice, medium and short grain rice, peanuts, soybeans, sunflower seed, canola, flaxseed, safflower, mustard seed, rapeseed, sesame seed, crambe, dry peas, lentils, small chickpeas and large chickpeas. Once a farm is enrolled in ACRE, that farm must continue to be enrolled in ACRE through the 2012 crop year.

Text of Vilsack's Public Service Announcements is below.

It's Decision Time:

"This is Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and it's Decision Time. The sign-up deadline is quickly approaching and producers have until Aug. 14 to learn about the new Average Crop Revenue Election Program. Producers can choose ACRE or re-enroll in the traditional Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program. Both provide financial benefits and it is up to you to determine which provides the greatest advantage to your operation. Please visit your local FSA county office for more information."

Get the Facts:

"This is Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Aug. 14 is just around the corner. Producers have until this date to decide if the new Average Crop Revenue Election Program is right for them. ACRE provides producers a valuable new risk management option in addition to the traditional Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program. I want to encourage producers to speak to their local FSA representative to find out more about this new revenue-based program. Don't wait until the last moment and make sure you have all the facts before the Aug. 14 deadline."

Make an Informed Decision:

"This is Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. I want to remind those folks that that do not already know about the new Average Crop Revenue Election Program, that now is the time to find out. The Aug. 14 sign-up deadline is just around the corner and there is a lot of information that a producer needs to know to make an informed decision. ACRE provides producers with a new revenue-based option that is different than the traditional price-based Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program.

"Producers are encouraged to speak to their local FSA representative, view the available resources on the FSA website, including the payment calculator, and speak with representatives at their local Land Grant University. ACRE provides new financial and risk management advantages and it is up to producers to determine if these are right for their individual farming needs. Don't wait until the Aug. 14 deadline. Get the facts now."