01/22/06 — Processing of buyout payments slowed

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Processing of buyout payments slowed

By Turner Walston
Published in News on January 22, 2006 2:00 AM

Software problems have slowed processing as Farm Service Agency officials make Tobacco Transition Payment Program payments this week.

Processing of the tobacco buyout payments began Tuesday. As of Thursday morning, the agency had completed about 3,600 of the nearly 5,700 payments to be made in the county.

"They really ripped and roared yesterday," County Executive Director Rick Tharrington said Thursday.

Software issues plagued Farm Service Agency yet again Thursday afternoon. The computer program responsible for processing payments was unable to do so on contracts that had been assigned to other individuals since the first round was paid last fall.

"The system lets us pay 50 at a time," Tharrington said. "Once that 50 is clogged up with these that can't be paid, we can't access the application."

Tharrington said in spite of the glitch, he said all payments would be processed before Feb. 3.

A delay of up to two weeks follows processing, due to the printing of letters and checks, Tharrington said. That printing takes place in Kansas City, Mo.

Tharrington said his office is aware contractholders are anxious to receive their checks.

"Our hope was to get finished, run as many as possible as quick as possible, knowing there's at 10-14 day delay in there," he said. "We need everybody to give us some time."