Teresa Lasseter, administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA), reminds farmers and ranchers of an important upcoming deadline for disaster assistance programs.
Farmers and ranchers who are eligible for disaster assistance under certain new Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance programs for losses caused by natural disasters in calendar year 2008, but who are not fully covered by crop insurance or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), only have until Sept. 16 to pay the "buy-in” fee for 2008 crops, including grazing lands.
“If your crops or land are not insured, I urge you to take advantage of this one-time opportunity,” Lasseter said. “If you miss this deadline, you will be ineligible for these disaster assistance programs for your 2008 crops."
The 2008 Farm Bill (the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008) authorized five new Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance programs: the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payment (SURE) program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); Tree Assistance Program (TAP); Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey bees and Farm-raised Fish (ELAP) program. The “buy-in” waiver applies to SURE, TAP, LFP and ELAP for 2008 crop production and livestock losses.
To be eligible under the 2008 Farm Bill for disaster assistance under SURE, ELAP and TAP, producers must have enrolled in crop insurance or NAP for all crops in all counties in which they have an interest, including grazing and hayland. To be eligible for disaster assistance for LFP, producers need only have crop insurance or NAP coverage for the specific grazing land for which assistance is being requested.
Since the 2008 Farm Bill was enacted after the crop insurance and NAP application periods had closed, producers who did not buy coverage could not now comply with this requirement. However, the 2008 Farm Bill provides authority for a waiver for 2008 that allows producers to pay a fee to be eligible for the new disaster assistance.
The crop insurance and NAP coverage requirements will be waived in 2008 for producers who did not obtain crop insurance or NAP coverage by the applicable sales closing date, provided that the producer files an application for a waiver and pays a “buy-in” fee in an amount equal to the 2008 applicable NAP coverage or catastrophic risk protection plan fee for the crop or grazing lands.
In July 2008, USDA announced the “buy-in” waiver deadline and application process. Producers who do not pay the fee by the Sept. 16 deadline will not be eligible for disaster assistance under the Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance programs.
Lasseter also reminded producers that the payment of the applicable fee does not provide them with crop insurance or NAP indemnity payment for losses; it only makes them eligible to apply for assistance under the Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance programs.
For more information on the “buy-in” waiver and applicable fee, please contact your local FSA county office before the Sept. 16 deadline.