Producers can apply for new crop disaster aid for 2001, 2002

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BILL HARMON
The U.S. Department of Agricuture has announced producers may apply for benefits under a new Crop Disaster Program for 2001 and 2002 crop losses.

Signup began June 6, with a closing date to be announced at a later date. But producers will be given ample time to complete the process.

Payments for CDP are authorized by the Agricultural Assistance Act of 2003, signed into law Feb. 20, to provide some $2 billion in aid to producers suffering from natural weather related disasters. The CDP has no funding limitation, but each producer is limted to $80,000.

Under CDP, producers will be reimbursed for qualifying crop production and quality losses to crops. Payments will be issued for losses exceeding 35 percent of expected production at:

n 50 percent of the established price for crops that were covered by crop insurance or for which crop insurance was not available;

n 45 percent of the established price to producers for crops that could have been insured, but were not.

The statute requires 2001 and 2002 crop disaster payments for production and quality losses to be calculated by the same formula and loss thresholds used for the 2000 crop disaster program.

This means the prices used to calculate disaster payments for crops insured under the Federal Crop Insurance Program will be the Actual Production History prices.

For crops not insured, five-year average market prices will be used.

The statute also requires the 2001 or 2002 crop disaster payments be reduced if the sum of the disaster payment plus the net crop insurance indemnity plus the value of the crop that was not lost exceed 95 percent of what the value of the crop would have been in the absence of a loss.

We invite Marion County producers who experienced 2001-2002 crop losses to contact the local FSA office at 620-382-3714 to schedule an enrollment appointment.

The Farm Service Agency has developed a Web site that provides producers with one convenient location for details on new and existing disaster assistance. The Web site can be assessed at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

Bill Harmon is executive director of the Marion County office of Farm Service Agency in Marion.

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