Farm bill amendment changes base acre provision for 2008 crop year

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WASHINGTON — Farmers with 10 or fewer base acres can now receive payments through the 2008 direct and counter-cyclical payment program.

Changes, signed by President Bush on Oct. 13, allow some producers more flexibility in farming practices and create new sign-up opportunities with new deadlines for some farms.

The amendments also apply to the new Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) Program.

Changes

As originally enacted under the 2008 farm bill, direct and countercyclical payments could not be made with respect to farms with crop acreage bases of 10 acres or less. The new law changes that provision for the 2008 crop year.

Related to this, producers on a farm with 10 acres or less of base may now enroll their farms in the 2008 DCP program until Nov. 26.

This extension of the original Sept. 30 deadline only applies to producers who were previously excluded because of the minimum acreage requirement.

USDA began issuing payments to producers on farms with 10 base acres or less who had already enrolled in the DCP program soon after the president signed the new law.

Eligible producers may sign up at any USDA Farm Service Agency office or enroll online.

Changes under SURE

In the 2008 farm bill, producers seeking disaster benefits must generally have obtained crop insurance or coverage under the Non-insured crop disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for all crops on all farms.

Under the new law, producers with crops that had 2009 crop insurance sales closing dates before Aug. 14 may pay a fee through Jan. 12, 2009, to participate in Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program, or SURE.

The SURE program fee is equal to the fee for catastrophic coverage. Payment of the SURE program fee will not make the producer eligible for insurance coverage.

Producers also have a new minimum loss threshold under SURE. To qualify for payments, there must be a production loss of at least 10 percent for at least one crop of economic significance on the farm.

Under the SURE program, the new law provides that when a second crop is planted after the first crop was prevented from being planted, or if such first crop failed, the second planting will not count toward the SURE program guarantee or total farm revenue.

This is true except in areas where double-cropping is a normal practice.

Producers can contact their local FSA office for more information regarding SURE program implementation.

Deadline changes

The Non-insured crop disaster Assistance Program application closing dates for the 2009 crops have been extended to Dec. 1, 2008. This extension for 2009 NAP applies to those crops having an application closing date prior to Dec. 1, 2008.

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