USDA ready to help farmers wind through ‘mega regulation’

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WASHINGTON – USDA signup for the new farm bill crop program, which will reimburse producers for qualifying crop losses in either 2001 or 2002, will begin June 6, with payments to begin shortly thereafter.

The signup also includes the crop disaster assistance program.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman said the department is working to cut regulatory red tape by going directly to final rules where possible and implementing many regulations through a single, expedited “mega regulation.”

Disaster payments. Crop disaster payments must be calculated using the same formula used for the 2000 crop year.

This means crop losses for 2001 and 2002 will be valued using the price election for Actual Production History crop insurance policies, or if that price is not available, a five-year average.

Crop disaster payments are also subject to a formula which states that the sum of (1) the value of the crop not lost, (2) the disaster payment, and (3) the crop-insurance indemnity cannot exceed 95 percent of what the crop’s value would have been, if there had been no loss.

Crop disaster payments will be reduced if the 95 percent limitation is exceeded.

The value of the crop not lost and the 95 percent limitation will be valued at either the Actual Production History price election or the NASS season-average price, whichever is higher.

Specific details will be available from local Farm Service Agency offices.

Livestock assistance. Other key assistance program details include a $250 million Livestock Assistance Program that will reimburse producers for grazing losses will begin in July.

The Livestock Compensation Program (LCP) signup started April 1.

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