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|FSA office closures lead to deadline extensions|
An extension has been granted to some farmers and ranchers in 55 Louisiana parishes who were attempting to meet the Sept. 16, 2008, buy-in deadline for certain disaster assistance programs due to production and economic losses, but were unable to do so because of hurricane-related temporary Farm Service Agency (FSA) Office closures.
All parishes in Louisiana were approved for the extended deadline with the exception of: Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Red River, St. Tammany, Washington, and Webster.
Farmers and ranchers who may be 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), now have until 10 business days after Sept. 16, 2008 to pay the "buy-in" fee for 2008 crop coverage, including grazing lands. The new deadline is now Sept. 30, 2008.
This extension applies only for those producers who intended to complete the application and pay the "buy-in" fee by Sept. 16, and were unable to complete their business in a timely manner due to the office closures. The extension applies only to the 55 parishes.
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 for the 2008 Farm Bill disaster assistance coverage 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.
Since the 2008 Farm Bill was enacted after the crop insurance and NAP application periods closed, producers who did not buy coverage could now comply with the "buy-in" 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 provided they meet the other eligibility provisions.
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 deadline will not be eligible for disaster assistance under the Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance Programs.
The payment of the applicable fee does not provide participants crop insurance or NAP indemnity payment for losses; it only makes them eligible to apply for assistance under the Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance programs.
More information on NAP and other farm programs is available at local FSA service centers and online at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov.