FAQ: Our farm suffered extensive crop damage from corn blown down by those straight-line winds that blew across the center of Iowa in July 2011. When can we sign up to collect USDA's SURE program payments? Payments in that program are made the year after the crop disaster strikes, correct?
Answer: The answer to your question is "yes," the payments come a year later, as USDA has to wait for the annual price for the marketing year to be established on the crop.
John Whitaker, state executive director of USDA's Farm Service Agency in Iowa, recently announced that disaster assistance under FSA's Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program—known as the SURE program--begins on October 22, 2012. This program covers losses for the previous crop year. So this fall you would be signing up for benefits to help cover losses that occurred with the 2011 crop. The SURE payments are designed to help make up for some of the crop loss that regular commercial crop insurance does not cover.
To be eligible for SURE a farm or ranch must have:
* At least a 10% production loss on a crop of economic significance
* Insured all economically significant crops
* Been physically located in a county that was declared a primary disaster country or contiguous county by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under a Secretarial Designation. Without a Secretarial disaster Designation, individual producers may be eligible if the actual production on the farm is less than 50% of the normal production on the farm due to a natural disaster.
Key question: Did you suffer a production loss in 2011 due to natural disaster?
"If you suffered a production loss in 2011, you need to visit your local FSA office this fall to learn what you need to do to apply," advises Whitaker. "The SURE program, along with others administered through FSA, help provide financial stability for farmers during periods of production loss due to natural disasters."
To meet program eligibility requirements, producers must have obtained a policy or plan of insurance for all insurable crops through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation and obtained Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program or NAP coverage on non-insurable crops, if NAP is available in your location and in your situation, from FSA.
Eligible farmers and ranchers who meet the definition of a socially disadvantaged, limited resource or beginning farmer or rancher do not have to meet this insurance requirement. Also, forage crops intended for grazing are not eligible for SURE benefits.
For more information on the SURE program or any of the other USDA disaster assistance programs, contact your local county FSA office. You can also go to FSA's website www.fsa.usda.gov for explanations and further details.