Some producers have been saying that holes in the current Farm Bill's disaster program have left them with less protection. In response, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says a crop assistance program is being established for upland cotton, rice, soybeans and sweet potatos.
Vilsack told reporters that this program will be under Section 32 authority, which gives him the power to help recoup producers lost purchasing power in cases of disaster such as 2009's rains that damaged crops or prevented them from being planted at all.
"We'll ask producers to certify that at least 5% losses occurred during that year," Vilsack said. "Those that certify will receive a payment based on a predetermined payment rate, multiplied by the actual planted acres or prevented planted acres."
In addition to this program for mostly Southern crops, Vilsack announced special state-run grant programs for fish farmers who have been impacted by high feed costs and poultry producers who lost contracts when their poultry company went bankrupt. Total cost for these programs is $630 million.