Sign-up was suppose to begin Monday, Feb. 4 for the Dairy Disaster Assistance Program but has hit a snag that will delay sign-up. According to John Johnson of the Farm Service Agency, the delay is due to the Paperwork Reduction Act and other regulatory requirements Congress passed.
"They did not exempt the Dairy Disaster Program from those requirements," Johnson says. "As a result we just learned that we can't utilize one of the forms we use for sign-up until we get the final regulation published. So we are going to have to put sign-up on hold until we get the final rule published in the Federal Register."
Getting the regulations published will take a few weeks, and even then producers will have to wait before receiving checks.
"Payments for that program will be delayed until we get all the applications in because in that program we only had a fixed amount of money for the entire nation," Johnson says. "Now that they've extended the program to cover additional losses in 2007 we have to get all those applications in hand, total everyone's application up to see if this exceeds $16 million and whether we need to pro-rate the payments."