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USDA offering farm aid for 2009 losses

July 20, 2011

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for financial assistance from farmers who lost income in 2009 due to natural disasters. County Ag. Commissioner George Milovich said that local farmers may have lost income due to drought in the Eastern Sierra. Photo by Mike Gervais

Farmers who suffered significant production losses in 2009 due to drought or other natural disasters could be eligible for federal aid.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the 2009 Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments program.
According to USDA Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Klint Koble, “The SURE program compensates producers for production and/or quality losses during times of disaster. All producers who have experienced crop production and/or crop quality losses must apply for SURE program benefits by the July 29 deadline.”
Inyo County Agricultural Commissioner George Milovich said that there may be some local growers who experienced crop losses in 2009 due to drought, but there is no way of telling if any local ranchers or farmers will be eligible for assistance until the close of the application period.
To meet program eligibility requirements, the applicant’s farming operation must be physically located in a county that was declared a primary or contiguous disaster county by the Secretary of Agriculture under a 2009 Secretarial Disaster Designation.
Milovich said Inyo does qualify, but it is unclear if any local farms or ranches were affected to the extend required to be eligible for assistance.
“Producers located in designated disaster counties must have suffered at least a 10 percent loss on a crop of economic significance and purchased crop insurance through the Federal Crop Insurance Act or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program,” the USDA Farm Service Agency reported in a press release.
Any operation not located in a county that received a primary or contiguous disaster designation may still qualify for SURE benefits if the actual farm production was less than 50 percent of the normal production due to a qualifying disaster event.
“Producers and legal entities collectively cannot, directly, or indirectly, receive more than $100,000 in SURE and other FSA disaster assistance payments,” Koble said. “FSA disaster programs include SURE Livestock Forage Program, Livestock Indemnity Program and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish.”
Also, producers or legal entities whose nonfarm income is more than $500,000 are not eligible for SURE program payments.
For more information, contact Milovich at (760) 873-7860.

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