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June 11, 2003   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
June 11, 2003

MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- Signup began June 6 for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Crop Disaster Program (CDP) for crop years 2001 or 2002. The closing date for signup will be announced at a later date, but Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman said producers will be given ample opportunity to complete the process.

Payments for CDP were authorized by the Agricultural Assistance Act of 2003, signed into law on Feb. 20, 2003, to provide some $2 billion in aid for producers suffering from natural disasters. The CDP has no funding limitation but each producer is limited to $80,000.

"Over the past two years, severe weather conditions in many parts of the nation have brought economic hardships." said Veneman. "We're working hard to provide these benefits to our farmers and ranchers as soon as possible."

Under CDP, producers will be reimbursed for qualifying crop production and quality losses to crops (other than sugar cane, sugar beets or tobacco) for either the 2001 or 2002 crops. Payments will be issued for losses exceeding 35 percent of expected production at:

-- 50 percent of the established price for crops that were covered by crop insurance;

-- 50 percent of the established price for crops for which crop insurance was not available; and

-- 45 percent of the established price to producers for crops that could have been insured but were not.

The statute requires 2001 and 2002 crop disaster payments for production and quality losses to be calculated by the same formula and loss thresholds used for the 2000 crop disaster program. This means the prices used to calculate disaster payments for crops insured under the Federal Crop Insurance Program will be the Actual Production History (APH) prices. For crops not insured, five-year average market prices will be used. The statute also requires the 2001 or 2002 crop disaster payments be reduced if the sum of : (1) the disaster payment; (2) the net crop insurance indemnity; and (3) the value of the crop that was not lost, exceeds 95 percent of what the value of the crop would have been in the absence of a loss.

Producers can get more information about the disaster program from their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office or by visiting http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

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