SIGN-UP UNDERWAY FOR TREE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Signup for Tree Assistance Program
(TAP), which provides financial relief to owners of eligible trees, bushes,
vines and forest land damaged by natural disasters has begun. Funding for TAP was
authorized by the Military Construction and Emergency Hurricane Supplemental
Appropriations Act, 2005 (2005 Appropriations Act), and signed into law by
President Bush last October, said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.
Owners of eligible trees, bushes and vines from which an annual crop is
produced for commercial purposes; eligible forest land owners who produce
crops of timber for commercial purposes; and eligible pecan producers may
receive assistance under TAP. Producers who received payments under Section
32 of the Act of Aug. 24, 1935, for 2004 hurricane losses are ineligible
to receive benefits under the general TAP and for forest timber. However,
producers may receive both Section 32 payments and TAP payments for pecan
rehabilitation. In addition, producers are ineligible for both Emergency
Conservation Program and TAP assistance for the same losses.
TAP for Orchardists
Funding as necessary has been authorized for benefits under the 2005
Appropriations Act for losses which occurred during the period beginning
Dec. 1, 2003, and ending Dec. 31, 2004, for eligible orchardists to replant
trees, bushes and vines that were grown to produce an annual crop. Benefits
will not be prorated.
TAP for Forest Timber Producers
In addition, the 2005 Appropriations Act authorized $15 million for
assistance to eligible producers who meet all requirements and produce
periodic crops of forest timber for commercial use, and who suffered timber
losses or damage during the period beginning Dec. 1, 2003, and ending Dec.
31, 2004. If all eligible claims filed during the application period are
greater than the available funds, benefits will be prorated.
TAP for Pecan Tree Producers
The 2005 Appropriations Act also authorized $8.5 million in TAP assistance
for producers who suffered crop damage to pecan trees. The funds will
reimburse producers for pruning, rehabilitation and other related costs.
Pecan producers must be located in a Presidentially-declared disaster county
that suffered hurricane or tropical storm-related tree losses related to the
2004 hurricane season. If all eligible claims filed during the application
period are greater than the available funds, benefits will be prorated.
For more information, or to apply for TAP assistance, tree owners should
contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. Additional TAP
information is available on FSA's Web site at: www.fsa.usda.gov.