FAQ: Iowa was hit by a number of weather-related crop disasters in 2011, ranging from flooding to hail to tornados to straight-line winds. I farm in one of those areas. Can you explain how USDA's disaster payment program applies to 2011 crop damage?
Answer: Provided by Beth Grabau, public information and outreach specialist at the USDA Farm Service Agency state office in Des Moines. FSA program specialist Kevin McClure assisted her. If you need more information, contact your local FSA office. Information is also available at www.fsa.usda.gov.
Iowa had its share of crop damage from adverse weather in 2011 in various areas of the state. Affected farmers are asking questions about qualifying for USDA's Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payment or SURE program. Beth Grabau, public information and outreach specialist at the Farm Service Agency state office in Des Moines provides the following answers. FSA program specialist Kevin McClure assisted her. If you need more information, contact your local FSA office. Information is also available at www.fsa.usda.gov.
Question: How do USDA disaster payments for crops fit into this year's flooding situations or other disasters that have taken place in Iowa? We've had hail, straight line winds, flooding, excessive heat and even tornados early in the season.
Answer: Crop insurance will make up some, but not all, of farmers' losses from Missouri River flooding in 2011 if producers obtained crop insurance coverage. Here's how USDA's Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payment (SURE) program compensates producers for production and/or quality losses during times of disaster.
SURE payments cover up to 60% of losses not covered by crop insurance, up to 90% of expected revenue. Coverage is based on national marketing year prices, which will not be known until Sept. 2012, so applications and payments will not be available before that time. All of a producer's planted acres are combined, over all crops, when calculating a loss within the farming operation.
The legislative authority for the SURE program ends on Sept. 30, 2011. Producers must meet specific eligibility requirements to receive SURE assistance for disasters that occur on or before Sept. 30, 2011, and affect fall 2011 and 2012 crops.
Question: What counties in Iowa are eligible for SURE? I thought it would only apply to producers along the Missouri River, but now I don't know after storms came through my area.
Answer: Producers can apply for a 2011 or 2012 SURE payment if a crop of economic significance located in a primary or contiguous disaster county under a Secretarial Disaster Designation suffered at least a 10% loss because of disaster occurring on or before Sept. 30, 2011.
Although other disasters and counties are being given consideration, currently in Iowa for the 2011 crop years the primary counties are Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie and Woodbury. Contiguous counties include Cass, Cherokee, Crawford, Ida, Montgomery, Page, Plymouth and Shelby.
A Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation has also been issued for 46 Illinois counties as the primary disaster area. Seven Iowa counties are contiguous to this designated disaster area, making these Iowa producers in these seven counties also potentially eligible for program based on this designation. These seven contiguous counties are: Clinton, Des Moines, Dubuque, Jackson, Louisa, Muscatine and Scott.
Producers are also eligible if they suffered a 50% loss within their farming operation. These producers do not need to be in a primary or contiguous disaster county.
SURE applications for crop year 2011 will not be available until fall of 2012 due to the fact the National Average Market Price must be established at the end of the marketing year for 2011.
Question: I'm concerned about the legislative authority for SURE ending on September 30, 2011. I won't have my crops harvested before that date, how will that affect my eligibility?
Answer: Crops are not required to be harvested on or before Sept. 30, 2011, to maintain SURE eligibility. A loss claim will only trigger after FSA determines that the loss was because of disaster occurring on or before Sept. 30, 2011. Losses that result from disasters that occur after Sept. 30, 2011, will not be eligible for SURE benefits. Also, producers aren't required to notify their local FSA office of losses prior to Sept. 30, 2011, with the exception of producers having a NAP Policy where the NAP crop suffered a loss. NAP stands for Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
Producers with 2011 and 2012 crops who suffer losses caused by disasters that occur on or before Sept. 30, 2011, must also meet the following criteria:
- For insured crops, the insurance policy defines the coverage period as beginning on or before Sept. 30, 2011
- For NAP crops, the coverage period begins on or before Sept. 30, 2011.
Question: When will the sign up for the SURE program begin?
Answer: Sign-up period for 2011 and 2012 SURE will not begin until after the national average market prices are determined for each respective crop year, which is normally one year after the applicable crop year.
If you have specific questions or need details on USDA farm programs, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency or other appropriate USDA agency office. And be sure to read the regular column of "Frequently Asked Questions about the Farm Program" appearing in each issue of Wallaces Farmer magazine and at www.WallacesFarmer.com.www.WallacesFarmer.com