USDA Announces Amended Farm Bill Provisions

By: News Release Email
By: News Release Email

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Owners and operators of farms with 10 or fewer base acres now have the opportunity to receive payments for the 2008 Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program. On Oct. 13, 2008, President George W. Bush signed a bill that made amendments to the 2008 Farm Bill.

These amendments apply to farms with crop acreage bases of 10 acres or
less. These changes and clarifications allow some producers more
flexibility in farming practices and create new sign-up opportunities
with new deadlines for some farms. The amendments also apply to the new
Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) Program.

10-Base Acre Limit Changes

As originally enacted under the 2008 Farm Bill, direct and
countercyclical payments (DCP) could not be made with respect to farms
with crop acreage bases of 10 acres or less. The new law makes that
provision inapplicable for the 2008 crop year. Related to this,
producers on a farm with 10 acres or less of base may now, under the new
law, enroll their farms until Nov. 26, 2008, in the 2008 DCP program.
This extension of the original Sept. 30 deadline only applies to
producers who were previously excluded because of the minimum acreage
requirement. USDA began issuing payments to producers on farms with 10
base acres or less who had already enrolled in the DCP program soon
after the President signed the new law.

USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) will now resume allowing
reconstitutions for farms with 10 acres of base or less according to
normal reconstitution rules and policy. Eligible producers may sign up
for DCP at any FSA office or enroll on the FSA website at: click on Access eDCP Services.

Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE) Changes

Under SURE in the 2008 Farm Bill, producers seeking disaster benefits
must generally have obtained crop insurance or coverage under the
Non-insured crop disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for all crops on all
farms. Under the new law (P.L. 110-398), producers with crops that had
2009 crop insurance sales closing dates before Aug. 14, 2008, may pay a
fee through Jan. 12, 2009, to participate in SURE. Producers may make
their SURE participation fee payments to their local FSA office at this

The SURE program fee is equal to the fee for catastrophic coverage.
Payment of the SURE program fee will not make the producer eligible for
insurance coverage.

Producers also have a new minimum loss threshold under SURE. Under the
new law, to qualify for payments, there must be a production loss of at
least 10 percent for at least one crop of economic significance on the

Under the SURE program, the new law provides that when a second crop is
planted after the first crop was prevented from being planted, or if
such first crop failed, the second planting will not count toward the
SURE program guarantee or total farm revenue. This is true except in
areas where double-cropping is a normal practice. Producers also are not
required to purchase crop insurance or a NAP policy for the second crop.

By provision of the new statute, the purchase of insurance or a NAP
policy for grazed acreage is no longer a requirement for the SURE
program. However, such insurance is required as a condition for payment
for the livestock feed program, tree assistance program and the
emergency livestock, honeybees and farm-related fish programs.

In addition, the new law amends SURE eligibility so that crop insurance
or NAP coverage is no longer required for crops that are not of economic
significance or those where the administrative fee required to buy NAP
coverage exceeds 10 percent of the value of the coverage.

Producers can contact their local FSA office for more information
regarding SURE program implementation.

NAP (Non-Insured crop disaster Assistance Program) Application Deadline

NAP application closing dates for the 2009 crops have been extended to
Dec. 1, 2008. This extension for 2009 NAP applies to those crops having
an application closing date prior to Dec. 1, 2008. This extension was
authorized due to the late enactment of the 2008 Farm Bill and to
accommodate those applicants wanting to participate in disaster
assistance programs under the 2008 Act's Supplemental Agricultural
Disaster Assistance for their 2009 crops.

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