October 3, 2008
The 2008 Farm Bill authorized new Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance programs, and this week, Congress approved legislation to clarify issues that have arisen within some of these programs.
"I believe there was a lot of confusion in the country side about what acres needed to be insured and the correct program to cover these acres," commented Guy Flora (Ohio), a past president of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI). "The provisions agreed to this week go a long way to clarifying the programs."
The provisions clarify that the crop disaster program, Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), and the grazing land program, Livestock Forage Program (LFP), have separate crop insurance requirements. In order for a producer to qualify for SURE payments, it is not necessary to purchase crop insurance on grazing land. In additional, producers do not need to insure crop acres to be eligible for LFP coverage.
A second explanation related to the necessity to insure all acres to be eligible to collect any disaster assistance. Acres that are not considered economically significant to a producer's farm or ranch do not need to be insured. This will typically apply to a small pasture or some other minor crop that is not economically significant to the operation.
Finally, the 2008 Farm Bill eliminated direct and countercyclical payments for farms or ranches with base acres of 10 or less. This provision will allow producers of 10 acres or less to receive this payment for the 2008 crop year. The 2008 crop year deadline for the signup for benefits on a farm with base acres of 10 or less will be extended until at least Nov. 14, 2008.
"ASI is grateful for the leadership of Sen. Max Baucus (Mont.) in fixing the disaster program for sheep producers as supported by the association," concluded Flora. "His efforts in clarifying these programs will benefit all small flock owners in the United States."