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USDA begins issuing payments to farmers who suffered losses

January 08, 2008

Colleen Cashell, executive director for the Washington County Farm Service Agency, announced that USDA began issuing payments in late December to farmers across the region who suffered losses because of natural disasters in 2005 and 2006.

"Across the nation, numerous agricultural producers suffered financial hardships in recent years because of floods, wildfires, tornadoes and other weather-related disasters; locally most of the crop and pasture losses were caused by drought and extreme heat conditions," Cashell said. "These funds will provide assistance to producers affected by all of these disasters."

USDA is making payments under the Crop Disaster Program, Livestock Compensation Program and Livestock Indemnity Program. The programs provide payments to agricultural producers who suffered crop, livestock and feed losses in 2005, 2006, and before Feb. 28, 2007. Sign-up for the programs is ongoing. Producers must choose one year for which to receive payments.

Crop disaster provides benefits to farmers who suffered quantity and quality losses from natural disasters and related conditions that occurred in 2005 and 2006 and for 2007 crops if the crop was planted before Feb. 28, 2007, or if the crop was planted or prevented from being planted before Feb. 28, 2007. USDA will only compensate producers for quantity losses under this program at this time. USDA will distribute payments for quality losses under the program after completion of quality loss sign-up in early 2008.

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The livestock program compensates livestock producers for feed losses resulting from natural disasters occurring between Jan. 1, 2005, and Feb. 28, 2007. Producers in primary or contiguous counties declared secretarial disaster areas or counties declared presidential disaster areas between Jan. 1, 2005, and Feb. 28, 2007, are eligible.

Livestock Indemnity compensates livestock producers for livestock losses between Jan. 1, 2005, and Feb. 28, 2007, that resulted from natural disasters, including losses due to blizzards that started in 2006 and continued into 2007. Producers in primary or contiguous counties declared secretarial disaster areas or counties declared presidential disaster areas between Jan.1, 2005, and Feb. 28, 2007, are eligible.

The "U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007," signed into law on May 25, 2007, by President Bush authorizes the three programs. USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers the programs.

Farmers can apply to receive benefits through these and other disaster programs by visiting their local FSA service center. In Washington County, the FSA office is in Suite 107 at 1260 Maryland Ave. in Hagerstown. Find more information about FSA disaster programs online at: http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

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