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Disaster payments available for crop, feed losses in '07

February 19, 2008

Colleen Cashell, executive director for USDA Farm Service Agency in Washington County, has announced that eligible farmers who suffered livestock feed and crop losses that occurred in 2007 crops before Dec. 31, can apply to receive disaster payments.

This is due to the 2007 federal disaster designation for Washington County for crop losses due to drought and extreme heat.

This same designation applies also to several of the surrounding counties, including Frederick and Allegany counties in Maryland, Franklin and Fulton counties in Pennsylvania, and Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia.

On Dec. 26, President Bush signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The 2008 Act amends certain sections of the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007, which allows agricultural producers who suffered losses for crops planted before Feb. 28, 2007, or eligible livestock or livestock feed losses between Jan. 1, 2005, and Feb. 28, 2007, to apply for disaster payments under the Crop Disaster Program, Livestock Compensation Program and Livestock Indemnity Program.

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The 2008 Act extends those program payments to eligible farmers and ranchers who suffered 2007 crop, livestock and livestock feed losses throughout the 2007 crop year before Dec. 31.

The Farm Service Agency is now accepting applications and making payments for quantity losses of crops before Dec. 31.

The agency is issuing livestock and livestock feed payments for losses up to Feb. 28, and will soon issue payments for losses incurred during 2007 disaster declarations. The agency will conduct sign-up and begin making payments for crop quality losses under he crop program this spring. More information about the programs is available online at: http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

The Dairy Disaster Assistance Payment Program, which provides benefits to eligible dairy producers for production losses suffered as a result of natural disasters since Jan. 1, 2005, has also been extended by the 2008 Act and will now cover, in addition to 2005 loss, the 2007 disaster declaration for extreme heat losses occurring before Dec. 31. As a result, the program sign-up, which began Dec. 3, was temporarily suspended until automation, policy, procedure and other administrative items could be updated accordingly. The program signup resumed Feb. 4.

Other issues

The 2008 Act also extends the agency's authority to administer the Conservation Reserve Program and marketing loan benefits for wool and mohair through March 15. It also allows the Milk Price Support Program to continue operating at current price support levels through March 15. Under the 2002 Farm Bill, USDA's authority to administer these three programs expired on Dec. 31.

Additionally, the 2008 Act provides $3.3 billion in direct and guaranteed loan funds for the Farm Loan Programs.

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