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Buy-in available for disaster relief

March 31, 2009

Colleen Cashell, county executive director of USDA's Farm Service Agency in Washington County, said producers who did not obtain crop insurance or Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program coverage for 2008 can pay a buy-in fee through May 18 to become eligible for 2008 disaster assistance programs authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.

Producers who have not already taken the necessary steps to become eligible for the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program, Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish, and the Tree Assistance Program are required to complete the following steps by May 18:

o Pay a $100 "buy-in" fee per crop. The maximum fee is $300 per county, per producer, not to exceed $900 for multicounty producers.

o In the case of each insurable crop, excluding grazing land, agree to obtain a policy or plan of insurance for the next insurance year for which crop insurance is available; coverage level should equal 70 percent or more of the yield at 100 percent of the price.

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o In the case of each noninsurable crop, agree to file the required paperwork and pay the applicable administrative NAP coverage fee by the applicable state application closing date for the next available year.

o Producers who choose to "buy in" under this provision will be considered, for insured crops, to have obtained a policy or plan of insurance for the 2008 crop year at a level of coverage not to exceed 70 percent of the yield at 100 percent of the price. For noninsurable crops, producers will be considered to have a level of coverage equal to 70 percent of the yield. These levels of coverage will be used to calculate the 2008 SURE guarantee.

o Producers who meet the definition of "Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource," or "Beginning Farmer or Rancher," are not required to pay the buy-in fee.

For more information, contact the local FSA county office in Hagerstown at 1260 Maryland Ave., suite 107; call toll-free 866-316-8458; or go to www.fsa.usda.gov.

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