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USDA announces disaster crop loss assistance

USDA announces disaster crop loss assistance

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Cass County farmers and producers who suffered eligible crop quality losses due to natural disasters in 2019 will be able to sign up for a new assistance program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency announced this week that residents could take part in the Quality Loss Adjustment Program. The deadline to apply for the program is March 5.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced that signup for the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) Program has begun.

This new program provides assistance to producers who suffered eligible crop quality losses due to natural disasters occurring in 2018 and 2019.

It’s funded by the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020.

The deadline to apply for this program is this upcoming March 5.

“Farmers and livestock producers nationwide experienced crop quality losses due to natural disasters in 2018 and 2019,” said Bill Northey, USDA undersecretary for farm production and conservation. “We have worked diligently over the past couple of years to roll out meaningful disaster assistance programs to help alleviate the substantial financial loss experienced by so many agricultural producers and are pleased to offer quality loss assistance as added relief. Many of the eligible producers have already received compensation for quantity losses.”

Eligible crops include those for which federal crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program coverage is available, except for grazed crops and value loss crops, such as honey, maple sap, aquaculture, floriculture, mushrooms, ginseng root, ornamental nursery, Christmas trees and turf grass sod.

Additionally, crops that were sold or fed to livestock or that are in storage may be eligible. However, crops that were destroyed before harvest are not eligible. Crop quality losses occurring after harvest, due to deterioration in storage, or that could have been mitigated, are also not eligible.

Assistance is based on a producer’s harvested affected production of an eligible crop, which must have had at least a five-percent quality loss reflected through a quality discount, or for forage crops, a nutrient loss such as total digestible nutrients.

Losses must have been a result of a qualifying disaster event (hurricane, excessive moisture, flood, qualifying drought, tornado, typhoon, volcanic activity, snowstorm or wildfire) or related condition that occurred in calendar years 2018 and/or 2019.

Assistance is available for eligible producers in counties that received a qualifying Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or Secretarial Disaster Designation because of one or more of the qualifying disaster events or related conditions.

The eligibility in Cass County involves events in 2019 only.

Producers in counties that did not receive a qualifying declaration or designation may still apply but must provide supporting documentation to establish that the crop was directly affected by a qualifying disaster event.

To determine QLA eligibility and payments, FSA considers the total quality loss caused by all qualifying natural disasters in cases where a crop was impacted by multiple events.

When applying, producers are asked to provide verifiable documentation to support claims of quality loss or nutrient loss in the case of forage crops. For crops that have been sold, grading must have been completed within 30 days of harvest, and for forage crops, a laboratory analysis must have been completed within 30 days of harvest.

Some acceptable forms of documentation include sales receipts from buyers, settlement sheets, truck or warehouse scale tickets, written sales contracts, similar records that represent actual and specific quality loss information, and forage tests for nutritional values.

For more information, visit farmers.gov/quality-loss, or contact a local USDA service center. Producers can also obtain one-on-one support with applications by calling 877-508-8364.

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