Buy-in waiver for supplemental disaster assistance underway
Agricultural producers who would otherwise be ineligible for new disaster assistance programs may now “opt” to become eligible by paying a fee as required by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Act).
According to Susan Tortorich, chairperson of the Evangeline Parish FSA County Committee, the 2008 Act requires producers who wish to participate in the new disaster programs to have crop insurance or non-insured crop disaster assistance (NAP) coverage for the land for which assistance is being requested, and for all farms in all counties in which they have an interest. Since the new Farm Bill was enacted after the application periods had closed for those programs, producers who did not have such coverage could not comply with this requirement in order to be eligible for the new disaster programs. However, new Farm Bill provisions authorizes a waiver that allows producers to pay a fee, called a “buy-in” fee, to be eligible for this new disaster assistance.
Tortorich emphasized that every producer whose crops, including grazing lands, are not fully covered by crop insurance or NAP may take advantage of this one-time opportunity. The buy-in fee is due no later than Sept. 16, 90 days after the date of enactment, as required by the 2008 Act. Those who miss this opportunity will not be eligible for any 2008 disaster assistance. Producers are also reminded the payment of the applicable buy-in fee does not afford the producer crop insurance or NAP coverage; it only affords eligibility for the 2008 disaster programs. Producers who meet the definition of “Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource,” or “Beginning Farmer or Rancher,” do not have to meet the Risk Management Purchase Requirement, and, therefore, are not required to pay the buy-in fee.
The buy-in fee for 2008 eligibility only for either the catastrophic risk protection insurance (CAT) or NAP is $100 per crop, but not more than $300 per producer per administrative county, or $900 total per producer for all counties less any previously paid fees for CAT and/or NAP. Producers can contact their local administrative FSA County Office to file the application for waiver and pay the applicable fees.
The applicable buy-in form must be completed and applicable fees paid by Sept. 16. Payment of the applicable fees will allow the producer to be eligible for benefits for losses under Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program, Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), Tree Assistance Program (TAP), and Emergency Assistance Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP).
For additional information on these new Farm Bill programs and the authorized 2008 “buy-in” option for supplemental agricultural disaster assistance contact the Evangeline Parish Farm Service Agency Office.