• While the 2008 farm bill made great strides in eliminating the need for ad hoc disaster programs, work still needs to be done. USDA looks forward to working with Congress to make sure adequate risk management tools are available to all farmers, all crops, and in all regions of the country.

• In this case, USDA’s review of the distribution for 2008 SURE program payments combined with the concerns we have heard from producers for 2009 has led to this attempt to utilize existing, but limited, authorities and funding to address those issues for producers who may not be receiving adequate levels of coverage and assistance under existing safety net programs.

• While USDA is providing this assistance in the short term, the department will also continue to monitor existing programs and payments – including SURE – so that the department can provide feedback and guidance to Congress, especially for the 2012 farm bill.

• Pursuant to Section 32, the Secretary (of Agriculture) has the authority to use funds to “reestablish farmers’ purchasing power by making payments in connection with the normal production of any agricultural commodity for domestic consumption.” Those farmers certifying to the losses will get a limited amount of relief to help reestablish their lost purchasing power due to the disasters in 2009.

• Importantly, domestic feeding program needs will not be impacted by this assistance because USDA will use existing authorities that permit the CCC to make all required and needed purchases that usually are made with Section 32 funds. Suppliers, vendors, and those administering and receiving food assistance will not notice any difference or delay.

• While this does not cover every farmer and every loss, it is one effort to continue to provide the most effective safety net nationwide for the farmers and ranchers who provide all of us – and many around the world – with a safe, abundant, and affordable food and fiber supply.

• Producers in counties that were designated by the secretary as primary disaster counties because of high precipitation or moisture related conditions will be eligible for assistance. FSA’s preliminary data indicates just under 1,000 counties could be eligible.

• Farmers signing up for this assistance will have to certify that they meet all eligibility requirements, including Adjusted Gross Income limits. FSA will be performing audits. Those farmers who certified improperly will be required to pay back all funds, with interest, and may be subject to other penalties pursuant to existing statutes and regulations.

• Consistent with existing requirements in the 2008 farm bill, no producer can receive more than $100,000 in disaster assistance.

• USDA plans to begin sign up once it publishes the regulation for the assistance and the funding becomes available in Fiscal Year 2011. Payments will go out as quickly as possible after a farmer signs up with FSA. USDA will have more information on the sign up in the near future, and www.usda.fsa.gov will be continually updated with the most current information.

• In general, payments under other USDA programs will not be affected. However, pursuant to statute, any SURE payment a producer could be eligible for will be offset by any payments under this program.