Farmers may need to circle the dates of Sept. 16 and Sept. 30 on their calendars, the National Corn Growers Association says.

Sept. 16 is the deadline for signing up for the permanent disaster program Congress included in the 2008 farm bill, while Sept. 30 in the last day to enroll in the 2008 Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payment program.

The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 requires participants in the new disaster programs to have crop insurance or non-insured crop disaster assistance coverage for the land for which assistance is being requested, and for all farms in all counties in which they have an interest.

Because this law was enacted after the application periods had closed for those programs, a waiver was authorized that allows producers to pay a fee, called a “buy-in” fee, to be eligible for this new disaster assistance.

Payment of the applicable fees will allow growers to be eligible for benefits for losses under Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program or SURE and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, among others.

The 2008 Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program, which helps deliver certainty for the crop year and the option of a timely advance payment.

For more information, growers are urged to call or visit their local USDA Service Center.