Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has urged farmers and ranchers to sign up for the Crop Disaster Program (CDP), Livestock Assistance Program (LAP) and American Indian Livestock Feed Program (AILFP) in advance of the approaching deadline.

“These programs have helped thousands of producers recover from the devastating effects of severe weather in counties that have received a presidential disaster declaration,” said Johanns. “I encourage all eligible farmers and ranchers to enroll in these programs now before the sign-up periods close in order to participate and receive this valuable assistance.”

For the CDP 2003 and 2004, the sign-up deadline is Sept. 9. For the CDP 2005, the enrollment period ends Dec. 16. The CDP provides assistance to producers who suffered 2003, 2004 or 2005-crop losses as the result of damaging weather or related conditions. The 2005 crop losses are limited to those losses caused by a hurricane season in counties that had a presidential disaster declaration. Nearly $2 billion has been paid to producers since sign-up began in mid-March 2005.

Producers can receive disaster benefits for crop losses for only one of the 2003, 2004 or 2005 crop years. However, if a producer has been paid a CDP payment for a 2003 or 2004 crop loss and is subsequently approved for a CDP payment for a greater 2005 crop loss, the amount of the 2003 or 2004 payment will be deducted from the 2005 payment and the difference will be paid to the producer.

The sign-up period for LAP 2003 and 2004 ends Sept. 9. The LAP provides payments to livestock producers for grazing losses that occurred in 2003 or 2004 if the producers' grazing lands are in counties declared primary disaster areas under presidential or secretarial declarations.