On Monday, Congress approved provisions to clarify language in the 2008 farm bill that will make it easier for producers to participate in the bill’s disaster assistance program and temporarily suspend the bill’s 10-acre provision, ensuring producers who qualify for farm programs would be able to participate.

Tom Buis, National Farmers Union president, made the following statement:

“Making these changes is the beginning of a necessary process to ensure the (USDA) implements the 2008 farm bill as Congress intended. The disaster program was a top farm bill priority for NFU and our members are very concerned that the program be administered in a way that provides assistance to producers when and where it is needed.

“USDA’s interpretation of the 10-acre provision would make thousands of producers around the country ineligible for commodity program benefits that Congress clearly intended be able to adjust their farming operations to maintain program eligibility.

“NFU will continue our efforts with both Congress and USDA to ensure the 2008 Farm Bill is implemented and administered as intended.”

Among the provisions in the disaster program technical corrections bill are:

• An extension of the waiver for the CAT/NAP purchase requirement for the 2009 crop year for crops with an Aug. 14 or earlier administrative fee payment requirement.

• An exclusion from the CAT/NAP purchase requirement for portions of the total acreage on a farm that are not of economic significance or for which the administrative fee for those programs exceeds 10 percent of the value of that coverage.

• Clarification of the rules pertaining to the treatment of a crop that has been planted subsequent to the failure of the original crop due to weather-related factors.