The U.S. Department of Agriculture has opened the sign-up period for disaster assistance programs made available through the Emergency Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2006, according to LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry.

“The USDA made several programs available to assist producers of a variety of commodities recover from the devastation caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” Guidry said.

The sign-up period has officially opened for six of these programs and will run through Feb. 2, 2007. All of the programs currently being offered are administered through the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).

The six programs currently accepting applications are:

• 2005 Hurricanes Citrus Program

• 2005 Hurricanes Fruit and Vegetable Program

• 2005 Hurricanes Nursery Program

• 2005 Hurricanes Tropical Fruit Program

• 2005 Hurricanes Livestock Compensation Program

• 2005 Hurricanes Livestock Indemnity Program

Two additional programs expected to open the sign-up period in the near future are the 2005 Hurricanes Tree Assistance Program and the 2005 Catfish Grant Program. USDA expects to announce the sign-up period along with detailed program requirements for those in the near future.

For all of these federal assistance programs, producers are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service Agency offices for additional information and for application requirements, Guidry said.

LSU AgCenter parish offices also have more detailed information on the programs, he said.