Payments for the CDP are authorized by the Agricultural Assistance Act of 2003, signed into law in February, to provide some $2 billion in aid for producers suffering from natural disasters. The CDP has no funding limitation but each producer is limited to $80,000.

“Over the past two years, severe weather conditions in many parts of the nation have brought economic hardships.” said Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman, who issued a statement reminding producers of the beginning of sign-up. “We’re working hard to provide these benefits to our farmers and ranchers as soon as possible.”

Under the Crop Disaster Program, producers will be reimbursed for qualifying crop production and quality losses to crops (other than sugar cane, sugar beets or tobacco) for either the 2001 or 2002 crops. Payments will be issued for losses exceeding 35 percent of expected production at:

  • 50 percent of the established price for crops that were covered by crop insurance;
  • 50 percent of the established price for crops for which crop insurance was not available;
  • 45 percent of the established price to producers for crops that could have been insured but were not.
The statute requires 2001 and 2002 crop disaster payments for production and quality losses to be calculated by the same formula and loss thresholds used for the 2000 crop disaster program. This means the prices used to calculate disaster payments for crops insured under the Federal Crop Insurance Program will be the Actual Production History prices. For crops not insured, five-year average market prices will be used.

The statute also requires the 2001 or 2002 crop disaster payments be reduced if the sum of: (1) the disaster payment; (2) the net crop insurance indemnity; and (3) the value of the crop that was not lost, exceeds 95 percent of what the value of the crop would have been in the absence of a loss. Payments will be made to producers shortly after sign-up begins.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency has developed a Web site that provides producers with one convenient location for details on new and existing disaster assistance. The Web site can be accessed at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

For more information about CDP and other disaster assistance, contact or visit local county FSA offices or USDA Service Centers.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com