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Disaster benefits extended

Farmers who experienced crop, feed and livestock losses due to weather problems that occurred between Feb. 28 and Dec. 31, 2007, can apply for disaster payments at county Farm Service Agency offices, USDA announced.

The payments are authorized under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, which amends certain sections of the 2007 law that provided disaster payments for producers who suffered crop losses between Jan. 1, 2005, and Feb. 28, 2007. FSA offices began accepting applications Jan. 25.

Those losses were covered under the Crop Disaster Program (CDP), Livestock Compensation Program (LCP) and Livestock Indemnity Program. The 2008 law extends CDP, LCP, LIP payments to farmers who had crop, livestock and livestock feed losses during the 2007 crop year.

USDA's Farm Service Agency is now accepting applications and making payments for quantity losses before Dec. 31, 2007, under CDP, according to a press release from USDA. FSA is currently issuing LCP and LIP payments for losses up to Feb. 28, 2007, and will soon issue payments for losses incurred during the remainder of 2007.

The Farm Service Agency will conduct sign-ups and begin making payments for quality losses under CDP this spring.

More information about CDP, LCP and LIP is available online at: http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

The Dairy Disaster Assistance Payment (DDAP-III) Program, which provides benefits to eligible dairy producers for production losses suffered as a result of natural disasters since Jan. 1, 2005, has also been extended by the 2008 Act to cover, in addition, any 2007 disaster occurring before Dec. 31, 2007.

As a result, DDAP-III sign-up, which began Dec. 3, 2007, was temporarily suspended until automation, policy, procedure and other administrative items could be updated accordingly. DDAP-III program sign-up will resume Feb. 4.

Under the 2002 farm bill, USDA's authority to administer these three programs expired on Dec. 31.

Additionally, the 2008 act provides $3.3 billion in direct and guaranteed loan funds for FSA's farm loan programs.

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