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Buy Into Disaster Assistance?

Farmers who didn't sign up have a second chance with "buy-in" fee.

If you didn't sign up for crop insurance or non-insured crop disaster assistance programs, you can still do so. That's the word from Brymer Humphreys, executive director for USDA's Farm Service Agency in New York. Failure to do so will leave you ineligible for federal disaster aid.

Since the Farm Bill was enacted after the application periods had closed for those programs, producers who didn't sign up for coverage would be ineligible for disaster benefits – unless they pay a "buy-in" fee.

"I urge every producer whose crops, including grazing lands, aren't fully covered by crop insurance or NAP to take advantage of this one-time opportunity," Humphreys says. "The buy-in fee is due no later than Sept. 16, 2008. Payment of the fee doesn't afford the producer crop insurance or NAP coverage; it only affords eligibility for the 2008 disaster programs." Crop insurance and NAP coverage requirements will be waived for those not meeting the sale closing dates.

The buy-in fee is $100 per crop, but not more than $300 per producer per administrative county, or a maximum $900 per producer for all counties. The payment allows eligibility for for loss benefits under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program, Livestock Forage Disaster Program, Tree Assistance Program, and Emergency Assistance Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program. Sign up for these programs isn't expected until this winter.

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