USDA announced on Jan. 10, 2011 that the sign up for 2009 Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments has begun. "Eligible producers who incurred crop losses for the 2009 crop year can now sign up for their SURE program payment," says John Whitaker, state executive director of USDA's Farm Service Agency in Iowa. The SURE program provides financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who have suffered losses from natural disasters.
"Sign up for 2009 crop payments from this program is currently underway and continues until July 29, 2011," says Whitaker. "It is part of the financial safety net that the 2008 Farm Bill provides." The determination as to whether or not a farm is eligible for a SURE program payment does not happen until after harvest and the end of the marketing year for the crop.
SURE payment is based on revenue, so price average is needed
As an example, for the 2011 crop the end of the marketing year won't be until the fall of 2012 because the marketing year runs from Sept. 1, 2010 to Aug. 31, 2011. By then the average price for that marketing year's crop has been established to help calculate the amount of the SURE payment.
SURE provides assistance in an amount equal to 60% of the difference between the SURE farm guarantee and total farm revenue. The farm guarantee is based on the amount of crop insurance and Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program coverage on the farm. Total farm revenue takes into account the actual value of production on the farm as well as insurance indemnities and certain farm program payments.
To be eligible for a SURE payment, a farm or ranch must have:
At least a 10% production loss on a crop of economic significance
Insured all economically significant crops with crop insurance
Been physically located in a county that was declared a primary disaster country or contiguous county by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under a Secretarial Designation. Without a secretarial disaster designation, individual producers may be eligible if the actual production on the farm is less than 50% of the normal production on the farm due to a natural disaster.
Did you suffer crop production loss in 2009? Visit your FSA office
"If you suffered a production loss in 2009, you should visit your local FSA office to learn what you need to do to apply for the payment," says Whitaker. "This program, along with others administered through FSA help provide stability for farmers during periods of production loss due to natural disasters."
Only certain counties are eligible under the Secretarial Disaster Designation or the contiguous counties that join them.
In Iowa, eligible counties for the 2009 SURE payment, those that are either primary or contiguous counties are: Allamakee, Appanoose, Benton, Black Hawk, Boone, Bremer, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Butler, Calhoun, Carroll, Cerro Gordo, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Clarke, Clay, Clayton, Crawford, Clinton, Davis, Decatur, Delaware, Des Moines, Dickinson, Dubuque, Emmet, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hamilton, Hardin, Henry, Howard, Humboldt, Ida, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Lucas, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Mitchell, Monona, Monroe, Muscatine, O'Brien, Osceola, Page, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Poweshiek, Ringgold, Sac, Story, Tama, Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Winneshiek, Wright and Woodbury.
You need to have purchased private crop insurance to be eligible for USDA's SURE, as it is USDA's disaster aid program. All insurable crops are covered by SURE, with limited exceptions. The higher your level of crop insurance is, the higher your guarantee levels under the SURE program will be. In a way, SURE is like getting free, additional crop insurance coverage, notes Whitaker.
Producers considered socially disadvantaged, a beginning farmer or rancher, or a limited resource farmer may be eligible for SURE without a policy. For more information on the SURE program or other disaster assistance programs, please contact your local county FSA office or FSA's Website at www.fsa.usda.gov.