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Several aid programs available from farm officials

Published: Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 1:15 a.m. CST

The sign-up period for the U.S. Farm Service Agency’s 2011-crop year Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments program opens Monday.

SURE authorizes assistance to farmers and ranchers who suffered crop losses caused by natural disasters occurring through Sept. 30, 2011. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s authority to operate the program ended on that date. Production losses after Sept. 30, 2011, because of disasters are not eligible for program coverage.

To be eligible for SURE, a farm or ranch must have:

■ At least a 10 percent production loss on a crop of economic significance.

■ A policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for all economically significant crops.

■ Been physically located in a county declared a primary disaster county or contiguous county by the Secretary of Agriculture under a Secretarial Disaster Designation.

The deadline for signing up is June 7. Visit www.fsa.usda.gov/sure or any FSA office for more information.

Changes made to farm loans

Recent modifications have been made to the FSA’s Emergency Loan program to speed up calculation of grazing losses in pasture for livestock operations.

Producers will no longer have to wait until the end of the production cycle to obtain a loan.

The change is applicable for applicants in “Fast Track” designated counties, that suffered from a drought intensity value of at least D2 (Drought-Severe) for 8 or more consecutive weeks, or D3 (Drought-Extreme) or higher at any time during the growing season according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Visit droughtmonitor.unl.edu for more information about drought ratings.

Emergency loan funds could be used if an operation liquidates livestock due to a lack of available feed. Loan funds can be used to cover lost income from animals sold and lost income from offspring.

Other uses include pasture losses; crops planted for grain and later chopped for use as silage; loss of nursery plants; losses in contact livestock, if the loss of income can directly be attributed to the disaster; lost milk production; losses to perennial crops, such as Christmas trees, and fruit or nut bearing trees; and equine losses for applicants whose primary income is received from breeding, raising and selling  horses.

Call John Prange in Morrison at 815-772-2124, or Dave Peterson in Oregon at 815-732-6127, for more information.

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