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USDA provides disaster assistance

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that starting Oct. 25 up to $550 million in disaster assistance will be issued to producers of rice, upland cotton, soybeans and sweet potatoes that suffered losses because of excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009. This assistance will be issued by the Farm Service Agency through the Crop Assistance Program.

"Producers of these crops suffered quality and quantity losses caused by excess moisture in 2009," Vilsack said. "They continue to feel the effects of those crop losses and this program will provide timely assistance."

Payments will be made available to producers of eligible crops that received Secretarial disaster designations due to excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009. A list of eligible disaster counties for CAP is located at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov. Producers of eligible crops on farms in disaster counties who certify to a 5 percent or greater crop loss in 2009 due to excessive moisture or related conditions will receive a payment based on a predetermined payment rate times the planted acres of the crop. Per acre payment rates will be prorated by FSA in order to keep payments within available funds for the program. Producers will initially receive 75 percent or their CAP payment and once sign up is complete they will receive up to an additional 25 percent. The predetermined payment rates for the eligible crops are:

--Long grain rice, $31.93 per acre;

--Medium or short grain rice, $52.46 per acre;

--Upland cotton, $17.70 per acre;

--Soybeans, $15.62 per acre; and

--Sweet potatoes, $155.41 per acre.

The general eligibility provisions, payment limits and adjusted gross income limits that apply to FSA programs apply to CAP. No person or legal entity (excluding a joint venture or general partnership), may receive, directly or indirectly, more than $100,000 in CAP benefits. Additionally, CAP payments will be treated as 2009 revenue under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program.

CAP is funded through Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of Aug. 24, 1935, which allows the secretary to use funds to reestablish the purchasing power of farmers, ranchers and producers. For additional background on CAP, visit http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

For more information about USDA Farm Service Agency disaster assistance programs, visit a local FSA county office or http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

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