Bill R. Fuller, state executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency, announced recently that May 31 is the end of the signup period for the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) that began on Feb. 7. TAP provides financial relief to owners of eligible trees, bushes, vines and forestland damaged by natural disasters.

TAP is the first of several programs to be launched in 2005 to help producers recover from natural disasters that occurred in 2003 and 2004. Orchardists of eligible trees, bushes and vines from which an annual crop is produced for commercial purposes and eligible forestland owners who produce crops of timber for commercial purposes may receive assistance under TAP.

In Kansas, TAP provides assistance on tree losses exceeding an 18 percent loss threshold that must be as a result of natural disaster conditions during the period of Dec. 1, 2003 through Dec. 31, 2004.

Assistance is provided for replanting trees at 75 percent of the actual cost not to exceed the maximum payment rate for replanting trees.

For more information, or to apply for TAP assistance, tree owners should contact the staff at their county FSA office. Additional TAP information is available on FSA's website at www.fsa.usda.gov.

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