Sens. Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson have announced the availability of a Quality Loss Aid Package (QLP) for farmers, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The program compensates farmers who suffered at least a 20% loss in the quality of their crop in 2000.

Daschle and Johnson said farmers soon will be able to receive payment for the loss of crop quality, due to weather-related disasters. To qualify for a QLP payment, farmers must provide U.S. Department of Agriculture with proof of quality for their harvested crop. Examples of the type of proof required include grading receipts, sales receipts or university lab tests showing quality losses. The QLP is funded through the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2001.

Sign up for the new program begins Aug. 13. In some cases, USDA has issued individuals payments for quality loss under the 2000 Crop Disaster Program (CDP). The amount of the QLP payment will be reduced by the portion of the CDP payment attributed to quality losses. Combined total payments issued for QLP and CDP are limited to $80,000 per person. In addition, persons whose gross revenue exceeded $2.5 million for the 1999 tax year are ineligible for QLP. Payments should begin soon after a farmer signs up.

"Farmers are crucial for food production and an important part of the economy," said Johnson "Farming is a demanding and unpredictable profession, and when there is no safety net in the farm bill, it is important to have this QLP funding available for farmers who are subjected to weather extremes, market fluctuations and natural pests."

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