Fruit growers with 2012 losses can sign up for disaster aid

By Breanne Brammer

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, July 22, 2014 - Fruit growers who experienced serious crop losses due to extreme weather conditions in 2012 but did not have crop insurance can now apply for government assistance under a provision of the 2014 Farm Bill.

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“Family farms and businesses shouldn't have to go under because of a few days of bad weather,” Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow said in a news release announcing the start of the signup period. “That's why it was so crucial when writing the 2014 Farm Bill to make sure that growers of all crops have access to relief to keep their farms running.”

Stabenow, a Democrat, said that frosts and freezes in 2012 destroyed crops like cherries and applies in Michigan, her home state. Many fruit growers who did not have insurance struggled after the disasters.  Now, Stabenow said that farmers are able to continue operating their businesses with the relief efforts.

Eligible producers can apply for assistance beginning on Wednesday through their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. The aid is made available under new buy-up provisions in the USDA's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP).

According to the NAP fact sheet, the program covers the amount of loss greater than 50 percent of the expected production based on the approved yield and reported acreage. There is a $100,000 limit per crop year, per individual.

Stabenow said the 2014 Farm Bill also provides new crop insurance options for fruits and vegetables for the first time ever.

Producers should contact their local FSA for more information.

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