Farmers who had crops damaged by drought or excessive moisture in 2018 or 2019 can start applying March 23 for disaster assistance authorized by Congress last year. 

Producers will be eligible for the drought assistance if any area of the county in which the loss occurred was rated D3 (extreme drought) or higher at some point during 2018 or 2019, USDA's Farm Service Agency said Friday.

Excess moisture losses in counties that had a disaster declaration are eligible for payments, as well as other places where a producer can document that a loss was due to a qualifying natural disaster. 

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Following a congressional directive, FSA also is distributing $285 million to sugar beet cooperatives to distribute to their members as compensation for losses from excess moisture. 

Congress, which provided USDA with $4.6 billion to cover 2018 and 2019 disasters under the program known as “WHIP+,” also authorized payments to farmers for quality losses, but FSA is still assessing how that program should be administered. 

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