The Department of Agriculture has finalized a program to pay producers for lost product through a Quality Loss Adjustment Program announced Tuesday.

The program, created in a 2019 omnibus spending package, is designed to provide assistance “to producers who suffered eligible crop quality losses due to natural disasters occurring in 2018 and 2019,” USDA noted in a release. Signup will run through March 5.

“We have worked diligently over the past couple of years to roll out meaningful disaster assistance programs to help alleviate the substantial financial loss experienced by so many agricultural producers and are pleased to offer quality loss assistance as added relief,” Bill Northey, USDA’s undersecretary for farm production and conservation, said in a statement. “Many of the eligible producers have already received compensation for quantity losses.”

The program is available to crops eligible for federal crop insurance that suffered a loss due to a qualifying disaster event occurring in calendar years 2018 and 2019. Crops that were sold or fed to livestock may be eligible, but USDA says pre-harvest destruction or quality losses that happened after harvest due to deterioration in storage or that could have been mitigated will not be covered.

Payments will be based on formulas for the type of crop and loss documentation provided during the application process. USDA’s Farm Service Agency will calculate payments – capped at $125,000 per eligible year – based on the producer's own individual loss or based on a county average if the application lacks certain verifiable documentation.

USDA has full details of the program posted online.

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