September Farm Bill Signups Near

September Farm Bill Signups Near

September 4, 2008

Agriculture Director Greg Ibach is encouraging Nebraska's farmers and ranchers to seek information from their local federal Farm Service Agency (FSA) office regarding 2008 Farm Bill programs that might affect them. Ibach said several program signup deadlines are nearing, so it's important that individuals do not delay a review of their options under the new act.

"The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 is very complex, so it's critical that agricultural producers visit with their FSA representatives as soon as possible," he said. "That includes ranchers, who may not be accustomed to visiting with FSA staff on a regular basis."

Crop producers are facing a signup deadline of Tuesday, September 30, associated with the 2008 direct and countercyclical programs of the Farm Bill. Those individuals, Ibach said, already should have received information from FSA and should be scheduled to stop in at their area FSA office.

Ibach said a major change in the 2008 Farm Bill was the inclusion of permanent disaster programs, which in past years have been authorized by the U.S. Congress on an as needed basis. Several programs are available, including separate ones for crop production and/or crop quality losses, as well as grazing losses for eligible livestock due to drought. As a requirement to participate in these programs, farmers and ranchers must obtain crop insurance coverage or coverage under FSA's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for all of their crops and grazing lands.

"Nebraska producers have faced several years of drought in the past decade where federal disaster assistance was critical," Ibach said. "I just want our farmers and ranchers to be aware that now is the time to ask questions for the 2009 season. For some of these programs, FSA is conducting signup even though the operational details are still being worked out."

Producers who did not have insurance coverage for the current season, but think they may need disaster program assistance for 2008 losses, must contact FSA before September 16. For the 2009 season, crop insurance signup deadlines are nearing for fall-seeded crops, such as winter wheat, and for alfalfa and forage in counties that have insurance options for those crops.

Ibach said farmers and ranchers with grazing lands are encouraged to seek information from county FSA offices regarding insurance signup requirements for pasture, range and other forage sources. The signup deadline for NAP, available through FSA, for grazing and perennial forages is December 1, 2008. Producers also should check with their local crop insurance agent regarding a new federal insurance pilot program called Pasture, Rangeland and Forage (PRF) Program.

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