Deadline approaching for agriculture disaster prog. eligibility - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Deadline approaching for agriculture disaster program eligibility

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PINE BLUFF - July 15 is the deadline to certify spring-seeded crops for eligibility in disaster programs.

Both traditional crops such as corn, cotton, grain sorghum, soybeans and rice as well as commercial vegetables should be certified. This includes okra, cucumbers, watermelons, squash, southern peas and sweet potatoes.

Most row crop producers know to certify their crops, however, many fail to do so on time, according to Dr. Henry English, director of UAPB's Small Farm Program. Others who may have added commercial vegetables to their operations may not certify their vegetables thinking that vegetable crops do not need to be certified. But, they do, adds Dr. English.

Failure to certify makes participation in disaster programs nearly impossible, says Dr. English. Many Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs require that all cropland on a farm be certified to earn FSA benefits. In some cases, vegetable producers have gone to their local FSA offices to sign up for a disaster program only to learn that no record exists of their crop being planted. This is because farmers neglected to certify their crops, says Dr. English.

Some of the programs that require acreage reporting for participation include the Non-insured Assistance Program (NAP), Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP), Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Marketing Loan Program (MLP) and the Livestock Feed Program (LFP).

All crops planted by July 15 must be certified by that date, says Dr. English. But, if crops cannot be planted by July 15, FSA will consider them as "timely reported" if reported to FSA within 15 calendar days after the planting is completed. Timely certification verifies the acreage planted as well as any failed acreage and provides a history of crops planted.

Dr. English reminds producers to notify and file a notice of loss with their local FSA county office within 15 calendar days of damage or loss to NAP crops.