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Disaster calculator available to farmers

WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack yesterday said the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) now has a web-based 2008 crop program payment calculator to help producers calculate the financial benefits they may receive under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program. The calculator was designed by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) to give producers a tool to help them better understand and participate in this new crop disaster program.

The calculator collects information about farming operations, including planted acreage, actual production, insurance coverage data and other federal disaster payments. This information is used to calculate an estimated payment for crop losses.

The calculator provides an estimated 2008 program payment to help producers better understand what they may qualify for under SURE, but it does not constitute an application for the program. The calculator is available on the FSA web site at www.fsa.usda.gov/sure. For more information or to apply for SURE, producers should visit their local FSA county office.

SURE provides crop disaster assistance payments to eligible producers on farms that have incurred crop production or crop quality losses. The program takes into consideration crop losses on all crops grown by a producer nationwide. SURE provides assistance in an amount equal to 60 percent of the difference between the SURE farm guarantee and total farm revenue. The farm guarantee is based on the amount of crop insurance and Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage on the farm. Total farm revenue takes into account the actual value of production on the farm as well as insurance indemnities and certain farm program payments.

To be eligible for SURE, producers must have suffered at least a 10 percent production loss on a crop of economic significance. In addition, producers must meet the risk management purchase requirement by either obtaining a policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act or NAP coverage, for all economically significant crops. For 2008 crops, producers had the opportunity to obtain a waiver of the risk management purchase requirement through a buy-in provision. Producers considered socially disadvantaged, a beginning farmer or rancher, or a limited resource farmer may be eligible for SURE without a policy or plan of insurance or NAP coverage.

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