Disaster aid deadline soon for rice, cotton, soybeans - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Disaster aid deadline soon for rice, cotton, soybeans, sweet potatoes

The following is a news release from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry:

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., reminded Louisiana producers they have until close of business on Thursday, Dec. 9, to apply for assistance for 2009 losses under the Crop Assistance Program (CAP).

Up to $550 million in disaster assistance will be issued to producers of rice, upland cotton, soybeans and sweet potatoes for eligible losses because of excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009.

"All Louisiana agricultural producers who were affected by 2009's wet weather should contact their local Farm Service Agency to see if they qualify for the program," Strain said.

Assistance is available to producers of eligible crops in Louisiana parishes that received a USDA Secretary of Agriculture disaster designation as a result of excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009.

Louisiana parishes included in the disaster declaration are Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Cameron, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, DeSoto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, LaSalle, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Orleans, Ouachita, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Red River, Richland, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Tensas, Vermilion, Vernon, Washington, Webster, West Baton Rouge and West Carroll.

A list of all eligible disaster counties for CAP is located at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov/.

Producers of eligible crops on farms in disaster parishes who certify to a 5 percent or greater crop loss in 2009 because of excessive moisture or related conditions may be eligible for compensation based on a predetermined payment rate multiplied by the planted and considered planted acres of the crop.

Per-acre payment rates will be prorated by FSA, if applicable, to keep expenditures within established program funding limits.

Producers initially receive 75 percent of their calculated CAP payment. After sign up is complete, producers may receive up to an additional 25 percent. The predetermined payment rates for eligible crops are:

Long grain rice – $31.93 per acre;

Medium or short grain rice – $52.46 per acre;

Upland Cotton – $17.70 per acre;

Soybeans – $15.62 per acre;

Sweet potatoes – $155.41 per acre.

The general eligibility provisions, payment limits and adjusted gross income limits that apply to other FSA programs apply to CAP. No person or legal entity (excluding a joint venture or general partnership), may receive, directly or indirectly, more than $100,000 in CAP benefits. Additionally, CAP payments will be treated as 2009 revenue when determining payments under Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program.

Strain said producers interested in signing up for CAP must do so at their local FSA office where their farm records are maintained before close of business Dec. 9, 2010.

For more information about USDA Farm Service Agency disaster assistance programs, visit your local FSA county office or http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov/.

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