USDA will begin signup for the long-awaited Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments program (SURE) at county Farm Service Agency offices Jan. 4.

USDA officials offered no explanation for why it took nearly 18 months for them to implement the new permanent disaster program, which was authorized in the 2008 Food, Conservation and Energy Act.

“This program is an important component of the farm safety net and will provide financial assistance to producers who have suffered crop losses due to natural disasters,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Producers will receive payments beginning in January, in time to help them with planning for next year’s crop.”

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.

Under the program rules, SURE provides assistance in an amount equal to 60% of the difference between the SURE farm guarantee and total farm revenue. The farm guarantee is based on the amount of crop insurance and Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage on the farm.

To be eligible for SURE, producers must have suffered at least 10% production losses on crops 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. Socially disadvantaged, beginning or limited resource farmers may be eligible for SURE without a policy or plan of insurance or NAP coverage. An eligible producer must also have a farming interest physically located in a county declared a primary disaster county or contiguous county by USDA.

For additional eligibility rules and information on the program, visit your local FSA county office or go to http://www.fsa.usda.gov.

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