New provisions to the farm bill addressed

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Over the past several weeks, Bourbon County farmers and ranchers have been completing the annual task of reporting planted crops, other land uses, and CRP acres to our office in order to gain program and payment eligibility for the year. This year, we have also been assisting producers enrolling in the 2008 Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) during this time.

One addition to the 2008 farm program offerings that we also mentioned during this recent visit to our office was the opportunity to qualify for the Supplemental Disaster Assistance Programs included in the most recent farm bill legislation. Those who visited the county office recently may or may not recall this reference, but our staff was providing essentially all the information we knew about this coverage at the time.

Additional information is gradually becoming available, so some informational sessions have been scheduled to give interested producers a chance to come get an orientation into what these new disaster programs will offer. The legislation set a deadline date to "buy-in" for 2008 at 90 days after the legislation was passed -- i.e. September 16, 2008 -- so these sessions have been set prior to that date on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

The Consolidated Rural Water District No. 2 office (717 215th St.; 2 miles south of Evergreen Cemetery on 215th St) will be the site of the earlier session set to begin at 2 p.m. That evening, a second session will begin at 7 p.m., in the Commons area at Uniontown High School.

These sessions should not last over one hour, and will focus on considerations for the 2008 buy-in. However, information valuable in preparing to participate in 2009 will also be discussed.

There are 5 supplemental programs included in the legislation:

* Livestock Forage Disaster Program (grazing losses);

* Livestock Indemnity Program (death losses due to a natural disaster);

* Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (revenue based supplemental coverage for mechanically harvested crops);

* Tree Assistance Program; and

* Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish.

Each of these programs is intended to supplement existing coverage for losses falling into the applicable category. So, either multi-peril crop insurance coverage is required to be purchased, or the coverage offered for non-insured crops through our agency's Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). Crop insurance or NAP buy-in will cost $100 per crop this year for those not already possessing this coverage. This fee does not secure this coverage, but permits gaining eligibility this year for the other supplemental coverages.

Anyone interested should plan to attend one of the announced sessions on September 9, 2008. More "training" will come through the winter and spring as more of the details of the new farm bill are implemented.


An open house in honor of retiring District Conservationist Bill Schoenberger has been announced for 1 to 3 p.m., on Wednesday, Sept. 3, at the USDA Service Center in Fort Scott.

Bill has ably served Bourbon County farmers and ranchers through the Natural Resources Conservation Service since coming here in the fall of 1979. All are invited to stop by to share a glass of punch with Bill and to offer best wishes as he shifts gears from full-time USDA employment to other interests!