Crop Disaster Program Checklist Makes Sign-up Process Easier

Friday,June 20, 2003                               ByShawn Wade

      Making the process aseasy as possible is the goal of Texas Farm Service Agency personnel responsiblefor carrying out provisions of the 2001-2002 Crop Disaster Program.

      For producers, the bestadvice is to enter the process with the best data they can gather plus a littlepatience and understanding for the folks that are trying to get the programdelivered.

      One of the hardestparts of the puzzle to put together is the tremendous amount of data requiredfrom both FSA and the producer.

      While FSA offices willhave access to a full range of data on the 2001 and 2002 crops from sourcessuch as the Risk Management Agency and regional cooperatives, there are stilldata gaps that can cause consternation and extra work unless steps are taken tohead off potential problems.

      One of the best waysfor producers to avoid problems is to do your homework beforehand. Pullingtogether copies of the type of information needed for the sign-up will providea quick double-check of the data FSA receives via other entities, and can alsobe used to fill in the missing pieces that could hold-up the process.

      Taking the followingsteps should make everything move a little quicker.

1.  Identify specific production units thatmeet the minimum eligibility requirement of having a 35% or greater yield loss.

      Due to the large numberof applications that are expected, it will be difficult for FSA personnel torun data on every single unit to determine basic eligibility for the Crop Lossportion of the Disaster program. Knowing which units to apply for beforehand isthe best way to keep the process from getting side-tracked.

      A separate Quality Lossprogram is available on a bale by bale basis for producers who incurredquality, but not yield, losses in 2001 and 2002. Producers wanting to apply forthe quality loss portion of the program should provide a complete bale by balelisting of their production, preferably in an acceptable electronic format(county FSA offices will be the best source of information on what formats theycan handle) so that each bale can be assigned an appropriate quality losslevel.

2.  Identify the appropriate FSA Farm Numberfor each qualifying unit.

      One of the most timeintensive areas of the sign-up process is making sure each unit qualifying fordisaster assistance is associated with an appropriate FSA Farm Serial Number.By providing a Summary of Insurance Coverage sheet or by marking down whichcrop insurance unit goes with which FSA Farm Serial Number will keep theprocess going smoothly and ensure that each unit is matched with the correctFSN.

3.  A recap sheet with the average quality ofthe bales produced on the unit and a listing of each baleÕs loan value.

      One of the provisionsof the new bill that can increase disaster benefit payments is the ability tolook at quality losses in two different ways. The first is to compare theoverall quality of any cotton produced on a disaster unit against the Countyaverage quality to compute a yield factor. This factor can increase theeligible payment pounds for the unit. The second is a bale by bale Quality LossProgram that will require a complete listing of all bales produced and theaverage loan value for each bale.

      One other importantpiece of information to remember about the new program is that anyone receivingbenefits will be required to carry Federal Crop Insurance in both 2004 and2005. CDP Participants who fail to fail to comply with this provision could haveto refund the full amount of CDP assistance they received plus interest. Thatmakes it especially important that operators with a Power of Attorney thatsign-up their landlord for CDP assistance make sure they know about theinsurance requirement.


2003 NCC Leadership Program

      Applications will be taken untilJuly 1 for U.S. cotton industry members seeking selection to the 2003-04 CottonLeadership Class.

      The 10-member leadership class iscomprised of four producers and one participant from each of the other sixindustry segments. The 2003-04 class is to be chosen in July and anyoneinterested in applying can visit the Cotton Leadership ProgramÕs new web siteat to review the program curriculum, eligibility requirementsand download an application. After July 1, industry members can submitapplications for the 2004-05 class

      The NCCÕs Cotton Leadership Programseeks to identify potential industry leaders and provide them developmentaltraining through this class. During five sessions of activity across the CottonBelt, participants visit with industry leaders and observe production,processing and research. They meet with lawmakers and government agencyrepresentatives during a visit to Washington, DC, and attend the NCCÕs annualmeeting and its mid-year board of directors meeting.

      The program, now in its 20th year,is supported by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from DuPont Crop Protectionand is the FoundationÕs longest running special project.