FSA programs explained: Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program
February 7, 2011
The 2008 Farm Bill introduced the requirement of the purchase of at least a catastrophic level of insurance coverage in order to be eligible for certain disaster programs administered by the Farm Service Agency. This requirement is known as the Risk Management Purchase Requirement (RMPR). The requirement varies by program and if you include disaster programs as part of your risk management, you should speak with your local Farm Service Agency service center if you choose not to insure any crops, including grazing crops, in order to determine how it will affect your eligibility for certain disaster programs.
If you have determined that you need to insure your crops, but your crop insurance does not currently offer a policy to cover your crops, you may be eligible to cover your crops through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). NAP is a catastrophic level of coverage (50 percent coverage level and 55 percent price election) that provides coverage for crops where there is currently a gap in coverage. NAP is also available if crop insurance does not offer a catastrophic level of coverage.
Producers wanting to participate in NAP must pay a service fee equal to the lesser of $250 per crop or $750 per producer, not to exceed $1,875 per producer with farming interests in multiple counties. Producers that qualify as socially disadvantaged are eligible to have their service fees waived. NAP covers each crop selected for all farms administered in the county. If a producer has an interest in a farm administered in another county, NAP will need to be purchased in that county. The deadline to purchase NAP coverage varies by state. The deadline to purchase coverage for spring seeded crops and perennials in South Dakota is March 15.
Once you have paid your service fee for NAP coverage, you are required to certify the number of acres covered by your NAP policy no later than the crop reporting deadline for your state. In South Dakota, the crop reporting deadline is July 15.
If you are covering a crop intended to be mechanically harvested, you must establish and maintain a yield. This may be accomplished by providing past years production records. If no records of production exist, you may receive a percentage of the county average. Once you have a yield established it is very important to maintain your yield because the level by which you become eligible for compensation is directly related to your yield.
Your yield is based off of production records submitted to the FSA office and is calculated utilizing the total number of acres certified on your crop report. If you decide to graze your forage crop instead of mechanically harvesting, you should request an appraisal on the acres. This is recommended even if you choose to graze only a portion of your hay fields. Your yield will not be prorated based upon the number of acres actually harvested, but will be based off the number of acres certified as intended for forage. If you certify your acres as forage, but instead graze your acres and do not obtain an appraisal, your yield could take a significant reduction. You may receive a zero for production for the year. I cannot stress the importance of an appraisal enough. You will feel the effects of not obtaining an appraisal when you file an application for payment. You may find yourself with little to no compensation for your losses.
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Finally, if you have NAP coverage and suffer a production loss, you must file a Notice of Loss within 15 days of the loss becoming apparent.
Remember, if you wish to participate in NAP, you must pay the service fee before the sales closing date, establish your yield or turn in your production, and timely file your Notice of Loss.
james neill is the county executive director for the farm service agency in meade county, south dakota and can be contacted at email@example.com. questions about the noninsured crop disaster assistance program or any other program administered by the farm service agency should be directed to your local farm service agency service center.