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- USDA Lowers 2012 Yield Estimates, Announces Disaster Assistance
- <strong>USDA Announces Disaster Assistance</strong>
On July 11, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced some measures to assist producers suffering from the impacts of drought and other natural disasters. Over 1,000 counties in 26 states were designated as primary disaster counties. There were no designated counties in Minnesota or Iowa, but that could likely change as the drought continues to worsen. Counties in the designated areas and adjoining counties are eligible for low interest FSA disaster loans, at an interest rate of 2.25%, which was reduced from a previous level of 3.75%. It also opens up CRP land in the designated counties for haying and grazing, with a 10% reduction in annual CRP rental rates, which was lowered from a previous reduction of 25% in CRP rental rates.
Some U.S. Senators have also called for funding of the Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) Program for the 2012 crop year. The SURE program, also called the “permanent disaster program,” was implemented as part of the 2008 Farm Bill to cover crop and livestock losses, not covered by crop insurance and other federal programs. Funding for the SURE program ended with the 2011 crop year, and there are no provisions in the Farm Bill proposals passed by the U.S. Senate or the U.S. House Ag Committee to restore SURE funding for 2012. The SURE program could offer up to a maximum of $100,000 for each eligible producer in designated disaster counties.
Editor’s note: Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at email@example.com.