Disaster Programs a Must for Southeast Specialty Crop Producers

Jim Rogers Specialty Crops, USDA, Weather

By Clint Thompson
Specialty Crop Producers

Specialty crop producers are always at risk for natural disasters in the Southeast. Especially in the late summer and early fall when conditions are ripe for a potential hurricane or severe thunderstorm, growers need to be prepared.

Adam Rabinowitz

Adam Rabinowitz, Alabama Extension economist, discusses the importance of government-assistance programs.

“I think in particular in this area we experience a lot of disasters and the loss that comes with that means recovery. FSA (Farm Service Agency) administers a lot of disaster programs including emergency loans for those that experience disasters,” Rabinowitz said. “While RMA (Risk Management Agency) has your typical crop insurance programs, you have your non-insured crop disaster assistance programs (NAP) that’s available through FSA. That provides opportunities for coverage for a lot of crops, where very little or in some cases no costs, for at the very least catastrophic coverage for fruit and vegetable producers.”

Example Programs:

The Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) pays covered producers of covered non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters. Eligible producers must have purchased NAP coverage for the current crop year. Learn more about NAP.

The Emergency Loan Program provides loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, other natural disasters, or quarantine by animal quarantine laws or imposed by the Secretary under the Plant Protection Act.

The Disaster Set-Aside Program provides producers who have existing direct loans with FSA who are unable to make the scheduled payments to move up to one full year’s payment to the end of the loan. Assistance is available in counties, or contiguous counties, who have been designated as emergencies by the President, Secretary or FSA Administrator.

“For FSA, it starts with getting into the local FSA office, getting that farm number, filing the crop acreage reports. When you have all of that information on file there for FSA, that opens up the door there to access to those programs that maybe currently available or may become available in the future,” Rabinowitz said.

Disaster Programs