Deadline approaching for agriculture disaster program eligibility

      PINE BLUFF - July 15 is the deadline to certify spring-seeded crops for eligibility in disaster programs.

      Bothtraditional crops such as corn, cotton, grain sorghum, soybeans and rice aswell as commercial vegetables should be certified. This includes okra,cucumbers, watermelons, squash, southern peas and sweet potatoes.

      Mostrow crop producers know to certify their crops, however, many fail to do so ontime, according to Dr. Henry English, director of UAPB's Small Farm Program. Others who may have added commercial vegetables totheir operations may not certify their vegetables thinking that vegetable cropsdo not need to be certified. But, they do, adds Dr. English.

      Failureto certify makes participation in disaster programs nearly impossible, says Dr.English. Many Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs require that all cropland on afarm be certified to earn FSA benefits. In some cases, vegetable producers havegone to their local FSA offices to sign up for a disaster program only to learnthat no record exists of their crop being planted. This is because farmersneglected to certify their crops, says Dr. English.

      Someof the programs that require acreage reporting for participation include theNon-insured Assistance Program (NAP), Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program(SURE), Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP), Conservation Reserve Program(CRP), Marketing Loan Program (MLP) and the Livestock Feed Program (LFP).

      Allcrops planted by July 15 must be certified by that date, says Dr. English. But,if crops cannot be planted by July 15, FSA will consider them as "timelyreported" if reported to FSA within 15 calendar days after the planting iscompleted. Timely certification verifies the acreage planted as well as anyfailed acreage and provides a history of crops planted.

      Dr.English reminds producers to notify and file a notice of loss with their localFSA county office within 15 calendar days of damage or loss to NAP crops.