Fruit growers: if the 2010 freezes caused significant loss, you may qualify for disaster payments

Fruit growers with any type of crop insurance coverage could collect disaster payments due to 2010 spring freezes.

Growers in many Michigan counties suffered extensive, and sometimes total, crop loss during the spring of 2010 due to freezing temperatures that killed the fruit blossoms. The 2008 Farm Bill has built-in disaster aid called the supplemental revenue Program (SURE) that may provide disaster payments in those situations. SURE covers all crops, including fruits and vegetables, and makes payments to eligible producers that incurred crop production or crop-quality losses. This provides an economic safety net for losses caused by natural disasters such as freezes, hail, winds and other weather related damage.

The Farm Service Agency has declared all Michigan counties eligible for 2010 crop losses. To qualify, producers must have had some type of crop insurance coverage for all crops. SURE is disaster coverage if you purchase Catastrophic (CAT) insurance, NAP (Noninsured Assistance Program) or other crop insurance. SURE is bonus coverage and provides 15% additional coverage for those that already have some type of crop insurance.

The SURE payment is calculated using a formula that includes the SURE revenue guarantee, the SURE revenue cap and the actual revenue received from crop sales, crop insurance indemnities and direct payments for program crops such as corn, wheat and soybeans. The formula looks at revenue from all sources and all crops to determine if total farm revenue was below the SURE guarantee.

The SURE payment = SURE guarantee less all revenue received x 60%.

There is no fee to be covered under SURE, other than the fee for crop insurance or NAP insurance. Stay in contact with the Farm Service Agency in your county to determine when sign-up for 2010 crop losses begin. The deadline for sign-up for 2009 losses is July 29, 2011, so sign-up for 2010 crop losses may not begin until early 2012. 

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