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Assistance for producers affected by 2017 hurricanes in Louisiana

Staff Writer |
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said eligible agricultural producers affected by hurricanes in 2017 can now apply for assistance through the USDA to help recover and rebuild farming operations.

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Thirteen Louisiana parishes are included as designated disaster areas. Those parishes are: Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Catahoula, Grant, Natchitoches, Rapides, Red River, Sabine, St. Charles, and Vernon.

Crops, trees, bushes or vines outside of these identified parishes may be eligible if the producer provides documentation the loss was caused by a 2017 hurricane.

The program, which also includes wildfires, is known as the 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP) and was authorized by Congress earlier this year.

Each eligible producer requesting 2017 WHIP benefits will be subject to a payment limitation of either $125,000 or $900,000, depending upon their average adjusted gross income, which will be verified.

The payment limit is $125,000 if less than 75 percent of the person or legal entity’s average adjusted gross income is average adjusted gross farm income.

The payment limit is $900,000, if 75 percent or more of the average adjusted gross income of the person or legal entity is average adjusted gross farm income.

Both insured and uninsured producers are eligible to apply for 2017 WHIP.

However, all producers receiving 2017 WHIP payments will be required to purchase crop insurance for the next two available crop years to meet statutory requirements.

Producers who fail to purchase crop insurance for the next two applicable years will be required to pay back the 2017 WHIP payment.

To establish a record for a farm, a producer needs:

- Proof of identity: driver’s license and Social Security number/card;

- Copy of recorder deed, survey plat, rental, or lease agreement of the land. A producer does not have to own property to participate in FSA programs;

- Corporation, estate, or trust documents, if applicable

A producer will be asked to provide verifiable and reliable production records.

If a producer is unable to provide production records, USDA will calculate the yield based on the county average yield. A producer with this information on file does not need to provide the information again.

Sign up continues through November 16, 2018.


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