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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Deadlines Looming for Farmers Interested in Farm Bill Disaster Program

August 25, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio farmers who normally don't insure small acreage crops, such as wheat, may want the protection, especially if they are considering participating in a new 2008 Farm Bill production disaster program.


The new Supplemental Revenue Assistance program, or SURE, is designed to help protect against crop losses resulting from adverse weather, such as flooding or drought. To qualify, however, a farmer must buy insurance for all insurable crops grown on the farm and pay the Noninsured Crop Assistance Program (NAP) fee for all noninsurable crops and practices on the farm. NAP includes hay and pasture.

The deadline for purchasing wheat insurance for 2009 is looming (Sept. 30) and farmers who don't normally insure their wheat have a decision to make if they want to qualify for SURE for crops planted during the 2008-2009 crop year, said Carl Zulauf, an Ohio State University agricultural economist with the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics.

"A lot of Ohio farmers grow some wheat, but they normally don't purchase insurance for it because it's a small acreage crop. However, if you buy insurance for corn and soybeans, but not for wheat, and you have a bad year for corn and soybeans, you are ineligible to receive SURE payments if you didn't purchase insurance for wheat," said Zulauf, who also holds an Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center appointment. "We want farmers to be aware of SURE, that it's a new program with a new set of conditions, and that they have a decision to make regarding crop insurance and NAP if they want to be eligible for SURE in the event of a weather-related disaster."

Farmers also have a buy-in opportunity to become eligible for SURE for the current 2007-2008 crop year if they did not buy crop insurance or NAP for crops on the farm. Farmers should call their local Farm Service Agency office if they want more information about the buy-in opportunity.

Here's what farmers need to know about SURE:

• SURE is a whole-farm program, meaning it encompasses the entire farming operation -- all acres in all counties on the farm. Thus, in order to qualify, a farmer must have purchased crop insurance and NAP for all crops grown on the farm.

• Eligibility for a payment from SURE also requires that a farm be in a county declared a disaster area or contiguous to such county, or the farm has experienced a 50 percent reduction in production due to adverse weather.

• With SURE, eligible farms increase their coverage by 15 percent for crops with insurance and by 20 percent for crops with NAP. There is a 90 percent coverage cap.

• SURE has no fee. The financial requirement is the purchase of crop insurance and NAP.

Zulauf said that details of the SURE program might seem a bit complex, especially since it is a new program. Additionally, program details will depend on how the rules for SURE are written. To learn more about the SURE provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill, refer to the document written by Zulauf: Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance in Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 at

"While weather-related disasters historically are not as common in Ohio as in other parts of the country, farmers should ask themselves whether a weather disaster could potentially put the farm in jeopardy of bankruptcy? Is the potential for SURE to help you get through a natural disaster worth the additional cost to bring all of your crops under insurance and NAP? These are some things that farmers need to think about," said Zulauf.


Candace Pollock
Carl Zulauf