Farmers can apply for assistance

Published 7:55 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Local farmers now are able to apply for federal assistance for the losses of their 2009 crops, the local Farm Service Agency said Tuesday.

The Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments program opened for applications Monday for farmers who experienced crop losses because of natural disasters in 2009. Those who experienced losses in 2010 can apply later this year or early in 2012, said Melanie Lassiter, county executive director for Suffolk.

“For crop losses to farmers here in Suffolk, it’s going to be more due to excessive moisture we had in the fall,” Lassiter said.

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Heavy rains in the fall of 2009 most likely would have affected the quality of cotton, soybeans and peanuts, Lassiter said.

The program was revamped last year from the old system, which relied on production losses to determine if farmers were eligible. Now, eligibility is determined by revenue losses, Lassiter said.

Farmers are required to have carried crop insurance for the 2009 year to be eligible for the federal assistance, Lassiter said.

Those who qualify for assistance will receive funds direct deposited to their bank accounts, Lassiter said.

Farmers who believe they qualify should call Lassiter at 539-9265 to set up an appointment to fill out an application.

“I do have some farmers I know that are going to qualify,” she said.

Farmers whose major farming operation is in another locality should visit the Farm Service Agency in that locality, Lassiter said.

For more information on the program, visit