Today, Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) is beginning sign-ups for 2012 crop losses that would have been covered under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program. Specialty crops in Northern Michigan were devastated by the poor weather in 2012 and this program will aid these farmers and ranchers in their recovery.
"From small family owned farms to the businesses that sell tractors and supplies, agriculture is an important and growing industry in Northern Michigan that means jobs. You can grow almost anything in Michigan, from cherries to pickling cucumbers and sugar beets. Michigan farmers had a rough year in 2012 and the SURE Program will help in the recovery from the devastation of the crop losses. Counties across Northern Michigan have received SURE primary disaster declarations, which will ensure that farmers will receive the disaster relief they have applied for. Cherries, apples, and asparagus crops suffered significant losses at the time and it is important that we help out those who work so hard to provide quality produce to our district," said Dr. Benishek, Michigan's only member of the House Committee on Agriculture.
The SURE Program was created in the 2008 Farm Bill to provide assistance to farmers and ranchers suffering crop losses due to natural disasters. To be eligible for SURE, a farmer must have acquired an insurance policy or plan for all crops through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, as well as have obtained Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage, from the Farm Service Agency, if offered.
"I've been out there listening to our farmers and they've been telling me that relief for crop loss is crucial to producers in Northern Michigan. The 2014 Farm Bill is a win for our district and our economy and it will ensure that aid is available to those who need it most. Farmers play an important role in Northern Michigan and the SURE Program is necessary in helping the many Northern Michigan farmers who were impacted by these natural disasters," added Dr. Benishek.
Dr. Benishek worked with his colleagues to secure disaster funding for producers in the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill was created by the House-Senate Farm Bill Conference and contains protections for specialty fruit crops--including cherries, apples, blueberries and asparagus--which are critical for Michigan's First District. Additionally, the legislation includes language that fixes the gap in funding for payments for crops losses.
To find out if you are eligible, click here. Farmers and ranchers must sign up before the Aug. 29, 2014 deadline. To apply for assistance, farmers are encouraged to contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency office. More information can be found on the Farm Service Agency website or by contacting Dr. Benishek's office at 202-225-4735.