DOBSON — The sign-up dates for the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program have been announced by the Surry County Farm Service Agency.
Agency Executive Director Cheryl Rierson said sign ups will begin Oct. 22 and end June 7, 2013. The SURE program authorizes assistance to Surry County farmers and producers who suffered crop losses by natural disasters that occured prior to Sept. 30, 2011.
“Any eligible producer who suffered losses during the 2011 crop year is encouraged to visit the Agency’s office in Dobson and learn more about how to apply,” said Rierson. She added that farm production losses due to disasters occurring after Sept. 30, 2011 are not eligible for disaster program coverage.
Rierson explained to be eligible for SURE, a Surry County farm or producer must have at least ten percent production loss on a crop of economic significance. Farmers of producers must also have an insurance policy or plan under the Federal Crop Insurance Act or the Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for all economically significant crops.
She said a farm or producer must also be physically located in a county declared a primary disaster county or contiguous county by the Secretary of Agriculture under a Secretarial Disaster Designation. Rierson said the most recent update of counties with this designation did not include Surry or Patrick counties.
Rierson said farms or producers may be eligible for assistance without the primary disaster designation if the actual production on the farm is less than 50 percent of the normal farm production due to a natural disaster such as drought. She added that the definition of farm for SURE purposes means all crop acreage in all counties that a producer planted or intended to be planted for harvest for a normal commercial sale or livestock feeding on the farm. This can include native and improved grassland intended for hay.
Another way producers may be eligible for assistance is if they are considered socially disadvantaged, a beginning farmer or rancher or a limited resource farmer. Those in areas without adequate access to information through media or other means may be considered socially disadvantaged. The designation of limited resource farmer refers to producers that do not have the revenue to purchase insurance for their crops.
Rierson said most local farmers are familiar with the assistance program, which is provided through the United States Department of Agriculture. She encouraged all interested farmers or producers to visit the Surry County FSA office at 220 Cooper Street in Dobson or persons may call 336-386-8751 for information.