U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced today that nurseries, Christmas tree growers and orchardists can now apply for benefits under the Tree Assistance Program, which was part of the 2008 Farm Bill. The program, administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency, exists to help farmers who lost trees to natural disasters after Jan. 1, 2008, which in Oregon could include the big snow and ice storm of late 2008/early 2009, as well as the cold snap that happened this past December. Additional requirements:
To be eligible for TAP, producers must have suffered more than a 15 percent death loss due to the natural disaster after adjustment for normal mortality. TAP is a cost-reimbursement program, with payments covering up to 70 percent of replant costs and 50 percent of pruning, removal and other salvaging costs for replacing or salvaging damaged trees. Producers can receive assistance for up to 500 acres of trees, bushes or vines. Producers must also have purchased a policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, or for 2008, obtained a waiver of the risk management purchase requirement through the buy-in provision.
If the damages in question occurred in 2008 or 2009, you have until July 6, 2010 to get your application in. Likewise, if the damages happened this year prior to May 7, you have until July 6. Contact your nearest FSA office for the details. There’s more information on this fact sheet.