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June 16, 2010

From press release

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.–Orchardists and nursery tree growers can begin applying for benefits under the Tree Assistance Program announced by the USDA Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Scherrie Giamanco. Sign-up began May 10 at local Illinois Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices.

“This program helps our orchardists and nursery tree growers replant and get back on their feet after natural disasters,” said Giamanco.

The Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides help to orchardists and nursery tree growers who produce trees, bushes and vines for commercial purposes, to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes and vines damaged or destroyed by natural disasters. The 2008 Farm Bill expanded eligibility to include Christmas tree and nursery tree growers that were ineligible under prior legislation. Trees grown for pulp or timber or not grown for commercial purposes are not eligible.

To be eligible for TAP, producers must have suffered more than a 15 percent death loss as a result of 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 assistance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, or for 2008, planned a waiver of the risk management purchase requirement through the buy-in provision. Eligible losses must have occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2008, and before Oct. 1, 2011. July 6, 2010, is the final date to submit an application and supporting documentation for losses occurring from Jan. 1, 2010, through May 7, 2010; or calendar year 2008 and 2009. For losses occurring from May 8, 2010; or calendar year 2008 and 2009. For losses occurring from May 8, 2010, through Sept. 30, 2011, the application and supporting documentation must be submitted within 90 calendar days of the disaster event or date when the losses of trees, bushes or vines are apparent.

For more information about the new TAP program, contact your county FSA office or the Web site at http://www.fsa.usda.gov.

From the June 16-22, 2010 issue

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