USDA's Farm Service Agency announced Friday, May 31, that higher levels of coverage will be offered through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, a popular safety net program. The 2018 Farm Bill also increased service fees and made other changes to the program, including service fee waivers for qualified military veterans interested in obtaining NAP coverage, a news release stated.

The crop disaster program deadlines for 2020 coverage:

• Sept. 1: rye, turf grass sod;

• Sept. 30: wild rice, strawberries;

• Nov. 20: cranberries, apples, blueberries;

• Dec. 1: honey

• Feb. 1: maple sap;

• March 15: vegetables, grain crops;

• May 1: ornamental and non-ornamental nursery.

NAP provides financial assistance to producers of commercial crops for which insurance coverage is not available in order to protect against natural disasters that result in lower yields or crop losses or prevent crop planting.

NAP Buy-Up Coverage Option is not available for crops intended for grazing. For all coverage levels, the new NAP service fee is the lesser of $325 per crop or $825 per producer per county, not to exceed a total of $1,950 for a producer with farming interests in multiple counties. These amounts reflect a $75 service fee increase for crop, county or multi-county coverage. The fee increases apply to obtaining NAP coverage on crops on or after April 8.

The 2018 Farm Bill NAP amendments specify qualified veteran farmers or ranchers are now eligible for a service fee waiver and premium reduction, if the NAP applicant meets certain eligibility criteria.

Beginning, limited resource and targeted underserved farmers or ranchers remain eligible for a waiver of NAP service fees and premium reduction when they file form CCC-860, "Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource and Beginning Farmer or Rancher Certification," a news release stated.

For NAP application, eligibility and related program information, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/nap or contact the Crow Wing/Cass/Aitkin/Itasca FSA office at 218-829-5965 extension 2 or visit the website.

Acreage report deadlines

In order to maintain program eligibility and benefits, producers must file timely acreage reports. Failure to file an acreage report by the crop acreage reporting deadline may result in ineligibility for future program benefits. FSA will not accept acreage reports provided more than a year after the acreage reporting deadline.

Producers are encouraged to file their acreage reports as soon as planting is completed. The following acreage reporting dates are applicable for Crow Wing, Cass, Aitkin and Itasca counties: July 15-spring seeding, beans, forage seeding, grass seed, all other crops. The following exceptions apply to the above acreage reporting dates:

• If the crop has not been planted by the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.

• If a producer acquires additional acreage after the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 30 calendar days after purchase or acquiring the lease. Appropriate documentation must be provided to the county office.

Contact the Crow Wing/Cass/Aitkin/Itasca counties FSA Office at 218-829-5965 extension 2 to schedule an appointment. To find your local FSA office visit

offices.usda.gov.

class='subhead'>File a notice of loss

FSA reminds producers to report prevented planting and failed acres in order to establish or retain FSA program eligibility for some programs.

Producers should report crop acreage they intended to plant, but due to natural disaster, were prevented from planting. Prevented planting acreage must be reported on form CCC-576, Notice of Loss, no later than 15 calendar days after the final planting date as established by FSA and Risk Management Agency.

The final planting dates are as follows:

• Aitkin County: Corn for grain is May 25; soybeans is June 10; oats and wheat are May 31.

• Cass and Crow Wing counties: Corn for grain is May 31; soybeans is June 10; oats and wheat are May 31.

If a producer is unable to report the prevented planting acreage within 15 calendar days following the final planting date, a late-filed report can be submitted. Late-filed reports will only be accepted if FSA conducts a farm visit to assess the eligible disaster condition that prevented the crop from being planted. A measurement service fee will be charged.

Additionally, producers with failed acres should also use form CCC-576, Notice of Loss, to report failed acres.

Producers of hand-harvested crops must notify FSA of damage or loss through the administrative county office within 72 hours of the date of damage or loss first becomes apparent. This notification can be provided by filing a CCC-576, email, fax or phone. Producers who notify the county office by any method other than by filing the CCC-576 are still required to file a CCC-576, Notice of Loss, within the required 15 calendar days.

For losses on crops covered by the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, producers must file a Notice of Loss within 15 days of the occurrence of the disaster or when losses become apparent. Producers must timely file a Notice of Loss for failed acres on all crops including grasses.