Wednesday November 2, 2011

BRATTLEBORO -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency is reminding Windham County residents affected by Tropical Storm Irene the deadline to purchase insurance for perennial crops is approaching.

In a release from the county agency director Julie Jacque, the last day to purchase insurance for perennial crops, such as mixed hay, alfalfa, strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb and asparagus, is Nov. 20.

The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) provides low-cost insurance coverage for crops where commercial crop insurance is unavailable. The program can cover some of the costs of crop losses due to low production yields, crop failure or prevented planting related to natural weather events or disasters.

"Windham County producers suffered major crop damage both from Tropical Storm Irene and last year's drought," said Jacque in a statement. "A program like NAP can mitigate some of these production losses, and also ensure that farmers are eligible for other USDA disaster assistance programs that require insurance for participation."

The cost of NAP coverage is $250 per crop with a maximum of $750 per producer, or $1,875 for multi-county producers. Those with limited financial resources may have the costs waived.

Producers should note that certain commercial crops, such as apples and corn, have the same purchase deadlines but are insured privately through a crop insurance agent. Producers should call the Windham County FSA office at 802-254-9766 ex.


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2 for more information.

The agency is holding an agricultural resource workshop and open house today beginning at 9 a.m. at the Marlboro College Graduate Center. The workshop allows producers the opportunity to learn more about programs offered by USDA, the University of Vermont Extension and the Windham County Conservation District.

Additionally, deadlines for other NAP insurance applicants are scheduled for 2012.

Coverage for maple sap and honey is set for Jan. 1, 2012 and annual crops (lettuce, kale, tomatoes, onions and others) is March 15, 2012.