Donovan Todd III, state executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, is encouraging farmers to apply for the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

The program provides financial assistance to producers of noninsurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory or prevented plantings occur due to natural disasters.

Specialty crops such as fruits and vegetables, floriculture and nursery or livestock forage are often not covered by private insurance when lost due to weather damage.

The program offers catastrophic coverage, which pays 55 percent of the average market price. It also covers aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup and organic and energy crops. Higher levels of coverage are available for losses up to 65 percent of production and 100 percent of the average market price.

Basic coverage fees cost $250 per crop or $750 per producer per administrative county, whichever is less. No producer pays more than $1,875. For beginning, traditionally underserved, or limited-resource producers, the catastrophic coverage is free. Premiums for higher levels of protection are discounted by 50 percent.

For spring planted crops in Maine, the deadline to apply is March 15.


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