The $100 per non-insured crop waiver for growers to become eligible for disaster payments under the new farm bill does not retroactively insure the heretofore uninsured crop.

In a recent Western Farm Press article and Web site posting, it was incorrectly stated that the buy-in made the previously uninsured crop eligible for insurance payments if there was a loss. It is not eligible for crop insurance payments.

Russ Friend, county executive director of the Fresno County Farm Service Agency says the $100 is an “administrative fee” to be paid to USDA/FSA for the right to become eligible for disaster relief on 2008 crops and livestock.

This one-time fee was set up because the farm bill was passed after the crop insurance sign-up deadline.

If a grower signed up for crop insurance on a crop before the deadline, that crop is covered by insurance against losses.

Growers who do not already have full coverage for all crops — now a requirement to collect any disaster relief — can become eligible by signing up by Sept. 16 and paying the $100 per uninsured crop waiver.

Federal and state officials held news conferences earlier this month to announce the deadline for growers to sign up in light of this year’s severe California drought.

The vast majority of California’s 58 counties are eligible for the disaster relief.

So far USDA/FSA has declared that the normal disasters like hail, frost and other natural disasters are eligible for relief under the 2008 Farm Bill.

However, Friend said FSA has not ruled on whether the lack of water due to pumping constraints to protect fish will come under the disaster declarations.