David Schaad, acting executive director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) in California, clarified how double-cropping practices can affect a farmer's eligibility for one of FSA’s primary disaster assistance programs. FSA is in the implementation phase for many of the new 2008 farm bill programs. The Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program is a new disaster recovery program available to a variety of growers through FSA office in California.

"As producers look at crop options, FSA would like to clarify some issues related to double-cropping," said Schaad. "Double-cropping is the practice of planting and harvesting two specific crops on the same acreage in the same crop year under normal growing conditions."

FSA considers a practice as double-cropping if either of the following applies:

• the producer has crop insurance coverage on the subsequent crop and crop insurance determines it is an acceptable double-crop practice, or

• the producer does not have crop insurance coverage on the subsequent crop, but the practice meets the definition of double-cropping in the county.

If the double-cropping practice is considered acceptable and the producer has crop insurance coverage or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance (NAP) coverage on the subsequent crop, the subsequent crop is eligible for SURE benefits. For subsequent crops that are not covered by crop insurance or NAP, then the producer must request equitable relief to be eligible for SURE.

In cases where a producer attempted to obtain crop insurance on a subsequent crop in a double-cropped county or region and was unable to obtain crop insurance, those producers are not required to meet the risk management purchase requirement unless the subsequent crop was eligible for NAP.

Additional information about SURE and its relationship to double cropping can be found by calling or visiting your nearest FSA County Office or Service Center. To find a list of offices, visit www.fsa.usda.gov.