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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 30, 1996


I am today directing the Secretary of Agriculture to take action to provide relief for producers suffering from drought. Specifically, small grain producers with federal crop insurance who have suffered major small grain and forage crop losses will be eligible for assistance under both the Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) as well as crop insurance.

Millions of acres of seeded small grain forage have been lost due to drought. Even though all acreage is recognized as grain, some producers intended more than one use from a single planting: forage for livestock and grain for harvest.

While crop insurance compensates for grain losses, it does not compensate for the forage or grazing values of those crops. To alleviate the extreme hardships the drought caused, NAP provisions are being extended to cover small grain forage and grazing losses, even though the final intended use is grain. This action will provide an estimated $70 million in assistance, primarily to producers in Texas and Oklahoma, many of whom are facing the worst drought in 100 years.

Secretary Glickman made this recommendation to me after visiting the Southern Plains region last month, and having extensive discussions with Congressman de la Garza, Stenholm, Richardson, Skeen and Senator Bingaman. Their hard work helped us to recognize that if we do not make full use of the tools we have, a lot of farmers may not be in business by the time we finally see adequate rain.

USDA's NAP program provides crop loss protection for growers of many crops for which federal crop insurance is not available. Funding for NAP payments is assured, and state offices of USDA's Farm Service Agency have flexibility to define eligible areas. To be eligible, producers must have a previously-established record at their local Farm Service Agency office of both grazing and cropping their small grain acreage.