by: Mary Griffith, Extension Educator, ANR & Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) began accepting applications this week for the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) Program. QLA will assist producers whose eligible crops suffered quality losses due to qualifying drought, excessive moisture, flooding, hurricanes, snowstorms, or tornadoes occurring in calendar years 2018 and/or 2019. Applications are being accepted until March 5, 2021.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for payments, producers must:
- Be entitled to an ownership share and be at-risk in the agricultural production and marketing of crops on the farm; and either
- Have an average federal tax adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $900,000 for tax years 2018 and 2019; or
- Derive at least 75 percent of their AGI from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities;
- Have control of the acreage on which the crop was grown at the time of the disaster;
- Comply with the provisions of the “Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation” regulations, often called the conservation compliance provisions;
- Not have a controlled substance violation; and
- Be a citizen of the United States or a resident alien.
Crops that can be covered by federal crop insurance or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) are generally considered eligible for this program. To be eligible for the program, a crop must have:
- Suffered a quality loss due to a qualifying disaster event and
- Had a five percent-or-greater quality discount due to the qualifying disaster event.
Eligible crops may have been sold, fed on-farm to livestock, or may be in storage at the time of application.
Crops that were destroyed before harvest are not eligible for QLA. Crops that experienced loss after harvest, due to deterioration in storage or that could have been mitigated, are not eligible for QLA. Finally, crops whose losses have already been compensated by Federal crop insurance, NAP or the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity – Plus (Whip+) program are not eligible.
The following crops are also ineligible:
- Grazed crops
- Maple sap
- Mushrooms, ginseng root
- Ornamental nursery
- Sea grass and sea oats
- Christmas trees, and
- Turfgrass sod.
Applying for the QLA Program
To apply, participants must file one application (FSA898) that includes all eligible crops that suffered a quality loss. Losses sustained in more than one crop year require a separate application for each crop year. When applying, producers must provide verifiable documentation to support claims of quality loss or nutrient loss, in the case of forage crops.
FSA calculates QLA payments using formulas for the type of crop (forage or non-forage) and the loss documentation submitted. Payments are based on the producer’s own individual loss or based on the county’s average loss.
For crops that have been sold, grading must have been completed within 30 days of harvest, and for forage crops, a laboratory analysis must have been completed within 30 days of harvest.
Some acceptable forms of documentation include:
- Sales receipts from buyers
- Settlement sheets
- Truck or warehouse scale tickets
- Written sales contracts
- Similar records that represent actual and specific quality loss information
- Forage tests for nutritional values
All producers receiving QLA payments are required to purchase crop insurance or NAP coverage for the next two available crop years at the 60% coverage level or higher. If eligible, QLA participants may meet the insurance purchase requirement by purchasing Whole-Farm Revenue Protection coverage offered through USDA’s Risk Management Agency.
Where to Apply
If you are interested in applying for the QLA Program, please call your local Farm Service Agency office. USDA Service Centers are open for business, but no walk-in appointments are allowed, so remember to call ahead to schedule an appointment.
FSA set up a call center in order to simplify how serving customers across the nation. This call center is available for producers who would like additional one-on-one support with the QLA application process. Please call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. Additional information about the program is available here: https://www.farmers.gov/quality-loss.