With the hurricane season entering its peak period, Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson is reminding agricultural producers they must have crop insurance or non-insured crop disaster assistance coverage (NAP) to be eligible for compensation under the government’s disaster programs.

A provision of the 2008 farm bill, which was enacted into law in June, requires that farmers and ranchers carry one or the other of the two insurance programs to be reimbursed for agricultural losses. Prior to the law’s enactment, such coverage was not mandatory.

Because the law took effect after application periods expired for the insurance programs, producers have until Sept. 16 to take advantage of a waiver that permits them to pay a “buy-in” fee to be eligible for disaster assistance. Producers can contact their local FSA County Office to file the waiver application and pay the applicable fees.

The buy-in fee is $100 per crop — or a maximum of $300 per county for growers who raise multiple crops in a county. For those growing in multiple counties, the fee is capped at $900.

“It is vitally important that growers obtain insurance coverage to protect themselves,” Bronson said.

For more information about the 2008 crop year buy-in for disaster assistance programs, visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/buyinwaiver08.pdf.