Farmers and ranchers who might otherwise be ineligible for aid under the new disaster programs laid out by the 2008 Farm Bill may still have one opportunity to qualify, said Nueces County Farm Bureau president Scott Frazier.

The 2008 act requires producers who wish to participate in the new disaster programs to have crop insurance or non-insured crop disaster assistance coverage for the land for which assistance is being requested, and for all farms in all counties in which they have an interest.

Since the 2008 act was enacted after the application periods had closed for those programs, producers who did not have such coverage could not comply with this requirement in order to be eligible for the new disaster programs.

However, the 2008 act authorizes a waiver that allows producers to pay a fee, called a "buy-in" fee, to be eligible for this new disaster assistance.

Every producer whose crops, including grazing lands, are not fully covered by crop insurance or NAP may take advantage of this one-time opportunity.

"Our members need to be aware of the Sept.16, 2008 sign-up deadline to be eligible for the disaster assistance program for 2008," Frazier said.

The buy-in fee for 2008 eligibility only for either the catastrophic risk protection insurance or NAP is $100 per crop, but not more than $300 per producer per administrative county.

For more information on disaster programs offered through the Farm Service Agency, visit your county's USDA Service Center or go to www.fsa.usda.gov.