Tree Assistance Program

Tree Assistance Program

Tree Assistance Program. I'm Greg Martin with today's Fruit Grower Report.

The weather has this way of jumping up and biting us when we least expect it and in many cases that also affects tree fruit as well. Rod Hamilton, Program Chief with the Farm Service Agency in Spokane reminds us about the Tree Assistance Program.

HAMILTON: The Tree Assistance Program provides benefits to producers who lose fruit trees, nut trees, berries, vines those kind of plants to a natural disaster. It allow us to provide cost sharing usually at about 60% for getting rid of the old stuff and buying the old stuff and planting the new stuff.

Hamilton talks about the process to get relief.

HAMILTON: They should contact the FSA office that serves their farm which is usually the FSA office for the county where their orchard is located. They need to file the initial notice within 90 days either after the disaster event or in cases where it's hard to tell if you've suffered a loss like a freeze during the winter, within 90 days after it becomes apparent to them that they suffered damage. In some cases we will send out an adjuster to take a look at it to see if they concur there is damage.

Trees usually have to be dead to start the claim which Hamilton says they have 12 months to complete.

HAMILTON: What we actually look at is the producers actual cost and we pay either the lesser of 60% of their costs or payment rate caps that are in our program. For example, for a new orchard tree we'll pay 60% of their cost not to exceed $8 a tree.

That's today's Fruit Grower Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.

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