Tree Assistance Program

The Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines affected by natural disasters and suffered mortality losses in excess of 15 percent, after adjustment for normal mortality occurring
on or after January 1, 2008, and before October 1, 2011.

TAP was authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill and is funded through the Agricultural Disaster Relief Trust Fund under Section 902 of the Trade Act of 1974.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.
Website Address

www.fsa.usda.gov/tap



Program Accomplishments

Not Applicable.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Assistance will be provided for eligible trees, bushes, and vines from which an annual crop is produced for commercial purposes.

Nursery trees include ornamental, fruit, nut and Christmas trees produced for commercial sale.

Trees used for pulp or timber are ineligible.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

An eligible applicant is an orchardist or a nursery tree grower who has planted trees for commercial purposes but lost the trees as a direct result of a natural disaster.

The term "tree" includes a tree, bush, and vine.

An eligible orchardists is a person who produces annual crops from trees for commercial use.

An eligible nursery tree grower is a person who produces nursery, ornamental fruit, nut or Christmas trees for commercial sale.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Beneficiary eligibility will be provided to an owner who has trees, bushes or vines lost by a natural disaster who suffer qualifying losses in excess of 15 percent (adjusted for normal mortality) from an eligible natural disaster for the individual stand; must have owned the eligible trees, bushes and vines when the natural disaster occurred; however, eligible growers are not required to own the land on which eligible trees, bushes and vines are planted; and must replace eligible trees, bushes and vines within 12 months from the date the application is approved.

Credentials/Documentation

In general, orchardists and nursery tree growers must have obtained a policy or plan of insurance for all their insurable or NAP eligible crops through either Federal Crop Insurance Act or FSA"s Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). Eligible producers who meet the definition of "Socially Disadvantaged", "Limited Resource", or "Beginning Farmer or Rancher" do not have to meet this requirement. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is not applicable.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110. For 2009 through 2011 TAP payment limitations, no person or legal entity may receive, directly or indirectly, more than $100,000 per program year. For 2008, payments are limited per "person" according to payment limitations rules in effect for 2008. For cumulative total quantity of acres planted to trees, bushes, or vines where a producer may receive TAP payments for losses occurring between January 1, 2008 and September 30, 2011, cannot exceed 500 acres. The Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limitations for 2009 and subsequent program years for producers or legal entities whose average non farm AGI exceeds $500,000 are not eligible and for the 2008 program year, producers are not eligible if their average AGI is $2.5 million or greater, unless 75% or more of their AGI is from agriculture.

In order for a participant to obtain a TAP payment, the eligible applicant must (1) File an application (FSA-899) at the FSA administrative county office that maintains the applicants farm records for the agricultural operation, within the applicable sign-up deadline. A complete application includes, a completed Form FSA-899; certification that Risk Management Purchase Requirement has been met on all crops on the farm; must have an acreage report for the farming operation; a written estimate of the number of trees, bushes, or vines lost or damaged is certified by the producer or a qualified expert, including the number of acres on which the loss occurred; and sufficient evidence of the loss to allow the county FSA committee to calculate whether an eligible loss occurred. (2) FSA staff will make a field visit and validate which practices are appropriate to address the losses. After verification, FSA will inform the producer of the approved eligible practices and estimated payment. Additional information may be requested to assist FSA representative in making its determination. (3) Applicant must complete the approved practices within 12 months of FSA approval. Payments will be made after all practices are completed on the stand. Producers that suffer multiple losses during the calendar year may file multiple applications for payment.

Award Procedures

For tree, bush or vine replacement including replanting and the cost of seedlings, the payment calculation is the lesser of the following:
1) 70% of the actual cost of the practice, or

2) the amount calculated for each practice using the established rates.

3) For salvaging existing trees, bushes, or vines, including the cost of pruning, removal, or
other costs, the payment calculation is the lesser of the following: 50% of the actual cost
of the practice, or the amount calculated for each practice using the established rates.

Deadlines

May 10, 2010 to Jul 06, 2010 orchardists and nursery tree growers may apply to receive TAP benefits at local FSA county offices beginning May 10, 2010. For losses suffered during calendar year 2008 and 2009 and for losses suffered January 01 2010 through May 7, 2010, applications and supporting documentation must be submitted by July 6, 2010. For those losses that occur after May 7, 2010, applications and supporting documentation must be submitted within 90 days from either the date of the disaster or when the disaster becomes apparent to the producer.

Authorization

Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill), Title XII, Part A, Section 12033 and 15101, Public Law 110-246, 7 U.S.C 1501; The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Public Law 111-5.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 30 to 60 days.

Appeals

Not Applicable.

Renewals

Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program.
Matching requirements are not applicable to this program.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The orchardist or nursery tree grower must replace eligible trees, bushes and vines within 12 months from the date the application is approved. Payment is made by check or direct deposit after determining applicant eligibility. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: lump sum.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Not Applicable.

Audits

No audits are required for this program.

Records

Applicants receiving assistance for TAP shall maintain and retain financial books and records which will permit verification of all transactions for at least 3 years, following the end of the calendar year in which assistance was provided.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-5531-0-3-351 - The Agricultural Disaster Relief Trust Fund.

Obigations

(Direct Payments with Unrestricted Use) FY 09 $0; FY 10 est $5,000,000; FY 11 est $5,000,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

No Data Available.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Program is announced through press releases, news media, and newsletters.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices.

Headquarters Office

Lenior J. Simmons, USDA, DAFP, PECD, GRS, 1400 Independence Ave SW Stop 0517, Washington, District of Columbia 20250 Email: Lenior.Simmons@wdc.usda.gov Phone: (202) 720-9070.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not Applicable.



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