Hello, Ashtabula County! The month of April is really flying by.
During the past few weeks, we have been anxious to see what help the federal government may extend to our local grape producers hit hard by the polar vortex. Thankfully, the first good news in the form of the “Tree Assistance Program” was released last week.
Additionally, our crop producers have been monitoring the new fertilizer regulations and more clarity was given on this legislation last week
Today, I would like to share a quick summary of both of these items for you.
There may be a little relief in store for local grape producers. Last week, the Farm Service Agency announced that fruit and nursery growers who experienced losses from natural disasters can now sign up for the Tree Assistance Program (TAP).
This program was authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 as a permanent disaster program.
It is no secret our growers were hit hard with record low winter temperatures and with spring finally here, we are now seeing the full extent of the damage.
TAP provides financial assistance to qualifying fruit and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters.
The damage from the sub-zero temperatures qualifies for this assistance.
To qualify for TAP, fruit growers must suffer a qualifying tree, bush or vine loss in excess of 15 percent mortality from an eligible natural disaster.
The eligible trees, bushes or vines must have been owned when the natural disaster occurred; however, eligible growers are not required to own the land on which the eligible trees, bushes and vines were planted.
If the TAP application is approved, the eligible trees, bushes and vines must be replaced within 12 months from the date the application is approved.
The cumulative total quantity of acres planted to trees, bushes or vines for which a producer can receive TAP payments, cannot exceed 500 acres annually.
Growers should contact our local Farm Service Agency at 440-437-6330 for more information about the TAP program.
Hopefully, this program will help a little with the devastating temperatures of this past winter and that additional assistance will be coming as well.