The Baltimore Sun

Producers can 'buy in' to U.S. disaster assistance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency will allow producers who would otherwise be ineligible for new disaster assistance programs to become eligible by paying a fee.

The 2008 Food, Conservation and Energy Act requires producers who wish to participate in the new disaster programs to have crop insurance or noninsured crop disaster assistance coverage for their land and for farms in all counties in which they have an interest.

Since the 2008 law was enacted after the application periods had closed for new disaster programs, it authorizes a waiver that allows producers to pay a "buy-in" fee to be eligible for new disaster assistance.

Every producer whose crops, including grazing lands, are not fully covered by crop insurance or the noninsured disaster assistance program may take advantage of the buy-in fee. The deadline is Sept. 16.

For information on the new disaster assistance programs and the buy-in waiver, visit

State seeking nominations to Agriculture Hall of Fame

To honor the leaders of Maryland's agricultural community, the Maryland Department of Agriculture is accepting nominations of farmers and farm families for the Governor's Agriculture Hall of Fame, which pays tribute to those who have dedicated their lives to the state's leading industry.

Any farm family that derives its income principally from farming is eligible for the award.

Since 1991, 35 farm families from 20 counties have been honored for their high standards of conduct; personal values, contributions to their community; and performance, leadership, innovation and achievement in agriculture.

Nomination forms are available from MDA or local cooperative extension offices, which serve as local nominating committee coordinators.

Local nominating committees, made up of the county extension educator, county farm bureau president, county fair representative, and county soil conservation district chairman, review candidates from its county and forward a selection to the Governor's Selection Committee.

Nominations from the local committees are due to MDA by Aug. 26. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held during the Maryland Agricultural Dinner in February.

For a nomination form or information, contact MDA at 410-841-5770, the local cooperative extension office, or log onto

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