This is a relayed message from Stuart T Nakamoto of the University of Hawaii
Coffee growers and industry contacts:
As you may know, CTAHR lost our extension agent in Kona earlier this year. With Virginia gone, much of my ties with especially the coffee industry were severely impacted.
I am writing to try and adjust for that. The message below and attached announcement are for your information, and I also request that you pass the word on to others as well. I emphasize that growers who do not sign up for USDA-RMA crop insurance will not be eligible for USDA-FSA disaster assistance. Is it worth the trouble? For what it's worth, this month I talked to a couple of coffee growers who received $2,000-$3,000 in assistance from FSA. It had cost them $30-$50/year plus their time and effort to sign up and do the required recordkeeping & reporting.
I know that drought has affected many growers, and now the coffee berry borer is a new threat. I don't know at this time if CBB damage would be covered by Federal programs, but what I can say is that if it is covered, growers who do not sign up will very likely NOT get assistance. Also, please note the sign up deadlines.
I suggest that especially without an agent, growers will need to make an extra effort to get information. I hope this helps.
I am writing to provide information and to ask for your assistance in helping Hawaii's growers.
With a few months still to go, 2010 has already presented Hawaii's growers with multiple challenges. Among others, the economy is still hurting & the volcano still produces vog, the drought continues, and there have been new pests and diseases. Fortunately, Federal USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) crop insurance and USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Disaster Assistance programs have provided some relief. Some, but not enough, farmers and ranchers have received hundreds and even thousands of dollars in assistance.
Why haven’t more growers been helped? There are a number of growers who are not getting these benefits because they do not know about the programs or have essentially chosen not to participate by not acting on the information.
Perhaps as importantly, there has been a major change where FSA Disaster Assistance is now directly linked to Federal crop insurance; that is, producers must obtain crop insurance to be eligible for FSA’s disaster programs. For those crops that are non-insurable, coverage must be obtained under the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). This means that unlike the past when help might be provided to growers who need it, disaster assistance will be available only to growers who sign up beforehand. So in the event of, say a hurricane, drought, or major earthquake, growers without crop insurance or NAP cannot and will not be helped by FSA. This is also a trend that seems to be spreading to other programs.
Of note, for 2011 the sign up deadlines are December 1 of this year for NAP and December 31 for most crop insurance programs. With this in mind, the USDA RMA Targeted States program in partnership with CTAHR's LIFE program and USDA-FSA are offering workshops statewide for growers to learn about crop insurance, disaster assistance, and risk management. This is a repeat of similar workshops held earlier in 2010 but is intended to give producers a last chance before the sign up deadlines. Again, no sign up means no help. Companion workshops on record keeping are also being offered.
Attached are fliers of the workshops (Molokai events are being arranged). Please help our growers by getting the word out -- better to hear about it more than once, than not be eligible for assistance.
Please contact me if you have questions or for more information. Mahalo.
Stuart T. Nakamoto, Ph.D. Phone: (808) 956-8125
Professor and Extension Economist Fax: (808) 956-4883 or 956-4024
Agricultural Economics and Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marketing of Perishable Products
University of Hawaii at Manoa
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Dept. of Human Nutrition, Food, and Animal Sciences
Agricultural Sciences Bldg 314B
1955 East-West Road, AgSci 314B