The Quality Loss Assistance Program (QLA) provides assistance to producers who suffered eligible crop quality losses due to natural disasters occurring in 2018 and 2019. The deadline to apply for QLA is Friday, March 5, 2021.
Eligible crops include those for which federal crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage is available. Grazed crops and value loss crops, such as honey, mushrooms, ornamental nursery, floriculture, Christmas trees, and turfgrass sod are not eligible.
Crops that were sold or fed to livestock or that are in storage may be eligible. However, crops that were destroyed before harvest are not eligible. Crop quality losses occurring after harvest, due to deterioration in storage, or that could have been mitigated, are also not eligible.
A producer’s harvested eligible crop must have had at least a 5% quality loss reflected through a quality discount; or for forage crops, a nutrient loss (such as total digestible nutrients)..
Qualifying Disaster Events
Losses must have been a result of a qualifying disaster event (hurricane, excessive moisture, flood, qualifying drought, or tornado) or related condition that occurred in calendar years 2018 and/or 2019.
Assistance is available for eligible producers in counties that received a qualifying Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or Secretarial Disaster Designation because of one or more of the qualifying disaster events or related conditions. All three counties in Delaware had a Secretarial Disaster Designation in 2018.
Delaware did not have a disaster designation in 2019. Producers may still apply for QLA in 2019 but must also provide supporting documentation to establish that the crop was directly affected by a qualifying disaster event.
To determine QLA eligibility and payments, FSA considers the total quality loss caused by all qualifying natural disasters in cases where a crop was impacted by multiple events.
Applying for QLA
When applying, producers are asked to provide verifiable documentation to support claims of quality loss (or nutrient loss in the case of forage crops.) For crops that have been sold, grading must have been completed within 30 days of harvest. For forage crops, a laboratory analysis must have been completed within 30 days of harvest.
Acceptable forms of documentation include sales receipts from buyers, settlement sheets, truck or warehouse scale tickets, written sales contracts, similar records that represent actual and specific quality loss information, and forage tests for nutritional values.
Payment Calculations and Limitations
QLA payments are based on formulas for the type of crop (forage or non-forage) and loss documentation submitted. Payment calculations are based on the producer’s own individual loss or based on the county average loss. More information on payments can be found on farmers.gov/quality-loss.
FSA will issue payments once the application period ends. If the total amount of calculated QLA payments exceeds available program funding, payments will be prorated.
For each crop year, the maximum amount that a person or legal entity may receive, directly or indirectly, is $125,000. Payments made to a joint operation (including a general partnership or joint venture) will not exceed $125,000, multiplied by the number of persons and legal entities that comprise the ownership of the joint operation. A person or legal entity is ineligible for QLA payment if the person’s or legal entity’s average Adjusted Gross Income exceeds $900,000, unless at least 75% is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities.
Future Insurance Coverage Requirements
All producers receiving QLA Program payments are required to purchase crop insurance or NAP coverage for the next two available crop years at the 60% coverage level or higher.
For more information, visit farmers.gov/quality-loss, or contact your local USDA Service Center. Producers can also obtain one-on-one support with applications by calling 877-508-8364.