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Fact Sheets

Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program


December 2009


SURE provides benefits for 2008 through 2011 crop year farm revenue losses due to natural disasters. It is the 2008 Farm Bill's successor to prior ad hoc crop disaster programs.

Eligible Farms

For SURE, a "farm" is eligible when either:

  • a portion of the farm is located in a county covered by a qualifying natural disaster declaration (USDA Secretarial Declarations only) or a contiguous county; or,

  • the actual production is less than 50% of the normal production.

Note: A "farm" refers to all crop acreage in all counties that a producer planted or intended to be planted for harvest for normal commercial sale or farm livestock feeding.

Eligible Producers

Risk Management Purchase Requirement (RMPR)

For producers to be eligible for SURE, they must have obtained a policy or plan of insurance for all crops through either the Federal Crop Insurance Act or FSA's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). There are limited exceptions to this rule, and SURE does not require coverage for forage crops intended for grazing.

Note: Eligible farmers and ranchers who meet the definition of "Socially Disadvantaged", "Limited Resource", or "Beginning Farmer or Rancher" do not have to meet this requirement.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

For the 2008 crop 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.

For 2009 and subsequent crop years, producers or legal entities whose average nonfarm income exceeds $500,000 are not eligible.

10 Percent Production Loss

Producers must suffer a 10 percent production loss to at least one crop of economic significance on their farm in order to be eligible for SURE. For a loss to be a qualifying loss, it must be caused by a natural disaster. A crop of economic significance is one that contributes at least 5 percent of the expected revenue for a producer's farm.

Payment Calculation

SURE payments are calculated based on 60% of the difference between the SURE Disaster Program Guarantee and the Total Farm Revenue. (See pages 3 and 4 for payment calculation worksheets.)

SURE Guarantee

The SURE guarantee is determined by totaling the calculated guarantee for each crop. For insured crops, the guarantee is based on the level of coverage the producer has elected. Higher levels of coverage will result in higher crop guarantees. For NAP crops, the guarantee is based on a formula that includes the yield, acreage, and price factors. The formula is provided in the example on the back page.

The farm's SURE guarantee cannot exceed 90% of the expected revenue for the farm.

Total Farm Revenue

Total Farm Revenue includes the crop value, crop insurance indemnities, NAP payments, Market Assistance Loan proceeds, other disaster payments and Direct and Counter-cyclical Payments (15% of direct payments, plus the entire counter-cyclical payment and ACRE payments.)

Quality adjustments may be applied to a crop's value for harvested production affected by eligible disaster conditions.

Payment Limitations

A limit of $100,000 applies to the combination of payments from SURE and the livestock disaster programs - Livestock Forage Program (LFP), Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish (ELAP). For 2008 SURE payments, payments are limited per "person" according to payment limitation rules in effect for 2008.

Signup Period

Signup for the 2008 SURE begins January 2010. A signup deadline has not been announced. Watch for further information on the website.

Producers must signup at their county FSA office. If a producer farms in multiple counties, visits to each county may be necessary to complete the application.

Needed for Signup:

  • Acreage and production records, if not already provided for crop insurance purposes or FSA
  • Information to establish your farm (deeds, leases) if not already provided to FSA
  • Other information requested by FSA.


FSA will issue SURE payments once all eligibility forms are approved (CCC-502, AD-1026), SURE program determinations are made, and National Average Market Prices have been obtained.

2008 Program Year

Due to the lateness of the Farm Bill, producers were allowed to "buy-in" to the SURE Program by paying fees equivalent to catastrophic coverage or NAP coverage.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Stimulus Bill) increased benefits and expanded eligibility for producers.

The Stimulus Bill legislated an additional "buy-in" period. Producers who participated in this "buy-in" must purchase crop insurance (at a 70% or greater level) or NAP in the next available year.

The Stimulus Bill increased payments by increasing the guarantee calculation for both insurable crops and crops eligible for NAP coverage.

In order to expedite payments to producers, the Agency will make "interim" payments that will be based on temporary rule modifications.

After the application processes are finalized, the payment will be recalculated and additional payments may be issued or refunds may be required.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What did the Stimulus Bill change for the 2008 SURE Program?

A1: It increased potential payments by increasing the guarantee and provided an additional "buy-in" period to enable producers to become eligible for the SURE program.

Q2: If a farm is located in multiple counties, do all of the counties have to have a Secretarial Disaster Designation?

A2: No. The farm will be eligible as long as part of the farm is located in a county that has a Secretarial Disaster Designation or is contiguous to one. A farm can also be eligible if the overall production loss is greater than 50%.

Q3: Does the SURE program cover losses for all crops grown or produced on a farm?

A3: No. Some crops on a farm are not eligible per statute or regulations, such as grazed forage, crops planted after the initial crop, and subsequent crops planted in unapproved double crops areas.

Q4: Can a producer participate in the 2008 SURE if all crops of economic significance are not covered by crop insurance or NAP?

A4: Only if the crops were made eligible during the SURE program "buy-in" periods. Exceptions apply for socially disadvantaged producers, Limited resource producers, and Beginning farmers and ranchers.

Q5: Is there a requirement to purchase FCI or NAP in the future if 2008 benefits are received?

A5: Only producers who became eligible to participate during the "buy-in" period as a result of the Stimulus Bill will be required to purchase crop insurance (70% or greater level) or NAP. However, producers who do not purchase FCI or NAP in future years will not be eligible in future years.

Q6: If a producer has NAP or CI coverage or became eligible to participate during the SURE program "buy-in" periods, is that producer automatically signed up for the SURE?

A6: No. Producers must apply for benefits during the SURE signup period.

Q7: Can historical records be provided to increase the yields for the farm in order to increase the program guarantee?

A7: No. Yields are based on the established crop insurance or NAP yields. If a producer does not have a crop insurance or NAP yield, a yield based on a percentage of the county expected yield will be used.

Q8: Is crop revenue based on individual receipts?

A8: No. The revenue for each crop is determined by multiplying the farm's production quantity multiplied by the National Average Market Price for the crop, not the actual price received by the producer.

Q9: If a portion of a crop is reduced for quality, are quality adjustments automatically applied?

A9: No. The following must be met:

  • FSA determines an eligible disaster-affected quality in the region and determines a factor
  • Producer certifies the crop was quality affected by an eligible cause and the overall loss of quality must be as great as the factor established by FSA.

Payment Calculation Worksheet (Tables 1 to 4)

Note: This worksheet is provided as a tool to approximate the "Interim" payment calculation for a participating SURE farm. The estimated payment amount may differ due to rounding, data inputs, quality adjustments, yield variations, salvage calculations, and Agency determinations.

For More Information

For more information about FSA and its programs, visit your local USDA Service Center or online at:



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