Cotton growers have only a couple days left have been granted a reprieve to apply for USDA’s Quality Loss Adjustment program (QLA): applications are now due Friday, March 5 April 9. The program offers financial payment to producers who suffered crop quality losses in natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, though qualification for said losses varies state by state, county by county and even bale by bale.

The program provides financial assistance to eligible producers in counties which received a qualifying Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or Secretarial Disaster Designation due to qualifying disaster events or related conditions (drought, flood, tropical storm or hurricane, or “excessive moisture”). USDA has an excellent web page with an abundance of information on the program and what’s involved in applying and qualifying.

Regrettably, the program, funded by the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, had a rough rollout with conflicting information. Farmers have expressed disappointment at the resulting confusion even in FSA offices. Best practice is that growers should at least check with FSA and apply before the deadline if they’re farming in an affected area, regardless of the stance of their local office regarding eligibility.

Assistance is based on a producer’s harvested affected production of an eligible crop in an affected county, which for cotton means at least a five percent quality loss reflected through a quality discount; and for forage crops, a nutrient loss, such as total digestible nutrients.

To apply, growers will need certain bale information. Calcot can and will generate bale information for members. Check with your field representative if you need this information, which will only be created upon request. Calcot cannot ascertain if the member is eligible; only FSA can do that.

To contact your local Farm Services Administration office, visit this webpage for hours and locations.