What is NAP (Noninsured Crop Disaster Program)?
The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable* crops to protect against natural disasters that result in lower yields or crop losses, or prevents crop planting. NAP coverage kicks in when a covered crop has at least a 50% expected production loss due to an eligible cause (e.g. hurricane, excessive heat, flood).
*If NAP covers non-insurable crops, what is an insurable crop? It’s generally a field crop covered by traditional federal crop insurance programs (e.g. corn, soybeans, wheat).
NAP will partially cover losses related to crop production, not losses to the actual plant/commodity. For example, if a NAP-covered blueberry field experienced extreme damage due to a hurricane, NAP payments would only cover the loss of income due to reduced production — not the damage to the blueberry bush itself. Similarly, if a farmer saw eligible losses to their honeybee colony, NAP would cover the honey production lost income, not the loss of bees (but ELAP would cover this).
Watch our past webinar, “What is NAP and is it right for my farm?”
Eligible farmers are landowners, tenants, or sharecroppers who grow eligible crops. Farmers’ adjusted gross income cannot exceed $900,000.
Eligible crops must be commercially produced agricultural commodities for which crop insurance is not available and can be any of the following:
- Crops grown for food.
- Crops planted and grown for livestock consumption, such as grain and forage crops, including native forage; Crops grown for fiber, such as cotton and flax (except trees).
- Crops grown in a controlled environment, such as mushrooms and floriculture.
- Specialty crops, such as honey and maple sap.
- Sea oats and sea grass.
- Sweet sorghum and biomass sorghum.
- Industrial crops, including crops used in manufacturing or grown as a feedstock for renewable biofuel, renewable electricity or biobased products.
- Value loss crops, such as aquaculture, Christmas trees, ginseng, ornamental nursery and turf-grass sod.
- Seed crops where the propagation stock is produced for sale as seed stock for other eligible NAP crop production.
What Kinds of Loss From Natural Disasters Are Eligible Under NAP?
- Damaging weather, such as drought, freeze, hail, excessive moisture, excessive wind, or hurricanes.
- Adverse natural occurrences, such as earthquake or flood.
- Conditions related to damaging weather or adverse natural occurrences, such as excessive heat, plant disease, volcanic smog (VOG) or insect infestation.
- The damaging weather or adverse natural occurrence must occur during the coverage period, before or during harvest, and must directly affect the eligible crop.
Farmers can apply for BASIC coverage, or BUY UP coverage. Farmers obtain NAP coverage per crop. This means a farmer could obtain basic NAP coverage for zucchini production and purchase buy-up NAP coverage for tomatoes. You can only buy one type of coverage on a single crop.
Types of NAP Coverage
For both levels of coverage, the prices for crops are set by the National Crop Table, which is consistent county to county. If farmers are growing something that is not in their local crop table, they can select a similar crop to use for applying for NAP coverage.
This level of coverage is best for new producers because it ensures that if they experience loss, they will get some money back.
This level covers a 50% or more expected crop production loss, at 55% of the market price.
NAP payments cannot exceed $125,000 per crop, per farmer for basic coverage.
This level of coverage is best for farmers with many years of experience in growing a particular crop. This is because the premium cost and level of coverage is based on past crop yield data. Although eligible farmers can purchase buy-up after one year of producing a crop, it is recommended that they wait 5 years to ensure they have sufficient data so the additional coverage cost is worth it.
There are 4 levels of buy-up coverage: 50-100 (50% of your expected production loss, at 100% of the price), 55-100, 60-100, and 65-100. For farmers with high-cost crops, most take out the recommended 65/100 buy-up coverage.
Using the same sweet corn example from Basic Coverage:
For organic crops, NAP covers 65% of the yield loss at 145% of the price (because organic crops generally produce less, but sell for higher prices than traditional crops).
Socially Disadvantaged Farmers (SDA) farmers are eligible to have their premiums cut in half for any level of coverage.
NAP payments cannot exceed $300,000 per crop, per farmer for buy-up coverage.
NAP Coverage Period and Reporting Requirements
The coverage period for NAP varies depending on the crop. For example, in North Carolina the 2022 NAP application deadline for strawberries was Sept 1, 2021 but the deadline for tomatoes is Feb 28, 2022. The coverage period begins the later of the application filing date OR the crop planting date (which cannot exceed the final planting date determined by FSA). The crop coverage period end date is based on the earlier of the date the crop was harvested OR normal harvest date of the crop OR date the crop is abandoned or entire crop is destroyed. Eligibility for NAP assistance is dependent on accurate and timely reporting of crop planting (e.g. variety, location, acreage) as well as production reporting. Farmers should make sure to discuss with their FSA office what coverage period dates, reporting dates, and farm records are required for their specific crop(s) under NAP.
What To Do Before a Loss
- Make sure you have a farm number.
- Apply for NAP coverage — Farmers must apply for coverage before a loss. NAP application closing dates vary by crop and are established by the FSA State Committee. Contact your local FSA office to verify application closing dates. Or click here for 2022 NAP application deadlines for North Carolina.
- Make sure your NAP covered crops are planted and acreage reported to FSA — This must be done no later than the final planting date as determined by FSA.
What To Do After a Loss
- Document Loss — Document loss through photos and any other evidence you can.
- Contact Your Local FSA Office — Go to the FSA office as soon as possible to report a loss. For certain crops, you only have 72 hours after the loss to report.
- Meet the Adjuster — Meet the adjuster when they come to inspect your farm. This is not required, but it is helpful for farmers to be there to observe and answer questions.
- Wait for instructions from the crop adjuster — The adjuster will prepare a statement of fact (verifying natural disaster and crop loss occurred, pulling weather and rain data) and send this statement to the farmer to sign off on that they agree. The loss adjuster will also let the farmer know what they can do at that point: destroy the crop, keep harvesting, etc. If they can continue harvesting, they need to submit their yield after they finish the harvest. The producer must meet the threshold for payment (50% production loss). If the farmer can still harvest half the field, they won’t receive a payment, even if there was a disaster.
Don’t do anything to the crop (e.g. destroy or harvest) until the adjuster advises you. If they ask you to harvest the remaining crop, keep records of your harvest and submit it to your FSA office.
Top Tips and Reminders for Farmers
- Farmers new to NAP are recommended to get basic coverage until they have a few years of production in order to get an annual production average.
- Beginning, Limited-resource, Socially Disadvantaged Farmers (SDA), and Veteran farmers are eligible for a service fee waiver and 50% discount on NAP premiums (for buy-up coverage). This means that basic NAP coverage is essentially FREE for beginning, limited-resource, SDA, and veteran farmers!
- Beginning — farming less than 10 years.
- Limited-Resource — earning less than $177,300 per year and having a total household income below the poverty line or below 50 percent of county median income.
- Socially Disadvantaged — women, African American, Native American, Asian, and Hispanic producers.
- Veteran — served in the Armed Forces and who has operated a farm for less than 10 years, or first obtained veteran status during the most recent 10-year period.
- A farm number is needed to apply for NAP.
- Ensure that your local county office has a copy of your farm map, which certifies what you are growing and where you are growing it. This makes it easier for adjusters to find the crop in the case of a disaster.
- Keep good records of your crop yields year by year, so you can apply for the proper coverage and document loss.
- Ensure that you report your acreage and yield to your county office on time — failure to do this may make you ineligible for NAP.
- If farmers need to report a crop production loss, be sure to report an eligible loss. For example, reporting an insect infestation or disease outbreak that destroyed a crop is not a qualified loss. But reporting that a weather condition like excessive heat or moisture, which created the conditions for the insect or disease outbreak, resulted in a destroyed crop would qualify as an eligible loss event.
FSA Contact information
Visit: https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app to locate your nearest FSA office. If you have trouble locating, getting in touch with, or receiving adequate service from your agent, please let us know.
Want to really dig into the details of NAP? Review FSA’s Handbook on NAP.
To learn more and inquire about particular FSA disaster assistance programs, email [email protected] or call 877.207.6373.
About the Farmers of Color Network (FOCN) at RAFI-USA
FOCN develops relationships with farmers of color in order to support and honor multi-generational organizing, sustainable agricultural practices, and ancestral traditions and knowledge. FOCN provides farmer-led technical assistance, offers funding opportunities, and hosts networking events and gatherings to expand market access.