Orchardists and nursery tree growers who experienced losses from natural disasters that occurred on or after Oct. 1, 2011, can sign up for the Tree Assistance Program, which was authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 as a permanent disaster program, reported Julia Wickard, U.S. Department of Agriculture Indiana Farm Service Agency state executive director.
TAP provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters.
Eligible tree types include trees, bushes or vines that produce an annual crop for commercial purposes. Nursery trees include ornamental, fruit, nut and Christmas trees that are produced for commercial sale. Trees used for pulp or timber are ineligible.
To qualify for TAP, orchardists must suffer a qualifying tree, bush or vine loss in excess of 15 percent mortality from an eligible natural disaster. The plants must have been owned when the natural disaster occurred. However, eligible growers are not required to own the land on which the eligible trees, bushes and vines were planted.
If the TAP application is approved, the eligible plants must be replaced within 12 months from the date it was approved.