Pecans are eligible for the Quality Loss Adjustment Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced signup for the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) Program began Wednesday, January. 6, 2021. This program 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.
Assistance is based on a producer’s harvested affected production of an eligible crop, which must have had at least a 5% quality loss reflected through a quality discount.
Losses must have been a result of a qualifying disaster event (hurricane, excessive moisture, flood, qualifying drought, tornado, typhoon, volcanic activity, snowstorm, or wildfire) or related condition that occurred in calendar years 2018 and/or 2019.
Hurricane Michael certainly qualifies for 2018. The excessively hot and dry conditions late in the 2019 season also led to losses in pecan quality. This was especially bad in Eastern Georgia.
When applying, producers are asked to provide verifiable documentation to support claims of quality loss. USDA asks for documentation including sales receipts from buyers, settlement sheets, truck or warehouse scale tickets, written sales contracts, similar records that represent actual and specific quality loss information.
This has been a challenge for many pecan producers because although producers often have invoices and sales sheets from buyers, these invoices for pecans often don’t include grade sheets, which are usually provided with other commodities.
As a result, it seems that much of the documentation they are requesting does not exist for pecans. As we learned with the earlier disaster programs, the extreme variability found in the pecan industry is not conducive to many of these programs.
At any rate, the best documentation you can provide will be an invoice from your buyer with the price and percent kernel showing loss of quality and price along with another invoice from this buyer within the same time period for similar lots showing no quality loss or perhaps even a letter from the buyer verifying this quality-based loss.
The USDA Thomasville price reports offer some verifiable information on what pecan prices were during a given week, often listing a range of prices based on quality (size, % kernel, etc.). Reports going back to November 27, 2018 can be found at the following link:
I am hearing that some FSA offices are not accepting these reports (although they are generated by USDA) as verifiable documentation but it would not hurt to print out the report from the week in question and submit this as well.