Farmers have until May 18 to sign up for federal disaster coverage for losses to their 2008 crops, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said this week.
The coverage is being offered to farmers who would not otherwise have been eligible for coverage from a disaster fund created by the 2008 farm bill because they did not have coverage by crop insurance.
The federal bailout is estimated to cost up to $800 million, according to a report.
The USDA said farmers must pay a buy-in fee of $100 per crop, up to $300 a county and with a maximum $900 for farmers who operate in more than one county.
Farmers must agree to buy crop insurance or, for crops not covered by insurance, to join USDA's Non-insured Assistance Program in order to be eligible for the assistance.
Farmers who pay the buy-in fees will be treated as if they had a crop insurance policy covering 70 percent of their normal yield at the average price for the crop.
Non-insured crops will be treated as if they have coverage equal to 70 percent of yield, according to USDA.