Program rules state that DAP applications must be signed by the eligible producer, someone authorized to sign for the eligible producer, or, in the case of a deceased producer, the individual who has authority to enter into a contract for the deceased producer.
In the case of a deceased producer, figuring out who has authority to sign the application has created a great deal of consternation for both producers and USDA county Farm Service Agency personnel.
Unfortunately, determining if an estate has been closed and if authority remains vested in an individual is often a little harder to determine.
Proof of authority is often an easy thing to provide through copies of court orders, letters from the Secretary of State, or documentation authorizing the individual as the Executor of the Estate.
If none of the above types of documentation are available, other documents may be approved by FSA on a case-by-case basis. This case-by-case approval mechanism will include requests to accept applications from, and issue payments to, heirs of the deceased.
Once approved, payments will be issued either to the eligible individual, or the deceased producers estate as applicable. If payment has been approved for a deceased producers heirs, then payment will be made in the name(s) of the heirs based on the details of the determination by FSA.
Shawn Wade is a writer for Plains Cotton Growers Association.