The application deadline for the federal government's Cover Crop Protection Program has been extended to October 31st, 2006.

The original deadline was the end of the month.

The $50-million program is aims to provide one-time financial assistance to farmers who were unable to plant a commercial crop in 2005 or 2006 due to excess field moisture.

To date, the program has received around 8,000 applications for claims on more than 2.5 million acres.

Officials expect that figure represents only a third of the total number of claims to be filed.

As of mid-august, more than 800 payments totaling $3 million have been paid out to applicants with verified claims.

Farmers, most notably those in Saskatchewan and Manitoba where approximately 2.9 million acres of productive farmland were lost, can receive a one-time payment of $15 per acre for flooded land.

Application forms will be directly mailed to production insurance clients who made claims as a result of flooding losses in 2005 and 2006.