New USDA Program to Cover Natural Disaster Losses

A new Department of Agriculture program will help cover losses from natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. Micheal Clements tells us more about the program.

Clement: The new emergency relief program announced this week by the Department of Agriculture will help cover billions of dollars in losses from natural disasters in recent years. American Farm Bureau Federation economist Danny Munch explains the program.

Bite: This new ERP program is essentially a revamped version of the old WHIP+ program and will provide six billion [dollars] in ad hoc disaster assistance for producers who suffered eligible losses as a result of severe weather events in 2020 and 2021. The ERP includes losses resulting from events such as forest fires, hurricanes, floods, frosts, derechos and also drought in categories D3 and D4, as well as D2 after eight consecutive weeks. It also covers losses resulting from related conditions occurring simultaneously with major disasters such as exposure to smoke from wildfires.

Clement: Munch says that as part of the first phase of the program, the USDA will send pre-populated applications to eligible growers.

Bite: This should happen in the next few weeks. Producers will then need to return their completed and signed pre-filled applications to their local FSA office and should expect to receive payments in June-July. Growers who did not have crop insurance or NAP coverage, did not receive indemnity, or had an area-based policy, will not receive a pre-populated application.

Clement: If you do not receive a pre-filled application, you will need to wait for phase two of the program.

Bite: Again, for those who qualify for the first phase of the ERP, they will receive pre-populated applications based on their existing FSA information. For those who do not receive a pre-filled application, they will unfortunately have to wait for information on phase two of the program to be announced. Additionally, we have some payment examples available on our Market Intel website for farmers to review and see how they might benefit.

Clement: Learn more at fb.org/marketintel. Michael Clements, Washington.