Posted: May 20, 2022
Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that producers and growers in California and across the country are set to receive $10 billion in assistance from the Emergency Relief Program (formerly known as WHIP+, Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus) to recover from the wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and other eligible disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021.
“Family farmers and growers in my district suffered a huge loss because of wildfires and smoke taint, leading to millions in lost revenue,” said Thompson. “I have been pushing the Department of Agriculture to provide guidance and open applications for this program ever since my legislation was signed into law. For those who suffered losses due to a disaster in 2020 and 2021, they have been anxious for relief and are desperate for assistance to get back on their feet. This news from the Department of Agriculture is long overdue and I am going to continue to work to ensure every family farmer and grower receives the assistance they deserve.”
The Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) provided payments to producers to offset losses from wildfires, hurricanes, and other qualifying natural disasters that occurred in 2018 and 2019. WHIP+ covered losses of crops, trees, bushes, and vines that occurred as a result of those disaster events, milk losses due to adverse weather conditions, and losses to on-farm stored commodities. The program is now named the Emergency Relief Program (ERP).
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will follow a two-phased process to administer the $10 billion of relief to eligible crop producers.
- In the first phase USDA will send out prefilled applications for assistance based on existing data that producers have already reported to USDA through Federal Crop Insurance or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Prefilled applications for producers with crop insurance are expected to be sent out by the end of May.
- In the second phase USDA will open up an up a signup period for producers who have not participated in existing USDA programs. The timeline for this signup is expected later in summer.
On September 30, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act (P.L. 117-43), which includes Rep. Thompson’s legislation to provide $10 billion in assistance to agricultural producers impacted by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms, and other eligible disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently made payments to ranchers impacted by drought and wildfire through the first phase of the Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP).
For impacted producers, existing Federal Crop Insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) data is the basis for calculating initial payments. USDA estimates that phase one relief benefits will reach more than 220,000 producers who received indemnities for losses covered by federal crop insurance and more than 4,000 producers who obtained NAP coverage for 2020 and 2021 crop losses.