Thompson, Newhouse, Costa, Panetta, Axne, and 17 Members Introduce Reauthorization for the Emergency Relief Program

Press Release

Posted: August 8, 2022

Washington – This week, Reps. Mike Thompson (CA-05), Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Jim Costa (CA-16), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Cindy Axne (IA-03) and 17 members introduced legislation to reauthorize the Emergency Relief Program (formerly known as WHIP+) for natural disasters that occurred in 2022. The ERP offers critical assistance to agricultural producers, including grapegrowers, whose crops were impacted by smoke taint.

“Communities in our district and across the country have been devastated by natural disasters, including wildfires and drought,” said Thompson. “That’s why I am proud to work with a bipartisan group of my colleagues to introduce legislation to reauthorize the Emergency Relief Program. This program is an essential support system for our growers to recover from wildfires, smoke damage, and other natural disasters. As we continue to deal with the impact of climate change, I am committed to ensuring that all producers and growers have the resources they need to offset their losses.

“The Emergency Relief Program is a necessary resource for Central Washington farmers as they continue to recover from this year’s late spring, which significantly impacted tree fruit production. I am pleased to introduce this legislation and encourage my colleagues to support this important program that will provide much-needed assistance to Central Washington’s growers so they can continue producing the high-quality Washington crops Americans enjoy for many years to come,” said Newhouse.

“The Emergency Relief Program is critical to farmers in my district, providing them the assistance they need to recover from the ongoing impacts of the drought and wildfires,” said Costa. “I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to provide much-needed relief to California farmers and ranchers. Supporting and advocating for California agriculture has always been one of my highest priorities, representing California as the number one agricultural state in the nation.”

“Iowa farmers know all too well how common and devastating natural disasters have been,” said Axne. “The Emergency Relief Program, which I fought hard for, has provided assistance to thousands of Iowan farmers who suffered from the 2020 derecho. By reauthorizing the Emergency Relief Program for 2022, this bill provides certainty to farmers that should disaster strike, assistance will be ready.”

“California winegrape growers appreciate the leadership and commitment of Congressman Thompson and other members of the California delegation to provide disaster assistance for those who suffered crop losses due to wildfires and other natural disasters. Through this tremendous leadership, growers have received much-needed aid for past disasters, and we applaud Rep. Thompson's efforts to enact assistance for the 2022 crop year,” said Natalie Collins, California Association of Winegrape Growers Interim President.

“For several years now, California farmers and ranchers have experienced significant losses due to ongoing droughts, wildfires, and other natural disasters. In order to maintain the well-being of our nation’s food supply, it is critical to ensure that our agricultural producers receive the support and resources necessary to recover from the impacts of such events. We applaud Congress for moving forward on reauthorization for the Emergency Relief Program so that these crucial safety nets in place,” said Jamie Johansson, California Farm Bureau President.

ERP is a vital program that provides desperately needed payments to agricultural producers to offset losses from wildfires, drought, hurricanes, derechos, freeze, polar vortex, excessive heat and other qualifying natural disasters.

This relief is critical as prolonged drought, severe weather events and natural disasters continue to wreak havoc on crops and livestock.

This bill is endorsed by the National Farmers Union.