Napa – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Robert Bonnie today hosted a roundtable for agricultural leaders and groups. Topics included the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) as well as agriculture conservation programs funded through the Inflation Reduction Act.
“California is a national leader in agriculture, and we have been on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Our producers deserve relief, and I have been working with federal partners like USDA to deliver this relief,” said Thompson. “Thanks to Under Secretary Bonnie for joining me today to meet with agriculture leaders and hear about the issues that they deal with at their farms and vineyards. With the Inflation Reduction Act now law, we are continuing to deliver on the priorities that matter most to the agriculture community and providing a more resilient future for our country.”
“USDA is working diligently to support farmers, ranchers, and producers across the country. Whether it is assistance in recovering from natural disasters through programs like ERP, or implementing the conservation practices that can help mitigate the effects of climate change, our team is always ready to help,” said Bonnie, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “We’re proud of how quickly and efficiently we delivered the first phase of ERP through the use of existing data. Meanwhile, we’re excited for what the Inflation Reduction Act means for how we can help agriculture continue to be the solution in addressing climate change.”
ERP was funded through the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act from fall 2021. The law provided $10 billion to help agricultural producers impacted by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms and other eligible disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021. Rep. Thompson was the author of the provisions that provided this funding and he is the sponsor of legislation that would reauthorize the program to cover 2022 losses. ERP is providing critical assistance to wine grape growers and others across California. More than $6.5 billion has already been distributed to over 202,000 producers through ERP. This includes $257 million to 3,800 producers in California.
Meanwhile, the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law last month, provides $3.1 billion for USDA to provide relief for distressed borrowers with agricultural operations, $2.2 billion in financial assistance for farmers who have experienced discrimination in USDA’s farm lending programs, and approximately $20 billion to support USDA’s conservation programs that yield climate-related benefits while building resilience in agricultural operations.
Photos from today’s roundtable can be found here.