May 22, 2023
Producers affected by 2022 natural disasters could be eligible for federal aid

Up to $3.7 billion in federal assistance could be on the way in a few months for producers who suffered losses because of a natural disaster in 2022.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the planned rollout of Emergency Relief Program (ERP) and Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP) on Friday. The USDA is sharing the information to allow producers who experienced a qualifying natural disaster time to gather documents before applications are sent out this summer, according to a news release.

In California, Allied Potato experienced flooding following March storms. Producers who experienced natural disasters in 2022 may be eligible for federal relief. Photo: Allied Potato

USDA will also conclude the 2021 ELRP program by sending payments in the amount of 20% of the initial ELRP payment to all existing recipients.

“U.S. agricultural producers nationwide endured crippling natural disaster events in 2022, including a megadrought, Hurricane Ian, epic flooding and catastrophic wildfires. To say these events were costly is an understatement,” Vilsack said in the release. “Last year USDA streamlined the delivery of natural disaster assistance, speeding up the timing of payments and cutting the time spent on paperwork by 90% or one million hours relative to previous disaster programs.

“While we will use the same streamlined approaches, funding is limited and significantly less than the estimated losses. We are designing payment factors that ensure the fair, equitable and efficient delivery of program benefits to help as many producers as possible offset the significant financial impacts resulting from these ongoing and widespread natural disasters.”

On Dec. 29, 2022, President Joe Biden signed into law the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023, which that provides about $3.7 billion in financial assistance for agricultural producers affected by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms and other eligible disasters occurring in calendar year 2022. The act also earmarks up to $500 million to livestock producers for losses incurred due to drought or wildfire.

USDA, through the Farm Service Agency, will use lessons learned during previous ERP and ELRP distribution to expedite assistance, according to the release.

USDA will provide an ERP track for producers who had coverage through Risk Management Agency’s federal crop insurance or FSA’s Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. USDA plans send pre-filled applications directly to eligible producers in early summer.

For producers who have not had risk management coverage or whose losses were not covered, USDA will offer a program track to access ERP funds, with assistance provided to those who suffered a decrease in allowable gross revenue in 2022 because of expenses related to losses of eligible crops from a qualifying natural disaster event.

Both tracks will be available to producers at the same time. The second track will require producers to provide information related to revenue.

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