USDA Offers Resources for Farmers Hit by Extreme Weather

Farmers that were affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019 can apply for assistance through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus.

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Farmers that were affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019  can apply for assistance through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+).

Signup for the program begins on Sept. 11, 2019.

“U.S. agriculture has been dealt a hefty blow by extreme weather over the last several years, and 2019 is no exception,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says in a statement. “The scope of this year’s prevented planting alone is devastating, and although these disaster program benefits will not make producers whole, we hope the assistance will ease some of the financial strain farmers, ranchers and their families are experiencing. President Trump has the backs of our farmers, and we are working to support America’s great patriot farmers.”

More than $3 billion will be made available through the disaster relief package. The aid will include new programs to cover losses for milk dumped or removed from the commercial market and losses of eligible farm stored commodities due to eligible disaster events within the last two years. Also, prevented planting supplemental disaster payments will provide support to producers who were unable to plant eligible crops for the 2019 crop year.

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WHIP+ will be available for eligible producers who have suffered eligible losses of certain crops, tress, bushes or vines in counties with a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or a Secretarial Disaster Designation (primary counties only).

Losses must have been of the following:

  • hurricanes
  • floods
  • tornadoes
  • typhoons
  • volcanic activity
  • snowstorms
  • wildfires

Producers in counties that did not receive a disaster declaration or designation may still apply for WHIP+, but must provide supporting documentation to establish that the crops were directly affected by a qualifying disaster loss. 

Currently, the aid is designed to provide assistance for production losses, however, if quality was taken into consideration under federal crop insurance or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy, the adjusted production will be used in calculating assistance under the program. 

Payment factor ranges from 75-95%, depending on the level of crop insurance coverage or NAP coverage that a producer obtained for the crop. Producers who did not insure their crops will receive 70% of the expected value of the crop, while insured crops will receive 75-95% of expected value. Those who purchased the highest levels of coverage will receive 95% of the expected value. 

WHIP+ payments for 2018 disasters will be eligible for 100 percent of their calculated value. WHIP+ payments for 2019 disasters will be limited to an initial 50 percent of their calculated value, with an opportunity to receive up to the remaining 50 percent after January 1, 2020, if sufficient funding remains.