Vilsack says disaster payments coming in June
USDA working on simplifying WHIP+ application process for $10 billion in disaster funds available to crop producers.
Jacqui Fatka, Feedstuffs
May 12, 2022
While testifying before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on agriculture May 10, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says USDA plans to issue disaster payments to crop producers starting in June under the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program-Plus (WHIP+) for those who suffered losses from disasters in 2020 and 2021.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., the lead Republican on the ag appropriations subcommittee, questioned Vilsack on the status of the $10 billion in agriculture disaster assistance, which includes $750 million for livestock producers and $9.25 billion to aid row crop producers who suffered losses due to droughts, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other qualifying disasters in calendar years 2020 and 2021.
Vilsack says USDA will provide row crop assistance using existing crop insurance data in a two-phase process, beginning this spring. Vilsack says USDA is in the process of finalizing work that will allow the agency to prefill the application for those who would benefit from WHIP+ rather than requiring producers to fill out roughly 250 questions, and instead fill out just a handful of boxes.
In addition, USDA began sending phase-one Emergency Livestock Relief Program assistance to ranchers last month, with payments set at 75% of producers’ 2021 Livestock Forage Program payment. Phase two will begin later this year.
Already $560 million has been sent to producers during the first tranche of those payments...