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USDA pays $6 billion to farmers in disaster relief funds

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Agricultural producers are receiving Emergency Relief Program funding after eligible events such as wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and winter storms. To date, producers have received over $4 billion of relief money set aside by the Biden administration.  

Both the ERP and the Emergency Livestock Relief Program are part of the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act signed by President Joe Biden in 2021. Congress included emergency relief funding that targets at minimum, $750 million for livestock producers impacted by droughts and fires. The $4 billion already issued represents nearly 70 percent of the projected first phase payout of the ERP. 

Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “We recognize the financial recovery need is great and worked deliberately to create a program delivery process that would ensure quick payments to producers. I am extremely proud to share that the strategically streamlined ERP application and program implementation process has yielded the desired results — reduced burdens on and expedited payments to approximately 120,000 disaster-impacted agricultural producers, to date.”

Photo by Leszek Glasner, Shutterstock

The deadline to submit applications is Friday, July 22

Pre-filled applications were originally mailed out to farmers and ranchers with crop insurance who incurred losses due to natural disasters during 2020-2021 calendar years. Eligible producers should look for more pre-filled applications to hit their mailboxes mid-July.

The first phase of the ERP and ELRP used claim data to get relief to producers quickly. Information used with both insurance claims and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance program provided assistance to the USDA with funding the first phase. The second phase helps farms and ranchers who were not covered by other programs to receive assistance. 

New data will be used during the second mailing from coverage options that were not completed before the first filing. Claim data from the Supplemental Coverage Option, Enhanced Coverage Option, Stacked Income Protection Plan, Margin Protection Plan, and Area Risk Protection Insurance will be covered in this second mailing. 

More information on phase 1 and 2 of both the ELRP and the ERP can be found here. Producers with questions may contact their local service center

»Related: New publication helps farmers & ranchers decipher USDA programs

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