With House passage yesterday, the Farm Bureau-supported supplemental disaster relief bill is ready for President Trump’s expected signature.
“Farms across the country endured an incredibly difficult year in 2018 and the trend continues in 2019 with challenging market prices and destructive weather conditions. Historic hurricanes Florence and Michael, with unprecedented wildfires, flooding and other natural disasters, devastated agricultural regions throughout the nation,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a letter urging House members to support the farmers, ranchers and rural communities that were impacted by these catastrophic weather events by voting for the supplemental disaster relief bill.
The measure, passed by the Senate in late May, includes $3.005 billion administered through the Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program for necessary expenses related to losses of crops – including on-farm stored commodities and crops that could not be planted in 2019 – trees, bushes, vines, milk and harvested adulterated wine grapes caused by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019. Losses of peach and blueberry crops in 2017 due to extreme cold and help for farmers and ranchers impacted by Tropical Storm Cindy will also fall under WHIP.
Along with funding for the Nutrition Assistance for Puerto Rico program, the bill contains assistance for non-industrial timber restoration, rural watershed recovery and the rehabilitation of farmland damaged by natural disasters. The measure also provides money for the Rural Development Community Facilities Grant Program, which funds the development of essential community facilities in rural areas.