Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture

Funding Available to Help Farmers and Ranchers Recover from Natural Disasters, COVID-19 Costs

News / Newsline October 14, 2021

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Congress recently passed an extension of the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus, also known as WHIP+, in the recent Continuing Resolution to fund the government. Chad Smith has more on what that means for eligible producers.

Smith: An extension of WHIP+ was included in recent legislation Congress passed to fund the federal government. Scott Bennett, director of Congressional Relations with the American Farm Bureau, says producers hit by a natural disaster can get some much-needed assistance.

Bennett: Congress was able to pass, in the Continuing Resolution for government funding through December 3, an extension of the WHIP+ program to include 2020 and 2021 crop years, with funding to the tune of 10 billion dollars. This money will be available for producers that had qualifying natural disasters destroy a portion or all of their crop.

Smith: Bennett says a variety of natural disasters are covered by the program.

Bennett: Any producer that suffered damage from a qualifying disaster in 2020 and 2021, such as wildfires, hurricanes, derechos, drought, or more may qualify for a payment to recoup the lost value of those crops. Please contact your local FSA office for more information on your qualification for this relief and how to apply if you do.

Smith: Bennett also says another USDA program is available to help producers offset costs associated with COVID-19 safety measures.

Bennett: The Pandemic Response and Safety Grant program assists small businesses in certain commodity areas, including specialty crop producers, meat, and other processors and distributors, with the costs of preventing further spread of COVID-19, such as providing PPE, facilitating social distancing, and retrofitting facilities. This grant funding is intended to offset the costs of these COVID mitigation activities. Those interested in applying can find more information at ams.usda.gov/grants.

Smith: Chad Smith, Washington.

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