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USDA rolls out additional natural disaster and pandemic assistance

Daniel Acker/Getty Damaged grain bins
DERECHO DAMAGE: Nearly 10 million acres of Iowa cropland were hit with a powerful derecho in August 2020.
New programs will provide additional assistance to farmers for 2020 and 2021 crop and revenue loss.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced plans for additional emergency relief and pandemic assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is preparing to roll out the second phase of the Emergency Relief Program as well as the new Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program – two programs designed to help offset crop and revenue losses for producers. USDA is sharing early information to help producers gather documents. 

“We have worked diligently to help agricultural producers bounce back from devastating natural disasters as well as the coronavirus pandemic through an extensive suite of programs,” said Vilsack. “No matter how well we design these targeted efforts, we often find that some producers fall through the cracks or were harmed more severely than their neighbors. These new programs apply a holistic approach to emergency assistance – an approach not focused on any one disaster event or commodity but rather one focused on filling gaps in assistance for agricultural producers who have, over the past few years, suffered losses from natural disasters and the pandemic.”   

Emergency Relief Program 

ERP is authorized under the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which includes $10 billion in assistance to agricultural producers impacted by disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021.   

ERP Phase Two will assist eligible farmers who suffered eligible crop losses, measured through decreases in revenue due to wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms, freeze (including a polar vortex), smoke exposure, excessive moisture and qualifying droughts. The second phase of the program builds on ERP Phase One, which was rolled out in May 2022 and has since paid more than $7.1 billion to producers who incurred eligible crop losses that were covered by federal crop insurance or the Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.  

In general, ERP Phase Two payments are expected to be based on the difference in certain farm revenue between a typical year of revenue as will be specified in program regulations for the producer and the disaster year.  ERP Phase Two assistance is targeted to the remaining needs of producers impacted by qualifying natural disaster events, while avoiding windfalls or duplicative payments. Details will be available when the rule is published later this year.   

Producers who are eligible for assistance through ERP Phase One have until Friday, Dec. 16, 2022, to contact FSA at their local USDA Service Center to receive program benefits. Going forward, if any additional ERP Phase One prefilled applications are generated due to corrections or other circumstances, there will be a 30-day deadline from the date of notification for that particular application.     

Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program   

PARP, authorized and funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, will assist farmers and ranchers who experienced revenue decreases in calendar year 2020 compared to 2018 or 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. PARP will help address gaps in previous pandemic assistance, which was targeted at price loss or lack of market access rather than overall revenue losses.

To be eligible for PARP, an agricultural producer must have been in the business of farming during at least part of the 2020 calendar year and had a certain threshold decrease in allowable gross revenue for the 2020 calendar year, as compared to 2018 or 2019. Exact details on the calculations and eligibility will be available when the forthcoming rule is published.   

How Producers Can Prepare 

ERP Phase Two and PARP will use revenue information that is readily available from most tax records. In the coming weeks, USDA will provide additional information on how to apply for assistance through ERP Phase Two and PARP. In the meantime, producers are encouraged to begin gathering supporting documentation including:  

  • Schedule F (Form 1040); and 
  • Profit or Loss from Farming or similar tax documents for tax years 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 for ERP and for calendar years 2018, 2019 and 2020 for PARP.   

Producers should also have, or be prepared to have, the following forms on file for both ERP and PARP program participation:  

  • Form AD-2047, Customer Data Worksheet (as applicable to the program participant);  
  • Form CCC-902, Farm Operating Plan for an individual or legal entity; 
  • Form CCC-901, Member Information for Legal Entities (if applicable); and  
  • Form AD-1026 Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification.  

Most producers, especially those who have previously participated in FSA programs, will likely have these required forms on file. However, those who are uncertain or want to confirm should contact FSA at their local USDA Service Center.  

In addition to the forms listed above, underserved producers are encouraged to register their status with FSA, using Form CCC-860, Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification, as certain existing permanent and ad-hoc disaster programs provide increased benefits or reduced fees and premiums. 

USDA will keep producers and stakeholders informed as program eligibility, application and implementation details unfold.   

Source: USDA

  

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