USDA offers new details on $10 billion in disaster relief

While addressing the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s beef industry convention in Houston, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Undersecretary Robert Bonnie announced continued assistance to producers who have suffered losses from catastrophic disasters.

Vilsack is committed to addressing the challenges cattle producers face with respect to supply chain, processing capacity and drought.

“Over the past two years, as agricultural producers have struggled with the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been hit hard by more frequent and intense natural disasters,” says Bonnie, Undersecretary at agricultural production and conservation. “With help from Congress, the USDA is working to provide $10 billion in much-needed relief, including $750 million to ranchers affected by the severe drought.”

On September 30, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the Expanding Government Funding and Providing Emergency Relief Act. This law includes $10 billion in assistance to agricultural producers affected by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms and other qualifying disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021. Additionally, the law specifically targets $750 million to provide assistance to livestock producers for losses incurred due to drought or wildfires in calendar year 2021.

Bonnie adds, “As we work to administer this assistance, we remain guided by our goals of streamlining the application process to reduce the burden on producers, proactively including underserved producers who have been left out of past relief and encourage participation in existing risk management. tools that can help growers cope with future extreme weather events.

Bonnie says the USDA will follow a two-phase process to administer the relief to eligible livestock and crop producers, with the first phase using a streamlined process that builds on existing data that producers have already reported to the IAAF. USDA.

“We appreciate the working relationship our team has with Secretary Vilsack and Under Secretary Bonnie,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane.

Phased approach

For affected ranchers, the USDA will leverage data from the Livestock Forage Disaster Program to administer relief. LFP is an important tool that provides up to 60% of the estimated cost of replacement feed when drought has a negative impact on pastures. The FSA says it continues to tally 2021 LFP claims filed by the January 31, 2022 deadline, but early estimates show 74,000 claims totaling more than $500 million in payments to breeders under the LFP.

While LFP has provided critical assistance to ranchers, widespread and severe drought conditions, particularly in the Western and Plains states, drove feed prices up 50% or more last year. above the food cost formula.

Congress has recognized that requests for assistance go beyond this existing program and provided specific funding for ranchers in 2021.

For the first phase of Livestock Assistance, USDA intends to use existing LFP application data as well as streamline the application process to require no or minimal additional documentation. The USDA hopes to distribute at least half of the $750 million through the first phase by the end of March 2022.

The broader crop producer aid program will follow a two-phase process similar to livestock aid with the first phase being implemented this spring. The first phase of crop assistance program delivery will use existing data from the federal crop insurance program or uninsured agricultural disaster assistance program as the basis for calculating initial payments.

Making upfront payments using existing safety net and risk management data will both expedite implementation and further encourage participation in these ongoing programs, including the Pasture Crop Insurance Program, Rangelands and forage rainfall, as Congress intended, according to the USDA.

The second phase of livestock and crop programs will fill additional assistance gaps and cover eligible producers who did not participate in these existing programs.

Additional USDA Disaster Assistance information is available on farmers.gov, including the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster At-a-Glance Fact Sheet, and Disaster Assistance Fact Sheet. eye and agricultural loan discovery tool. For FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, growers should contact their local USDA service center. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent.

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