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USDA opens signup for producers impacted by drought or excess moisture 

From U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently announced additional disaster assistance available to agricultural producers, including producers impacted by drought and excess moisture. Through WHIP+, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is helping producers recover from losses related to 2018 and 2019 natural disasters.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will open signup on March 23 for producers to apply for eligible losses of drought (D3 or above) and excess moisture.

In June 2019, more than $3 billion was made available through a disaster relief package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump.  In December 2019, Congress passed, and President Trump signed, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 that provides an additional $1.5 billion for the continuation of disaster assistance program delivery.

The bill added excessive moisture and D3 and D4 drought as qualifying losses for WHIP+ assistance.

Beginning March 23, producers who suffered either of these types of loss in 2018 and/or 2019 can apply for WHIP+ assistance at their local FSA office. For drought, a producer is eligible if any area of the county in which the loss occurred was rated D3 (Extreme Drought) or higher on the U.S. Drought Monitor during calendar years 2018 or 2019.

In addition, producers have reported widespread crop quality loss from eligible disaster events that results in price deductions or penalties when marketing the damaged crops. The Appropriations bill expands WHIP+ to include assistance for crop quality loss. FSA is gathering data and input from producers and stakeholders regarding the extent and types of quality loss nationwide.

To be eligible for WHIP+, producers must have suffered losses of certain crops, trees, bushes, or vines in counties with a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or a Secretarial Disaster Designation (primary counties only) for the following named natural disaster events; hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms, wildfires, and now excessive moisture that occurred in 2018 or 2019. Also, losses located in a county not designated by the Secretary as a primary county may be eligible if the producer provides documentation showing that the loss was due to a qualifying natural disaster event.

For drought, counties having a D3 or D4 Drought Monitor classification in any portion of the county anytime during calendar year 2018 or 2019 will also be eligible.

A list of counties that received qualifying hurricane declarations and designations is available at farmers.gov/recover/whip-plus. The U.S. Drought Monitor is available at https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/.

Because livestock losses are covered by other disaster recovery programs offered through FSA, these losses are not eligible for WHIP+.