On Monday, USDA announced provisions provided by the long-awaited disaster aid program. Pork producers growing row crops and affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, including Hurricane Dorian, can apply for assistance through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). Livestock losses specifically, however, are covered by other disaster recovery programs offered through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), so those losses are not eligible for WHIP+.
A list of counties that received qualifying disaster declarations and designations is available at farmers.gov/recover/whip-plus. Farmers can begin signing up for the federal disaster aid on Sept. 11, 2019.
“Across the state of Iowa, our farmers have sustained significant losses from spring weather events,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, in a prepared statement. “We appreciate the USDA taking action to provide much-needed resources to the farmers, agribusinesses and communities hardest hit by the spring flooding. While these programs cannot make our producers whole, we welcome the assistance to help with the ongoing recovery efforts.”
During the spring floods, it’s estimated that Iowa farmers in Fremont, Mills and Pottawattamie counties lost 2.4 million bushels of corn and soybeans, valued at $10.9 million, in on-farm storage. In addition, 418 grain bins, valued at $11.6 million, were damaged by the flood waters.
WHIP+ will be available for producers who have suffered eligible losses of certain crops, trees, bushes or vines in counties with a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or a Secretarial Disaster Designation (primary counties only). With supporting documentation, producers outside of these counties are also eligible.
The payment limit on the program will be $125,000; if 75% of adjusted gross income (AGI) is from farming, the payment limit bumps up to $250,000. The last disaster program was $125,000/$900,000. A maximum of $500,000 in disaster payments will be in place over both years as this program covers 2018 and 2019 disasters.
Signup for this U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program will begin Sept. 11, 2019.
The legislation passed earlier this year also includes language about prevent-plant (PP) payments. USDA said details of the prevented plant provisions are not yet completed but should be announced “very soon.” However, Pro Farmer’s Jim Wiesemeyer put together the following FAQs about PP based on information from trusted sources:
Which producers will be eligible for an additional prevent-plant (PP) payment?
A producer qualifies if in a disaster-declared county. But there will be a process whereby if a farmer is damaged as a result of the qualifying losses, but falls outside the disaster-declared county, the producer will be able to petition his county and state FSA committee.
What will be the additional prevent-plant payment?
An additional PP payment will be provided for every producer filing a PP claim. The payment would be an additional 10% on the PP indemnity. If a producer took the Harvest Price Option (HPO), there would be an additional 5% on top of that for a total of 15%.
Who will deliver prevent-plant payments: Crop Insurance or FSA?
This is still murky. USDA reportedly has reached out to crop insurance companies and, sources say, want them to implement such payments, but not all of the details have been worked out. USDA is likely sensitive to the already hefty workload at some county FSA offices.