USDA Announced Deadline for WHIP+ Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced October 30, 2020, as the deadline to submit applications to the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) for 2018 and 2019 losses. WHIP+ covers losses of crops, trees, bushes, and vines that occurred as a result of those disaster events, and also includes new programs for both milk losses due to adverse weather conditions and losses to on-farm stored commodities.
“The physical and financial loss experienced by farmers and ranchers impacted by natural disaster events in 2018 and 2019 was widespread and catastrophic,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “Fortunately, in addition to our already extensive suite of disaster assistance programs for crop and livestock producers, we were able to provide additional support through WHIP+. If you have not yet submitted your application for assistance, please don’t miss your chance.”
The deadline means that farmers anticipating their second round of benefits should receive them soon. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D. MI), stated, “The 2019 crop season was one of the most difficult for many farmers, including those in my district, and I know producers will be glad to take this final step to put those memories behind them.”
Like Peterson, Senator Jon Tester (D. MT) expressed frustration with the longevity of the process and delay to farmers in his district, stating, “Better late than never, but when it comes to providing relief to northeastern Montana farmers who have been waiting nearly a year for FSA to get its act together, this is unacceptable. I shouldn’t have to hold FSA’s feet to the fire just to get them to follow the law and do right by folks in production ag, but you better believe I’m keeping the coals hot and ready, so Montana farmers don’t get left out in the cold. Disaster relief needs to make it into the pockets of these producers immediately. No more delays.”
To date, FSA has received more than 133,000 applications and paid out around $1.4 billion in benefits to farmers around the country. The program requirements include eligibility of crops and location, tree, bush, and vine options, and future insurance coverage. Those interested in signing up should visit the WHIP+ website.