USDA Gives Insight on $10B Disaster Aid
By: Sydney Sheffield
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and Undersecretary Robert Bonnie have announced continued assistance for producers who have suffered loss from weather-related disasters between 2020-2021. President Biden previously signed into law the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which includes $10 billion in assistance to agricultural producers impacted by disasters.
“Over the past two years, as agricultural producers have struggled with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been hard-hit by more frequent and more intense natural disasters,” Bonnie said. “With the help of Congress, USDA is working to deliver $10 billion in much-needed relief, including $750 million for livestock producers impacted by the severe drought. As we work to administer this assistance, we remain guided by our goals to streamline the application process to reduce the burden on producers, proactively include underserved producers who have been left out of past relief efforts and encourage participation in existing risk management tools that can help producers weather future extreme weather events.”
USDA will follow a two-phased process to administer relief to eligible livestock and crop producers, with the first phase utilizing a streamlined process that relies on existing data that producers have already reported to USDA. The second phase of both programs will fill additional assistance gaps and cover eligible producers who did not participate in these existing programs.
During the first phase for livestock producers, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will be used to administer relief by using existing application data. Early estimates show 74,000 applications totaling more than $500 million in payments to livestock producers under LFP. For crop producers, existing Federal Crop Insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program data will be used for calculating payments.
Vilsack and Bonnie made this announcement at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) 2022 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Houston, TX. Notably, around this time last year, Texas experienced a record-breaking winter storm, causing over $600 million in damages for farmers and ranchers. Those individuals will be eligible for this aid.
“We appreciate the working relationship that our team has with both Secretary Vilsack and Under Secretary Bonnie. NCBA continues to build relationships with leaders at USDA to ensure that the U.S cattle industry is top of mind in policy decisions made in D.C., and the industry’s contributions to the administration’s conservation priorities are recognized,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane.