NAWG Responds to USDA’s Announcement of Disaster Aid Implementation

Today, Secretary Tom Vilsack announced how the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to implement the $3.7 billion Congress appropriated for disaster aid in calendar year 2022. The Emergency Relief Program (ERP) and Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP) will help assist crop and livestock producers who suffered losses due to qualifying natural disasters in 2022. To facilitate the process, the USDA is releasing preliminary details to enable producers to prepare the necessary documentation ahead of the program’s implementation. Additional resources can be found online here.

“USDA’s announcement today brings a glimmer of hope to wheat growers across the nation who bore the brunt of severe drought and other disasters in 2022,” said NAWG President Brent Cheyne. ” According to the USDA, the 2022 winter wheat crop produced under 750 million bushels, the fifth smallest production year since the 1970’s. With wheat growers seeing a decline in their yields and total production due to uncontrollable circumstances, the assistance program is critical in providing relief to struggling farmers. Throughout the process, NAWG has worked with the USDA to provide feedback on how ERP worked in 2020 and 2021, and we are glad to see the pre-filled applications retained for row crops. NAWG appreciates the USDA’s work to support farmers who have endured tremendous losses with the limited resources available and will continue to work with Congress to ensure producers receive the support they need.”

On Dec. 29, 2022, President Biden enacted the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which appropriated nearly $3.7 billion in disaster aid for agricultural producers affected by various natural disasters in calendar year 2022. The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) plans to leverage previous program experiences to swiftly administer relief programs for 2022 losses. FSA intends to offer an ERP track for producers with existing coverage through federal crop insurance or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, streamlining the application process in a process similar to ERP Phase I for calendar years 2020 and 2021. Additionally, another track will be available to assist producers without risk management coverage. The FSA aims to provide both tracks concurrently, reducing paperwork for the first track while requiring revenue-related information for the second track.

NAWG looks forward to working with the USDA to ensure aid gets delivered to impacted farmers in a timely manner and Congress to provide meaningful resources to growers who experienced losses in 2022. Additionally, NAWG will continue to work with Congress to strengthen the farm safety net as lawmakers consider reauthorizing the Farm Bill this year.