WASHINGTON — Starting November 8, USDA began making roughly $185 million in disaster assistance payments to agricultural producers who suffered losses to 2019 natural disasters and who have already received Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) benefits through two previous rounds of reduced program payments. WHIP+ provided payments to producers to offset production losses due to 2018 and 2019 hurricanes, wildfires, and other qualifying natural disasters. WHIP+ covered losses of crops, trees, bushes and vines that occurred as a result of those disaster events. Producers suffering from 2018 losses were previously compensated at 100% of their calculated loss.
“The production and quality losses to 2019 disaster events were so extensive and widespread that we had to proactively manage the distribution of funds in a way that ensured that all applicants received some financial support,” said Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “We are excited to have reached that point in the process that we can offer all approved WHIP+ applicants 100% of their calculated payment.”
This third and final WHIP+ payment is equal to the remaining 10% of a producer’s full, calculated payment. The first WHIP+ payment issued in the fall of 2020 was subject to a 50% factor or reduction. In June 2021, FSA distributed a second payment equal to 40% of the WHIP+ calculated payment. At that time, it was also announced that a third round of payments may be issued if sufficient funds become available. Sufficient funds are now available to issue final 2019 and 2020 WHIP+ payments. FSA has authorized a final payment equal to the remaining 10 percent of 2019 and 2020 calculated payments.
Once this final payment has been disbursed, FSA will have provided more than $3.1 billion in WHIP+ disaster assistance benefits.
All producers receiving WHIP+ payments are required to purchase federal crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage for the next two available crop years at the 60% coverage level or higher.
More information on USDA disaster assistance programs can be found on farmers.gov.