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USDA to Distribute $306 Million in Final Payments for 2020-2021 Natural Disasters
Indiana Ag Connection - 02/08/2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking a significant step to aid agricultural producers affected by the 2020 and 2021 natural disasters, distributing final Emergency Relief Program (ERP) payments totaling approximately $306 million. The USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) will commence issuing these crucial payments to eligible commodity and specialty crop producers throughout the week.

FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux highlighted the importance of every available assistance in the natural disaster recovery process, acknowledging the financial toll these catastrophic events have taken on agricultural producers, their families, and their operations. The additional funds are aimed at providing relief and ensuring a fair and equitable distribution to as many producers as possible.

The recipients of the extra payment are limited to those who initially received ERP Phase One payments from FSA based on crop insurance indemnities. Originally subject to a 75% payment factor, FSA has determined that sufficient funding allows for an additional 3.5% ERP Phase One payment, increasing the overall payment factor to 78.5%.

The Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, 2021 allocated $10 billion to assist agricultural producers impacted by various disasters in 2020 and 2021. ERP Phase One, implemented in 2022, delivered $7.5 billion to commodity and specialty crop producers, leveraging crop insurance indemnities or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) payments.

Separately, the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023 allocated $3.2 billion for necessary expenses related to losses in revenue, quality, or production of crops. ERP 2022, covering losses due to 2022 natural disaster events, is currently open for enrollment.

The USDA's proactive measures aim to support farmers, ensuring resilience, fair markets, and access to healthy food.

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