USDA to open WHIP+ signup on March 23
On Feb. 28, the USDA announced additional disaster assistance available to agricultural producers, including producers impacted by drought and excess moisture. The Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Plus (WHIP+), is intended to help producers recover from losses related to 2018 and 2019 natural disasters.
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will open signup on March 23 for producers to apply for eligible losses of drought (D3 or above) and excess moisture.
In June 2019, Congress made more than $3 billion available through a disaster relief package. In December 2019, Congress passed the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, which provides an additional $1.5 billion for the continuation of disaster assistance program delivery.
The Appropriations bill added excessive moisture and D3 and D4 drought as qualifying losses for WHIP+ assistance.
Beginning March 23, producers who suffered either of these types of loss in 2018 and/or 2019 can apply for WHIP+ assistance at their local FSA office. For drought, a producer is eligible if any area of the county in which the loss occurred was rated D3 (Extreme Drought) or higher on the U.S. Drought Monitor during calendar years 2018 or 2019.
In addition, producers have reported widespread crop quality loss from eligible disaster events that results in price deductions or penalties when marketing the damaged crops. The Appropriations bill expands WHIP+ to include assistance for crop quality loss. FSA is gathering data and input from producers and stakeholders regarding the extent and types of quality loss nationwide.
To be eligible for WHIP+, producers must have suffered losses of certain crops, trees, bushes, or vines in counties with a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or a Secretarial Disaster Designation (primary counties only) for hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms, wildfires, and excessive moisture that occurred in 2018 or 2019. Also, losses located in a county not designated by the Secretary as a primary county may be eligible if the producer provides documentation showing that the loss was due to a qualifying natural disaster event.
For drought, counties having a D3 or D4 Drought Monitor classification in any portion of the county anytime during calendar year 2018 or 2019 will also be eligible.
A list of counties that received qualifying hurricane declarations and designations is available at www.farmers.gov/recover/whip-plus. The U.S. Drought Monitor is available at www.droughtmonitor.unl.edu.
Because livestock losses are covered by other disaster recovery programs offered through FSA, these losses are not eligible for WHIP+.