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Producers receive $4 billion in ERP payments

In the six weeks since the USDA launched the program, farmers have received $4 billion from the Emergency Relief Program as compensation for losses from wildfire, drought, hurricanes, winter storms, and other natural disasters, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday. An estimated $6 billion was expected to be paid during the ongoing first phase of the program.

“We recognize the financial recovery need is great and worked deliberately to create a program delivery process that would ensure quick payments to producers,” Vilsack said. About 120,000 payments have been made, said the USDA.

For the first phase, the USDA mailed pre-filled application forms to producers, based on information it had about crop insurance claims filed by producers. Farmers have until July 22 to complete the applications. The second phase of the ERP will focus on filling gaps in coverage and reaching producers who did not participate in crop insurance.

A 2021 government funding bill set aside $10 billion for farmers and ranchers affected by natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. Livestock producers have received more than $590 million from the companion Emergency Livestock Relief Program since late March.

A USDA fact sheet on the Emergency Relief Program is available here.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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