Lawmakers Seek Reauthorization of WHIP for 2020 Wildfires

San Diego,CA.,October 26, 2007--Northern California fire crews set fire backburn to stop the Poomacha fire from advancing westward. Currently the fires in Southern California have burned more than 355,000 acres. FEMA photo/Andrea BooherSan Diego,CA.,October 26, 2007--Northern California fire crews set fire backburn to stop the Poomacha fire from advancing westward. Currently the fires in Southern California have burned more than 355,000 acres. FEMA photo/Andrea Booher

A Group of Representatives from Western states last week introduced a bill to reauthorize the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus, known as WHIP+, for 2020 natural disasters. The WHIP+ program offers critical assistance to agricultural producers, including grapegrowers, whose crops were impacted by smoke taint. House Democrat Mike Thompson of California says, “This bipartisan bill activates the WHIP+ program for these 2020 fires and helps these growers hit hard by disasters.” Republican Representative Dan Newhouse of Washington state adds, “WHIP+ will help our winegrape growers recover from the damages of this year’s catastrophic wildfires.” WHIP+ can cover losses from flooding, hurricanes and wildfires, are any named natural disaster. Reactivating WHIP+ for 2020 is a priority for the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF is also calling on Congress to allow farmers and ranchers impacted by the Midwest derecho storm to be included in the program. The derecho, not being a named disaster, doesn’t qualify under the current program rules.