NCGA and 16 corn state affiliated associations recently joined with over 140 allied national, regional, and state commodity organizations in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack relaying their concerns with the design of the Emergency Relief Program for 2022.
While the group expressed appreciation for the allocation of $3.74 billion in much needed ERP assistance to agricultural producers impacted by a wide range of natural disasters in 2022, the signatories said recent changes have raised concerns among farmers.
Like previous programs, crop loss payments are generally calculated and factored using crop insurance coverage levels. However, new this year is a “progressive factor” that reduces the disaster assistance for many eligible growers based on the size of the losses. USDA also changed the method used to incorporate producer-paid insurance premiums.
The letter took issue with these two changes.
“In the case of the progressive payment factor, we oppose a policy that delivers the least amount of benefit to those who have lost the most outside of the payment limits provided in statute,” the letter said. “While we appreciate the funding restraints under which ERP 2022 was developed, we believe that USDA should instead aim to provide more equitable support for losses of all magnitudes. This can be achieved by using a single, uniform factor, as USDA has done in the past.”
Growers with questions about the Emergency Relief Program should visit their local Farm Service Agency office for more information about the disaster programs.