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ICYMI: Senator Marshall Secures Nearly $300 Million in ERP Top-Off Payments for American Farmers

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. is happy to announce that Kansas producers have received nearly $14 million in additional Emergency Relief Program (ERP) payments for natural disasters that occurred in 2020 and 2021. These payments come as a direct result of Senator Marshall’s ongoing and persistent negotiations with USDA officials to address his and his colleagues’ concerns about the misguided changes to the ERP program after the successful and widely praised rollout of ERP Phase One. Over 200,000 farmers have received final ERP payments and additional relief to date.

On February 7, Senator Marshall released the following statement:

“At a time when the USDA should have been focusing on meeting the needs of the farmers and ranchers impacted by natural disasters, it instead made fundamental and problematic changes to an otherwise effective program. These changes in no way reflected Congressional intent of the program and have created major delays in getting farmers the assistance they needed,” Senator Marshall said. “The recent changes to the ERP program unfairly discriminate against full-time farm families who suffer the deepest losses. While we are too far down the road to undo the USDA’s misguided alterations to this program, we were able to get financial help for our farmers through additional payments under the successful ERP Phase One with unused funds allocated to 2020 and 2021 natural disasters.”

Background:

In 2021, Congress appropriated $10 billion in assistance to agricultural producers impacted by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms, and other eligible disasters experienced during 2020 and 2021. In 2022, FSA implemented ERP Phase One, which used a streamlined process with pre-filled application forms, leveraging crop insurance indemnities or Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) payments on file with USDA.

In 2023, the FSA announced it was changing its formula for calculating assistance and, in a stark reversal of the Phase One framework, asked producers to complete extremely complicated new forms that required the sharing of personal tax records, information that does not necessarily correlate to crop losses by crop year.

In March of 2023, Senator Marshall and Representative Arrington led a letter to the USDA criticizing the department for its ERP Phase II rollout and urging it to build on the successes of ERP Phase I. The letter also encouraged the department to use Phase I as the framework for 2022 crop losses.

In October of 2023, FSA announced that it was again changing the framework for ERP by announcing a “progressive payment factor” that would target disaster payments to the smallest producers or those with the shallowest losses.

In December 2023, Senator Marshall and Representative Arrington penned another letter to the USDA asking the USDA to abandon this new approach and implement the 2021 ERP Phase One framework. Subsequently Senator Marshall negotiated with USDA for top up payments.

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