Wednesday, December 7, 2022

USDA Reveals Details for Additional Drought and Pandemic Aid

by Colter Brown

OMAHA (DTN) — Farmers and ranchers who have missed out on disaster or pandemic aid from the past two years will get another opportunity to demonstrate their losses and file a claim with USDA.

Producers should start getting their tax or financial records ready if they have been left out of the early pots of money for disaster aid from 2020 and 2021 or suffered losses during the pandemic but have not received compensation under earlier programs.

USDA on Tuesday teased out some details for the next phase of the Emergency Relief Program (ERP II) as well as the newly created Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP). Neither program is actually ready for farmers or ranchers to start applications, but USDA is trying to get them ready to bring in records to support a claim. USDA stated both programs should be ready before the end of the year.

“USDA is sharing early information to help producers gather documents and train front-line on the new approach,” the department stated in a news release.

Both programs will be looking to support producers who somehow fell through the cracks, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the release.

“No matter how well we design these targeted efforts, we often find that some producers fall through the cracks or were harmed more severely than their neighbors,” Vilsack said. “These new programs apply a holistic approach to emergency assistance — an approach not focused on any one disaster event or commodity but rather one focused on filling gaps in assistance for agricultural producers who have, over the past few years, suffered losses from natural disasters and the pandemic.”

ERP II

Emergency Relief Program Phase Two should have roughly $2.9 billion available for producers who suffered disaster from “wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms and other eligible disasters” in 2020 and 2021.

Under the first phase of ERP, USDA so far has paid out $7.1 billion, though farmers and ranchers have until Dec. 16 under ERP Phase One to contact FSA for benefits if they have not already received payments. ERP Phase One was easier for USDA to attach a payment for losses because it covered crops that were part of federal crop insurance of the Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP).

ERP Phase Two will include producers who have not already received benefits but suffered losses in gross revenue to eligible crops from a disaster event.

As of now, Congress has not authorized any aid for losses from 2022 natural disasters.


PANDEMIC RELIEF

The Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP) will support farmers who were in business for at least part of 2020 and had a “certain threshold decrease in allowable gross revenue” in 2020 compared to 2019 or 2018 revenue.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Right now, USDA notes that more details about ERP Phase Two and PARP when the department publishes the rules later this year.

However, the department stated producers can prepare for enrolling in ERP Phase Two or PARP by having supporting tax documents from 2018-2022, depending on the program they are enrolling in. The documentation would end up being similar to what producers needed to sign up for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Phase Two. The 2018 or 2019 tax forms would set a benchmark for income going into the disaster year or pandemic losses.

That would include gathering a Schedule F from the IRS 1040 form and “Profit or Loss from Farming” or similar tax documents from 2018-2022.

Most producers who have worked with FSA programs in the past would likely have those forms on file. If producers have any doubts, they should check with their local FSA office.

For more details:

ERP: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/…

PARP: https://www.farmers.gov/…

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