WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it will indefinitely extend the deadline for producers to return the pre-filled applications for Phase One of the Emergency Relief Program.
A new deadline will be announced after the last Phase One applications are mailed and provide at least 30 days following the mailing.
Continuing to build on the initial mailing of pre-filled applications in May, the department will continue using existing information in USDA and crop insurance files to send additional pre-filled applications for potentially eligible Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program participants.
Once applications from eligible NAP producers are returned, these producers are expected to receive about $105 million in ERP payments for eligible losses from 2020 and 2021 disasters.
USDA’s Farm Service Agency is now mailing pre-filled applications to NAP producers through ERP to offset crop yield and value losses.
To receive a relief payment, producers should complete and return the applications by announced deadlines.
Producers are expected to receive assistance direct deposited into their bank account within three business days after they sign and return the pre-filled application to the FSA county office and the county offices enters the application into the system.
While most crop insurance customers that may be eligible for ERP Phase One received the pre-filled applications in May, there are some who should expect to receive a form in August including:
• Producers who had an eligible loss in 2020 that had been recorded in the crop insurance records as a 2019 loss — for example, prevented planting claims.
• Producers with policies that required additional information before being able to calculate an indemnity for 2021 losses; producers with 2020 losses would have already received that application.
Policies that required additional information include Supplemental Coverage Option, Enhanced Coverage Option, Stacked Income Protection Plan, Margin Protection Plan or Area Risk Protection Insurance.
Producers without risk management coverage through crop insurance or NAP and those with shallow losses may be covered by the forthcoming Phase Two of ERP.
“Catastrophic natural disaster events in 2020 and 2021 decimated crops, livestock and farm infrastructure from coast to coast, making it critically important to provide assistance quickly and reduce the paperwork burden on these farmers and ranchers recovering from disaster,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux.
“I was in North Dakota a few weeks ago and received feedback on how well the streamlined livestock and crop disaster programs are working for our producers and front-line employees. Like any new process, there are some kinks to work out, but we are addressing them and will use the streamlined process to keep the ‘red tape’ to a minimum.”
USDA estimates that Phase One ERP benefits will reach more than 5,200 producers with NAP coverage for eligible 2020 and 2021 crop losses.
This emergency relief complements ERP assistance recently provided to more than 162,000 producers who had received crop insurance indemnities for qualifying losses.
Nearly 13,000 additional crop insurance customers are pre-filled applications in August to cover eligible 2020 losses described above and for producers with more complex policies where indemnities could not be calculated for 2021 previously.
ERP and the previously announced Emergency Livestock Relief Program are funded by the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law in 2021.
The law provided $10 billion to help agricultural producers impacted by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms and other eligible disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021.
Overall, USDA has already quickly disbursed over $6 billion dollars under ERP and ELRP with reduced paperwork for the producer and field offices.
For more information on ERP eligibility, program provisions for socially disadvantaged or historically underserved producers, as well as frequently asked questions, NAP applicants can visit FSA’s Emergency Relief webpage at https://tinyurl.com/2p9xzhht and program fact sheet at https://tinyurl.com/73mxv3c3.
Additional USDA disaster assistance information can be found on farmers.gov, including the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet and Farm Loan Discovery Tool.
For FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent.