OMAHA (DTN) — The House Agriculture Committee on Tuesday advanced a bill to provide as much as $8.5 billion in supplemental disaster aid for farmers and ranchers who faced disaster both in 2020 and 2021.
The bill, passed unanimously by voice vote, will expand coverage of losses under USDA’s Wildfire Hurricane Indemnity Program-Plus (WHIP-Plus) and cover losses including those from wildfires last year in California as well as the derecho that hit Midwestern producers last summer. The aid will also cover producer losses this year from the polar vortex as well as farmers whose crops are in D-2 “severe” drought conditions for at least eight consecutive weeks.
The WHIP-Plus bill will include payments for qualified losses for unharvested acres, payment to certain dairy processors, as well as dairy and sugar cooperatives, and California grape producers who suffer quality losses due to grapes tainted by smoke in 2020 or 2021. The bill also includes an option for USDA to provide block grants to processors affected by disaster.